Saturday, February 18, 2012

When I didn't know I had Hashimoto's Disease...





A challenge was presented at Hashimoto 411 on Facebook. Post a photo of yourself in your teens...a time when you didn't know you had Hashimoto's disease. Well, I am almost fifty-nine years old and have only known about having this autoimmune disease for about a year and a half after a surgeon removed a suspicious nodule and part of my thyroid and told me I have Hashimoto's disease.
The pic is from high school, a time when many teens obsess about dates and blemishes, but when I think back I had always been constipated growing up and had headaches and sometimes migraines. In my twenties I had an infertility problem when my husband and I tried to start a family, and when I finally did get pregnant I had to have c-sections. I also had some problems trying to breast feed too.
In my thirties my itchy blistery rashy face messed with my self esteem, especially when I went back to college for writing. I seemed to be constantly flushed with the stress of going to college full-time and raising kids too.
Weight gain added to my self esteem lowering and my joints ached; weariness plagued my days.
I escaped by writing fiction. Creating characters and dialogue helped me forget about feeling poorly. I loved my family, but my quality of life was problematic. And yet, I didn't know anything else.
It was in my early fifties while my hubby and I were running a mom and pop diner operation that I had to have a kidney stone lithotripsied and my health seemed to go downhill with every passing day. I was so fatigued I was close to fainting. My insides felt like a bunch of those skinny balloons blown up when I ate. One day I said to my husband, "What do you feel when you eat, I mean, inside your body?" He gave me a curious look and said, "I don't feel anything, what are you talking about?"
I googled my symptoms and suspected a gluten intolerance so I began to watch what I ate but didn't eliminate gluten completely for a while. I went to the doctor's and told him how horrible I felt. He did some bloodwork and said I might have Hashimoto's but at that time he did nothing about it and I didn't know what he was talking about, since I had never heard of it. He sent me to a GI doctor and we did the acid reflux meds and I told him I was avoiding gluten to which he shook his head like, "What the...," but after a few months he told me he thought I should go to an endocrinologist and I would have to to be referred by my doctor. My doctor moved away so I began to see another doctor. She referred me to an endocrinologist. There was a long wait but I eventually saw her and she put me on a low dose of Synthroid. Two years later, she relocated and I was seeing her P.A., who was the one who sent me for a sonogram and the nodule was found.
The doctor who first told me I might have Hashimoto's but didn't pursue it at the time is also the doctor who wanted to put me on pills for breaking down proteins but I refused because the side effects were too hard for me to risk taking on. I mean, flapping your arms and wagging your tongue and becoming depressed. No thanks!
I could write a book about these experiences and I might but at this point I prefer to focus on fiction. I gave my eighth novel a main character with Hashimoto's disease; it is with me all the time...all consuming.

So here it is...my teenage photo, a time when I hadn't suffered for years not knowing I could have had help. I have help now...and I am thankful and determined to help others discover their autoimmune situation as early as possible. Life is amazing...especially when you feel better.

4 comments:

Tamra said...

Life sure is amazing when you feel better. I'm so glad you found your triggers. :) Tamra

Lynn Barry said...

Tamra,
Thank you so much. I am so pleased to know you via facebook and now blogging. HUGS

jacobithegreat said...

What a crazy story! I can relate to your question, "What do your insides feel like when you eat?" I'm glad you're feeling better, and I'd love to read some of your fiction!

Lynn Barry said...

send me your email address, Jacobithegreat~ mine is lynn@lynnbarry.com