Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I miss my thyroid.

There's only one thing I love to hear just before I drift off to sleep each night, and that is the sound of my husband's voice when he is praying.  There are many reasons this is so special to me.

  1. I am reminded of how blessed I am to have a Christian husband.
  2. His prayers provide a glimpse into what is on his heart and mind.
  3. Nothing invokes a greater sense of peace than giving it all to God every night.
  4. Sometimes his prayers crack me up.
Keith makes me laugh sometimes when he prays.  If his back is hurting, he says, "Lord, please be with my back."  If Camden's foot is hurting, he says, "Lord, please be with Camden's foot."  If Bryson's head is hurting, "Lord, please be with Bryson's head."  And when my blood work comes back showing my thyroid levels are off, he says, "Lord, please be with Marci's thyroid."

This cracks me up every single time because I don't actually have a thyroid.  My thyroid died eight years ago.  

I should actually reword that.  My thyroid was killed eight years ago.  Gasp!

I know.  It sounds awful.  It is awful.  A tragic story really.  She was acting up, threatening to hurt me.  So I had her put down.  May she rest in peace.

Don't feel bad for her!  You know how the old saying goes, "You don't what you've got, until it's gone."  I can vouch for that.

I first went to the doctor in July of 2005 due to shortness of breath.  I was having episodes when I couldn't breathe well, making my heart rate go up, and I was passing out.  Since my dad has asthma, I figured I would be diagnosed with asthma.  BUT that was not the case.

The doctor determined my increased heart rate was causing my shortness breath, rather than the other way around.  She also noticed that my hands were very shaky.  My hair was falling out.  And I had lost 17 pounds in less than one month.  I thought the weight-loss from joining Weight Watchers, even though I was totally cheating on my points.  Heeheehee.  

So, she ordered blood tests and determined I had an overactive thyroid - hyperthyroidism - Graves' Disease.  The doctor was very concerned about the level of overactiveness (I made that word up, but you know what I mean).  She recommended Radioactive Iodine Therapy to kill my thyroid as soon as possible to avoid the potentially dangerous long-term effects, which included bulging eyes and damage to my heart and kidneys.  

I was very frightened.  I got up every morning and looked in the mirror to make sure my eyes weren't bulging out.  And all I could think was I didn't want to hurt my heart.  I am a mother.  I need my heart.  I need it for a very long time.

At the advisement of many loved ones, we sought a second opinion.  That doctor agreed with the first doctor.  My thyroid had to die.  Her behavior was unacceptable and, if left untreated, could be life-threatening.  

So, more out of fear than anything else, we went to the hospital to kill my thyroid.  It was actually a very simple process.  We went to radiology.  I swallowed a pill, and we left.  There was no drama.  My thyroid didn't cry out in pain.  She just shriveled up and died, later to be absorbed by my body.  

Weird and anticlimactic.  I know.  

Little did I know, even in death, she would haunt me.  My lack of thyroid declared an even bigger war on my body - hypothyroidism.  It's a battle I've been fighting ever since.

Hypothyroidism is an ongoing nightmare it seems you'll never wake up from.  I've spent the last eight years trying to live like a normal person, while my body refused to cooperate.  There are so many everyday tasks that I've had to struggle to perform, while learning to live with the symptoms of living without my thyroid.  
  • weight gain
  • inability to adjust body temperature
  • chronic fatigue/exhaustion
  • hair loss
  • dry skin
  • achy joints
  • carpel tunnel
  • irregular menstrual cycles
  • moodiness
  • depression
  • brain fog
  • panic attacks
  • low immunity
  • slow recovery
I've seen four different endocrinologists, all of whom have told me we did the right thing by killing my thyroid.  But I still wonder.  That decision cost me so much.  

The year following the death of my thyroid was the hardest year of my life.  I was not prepared for the emotional strain caused by the physical hardship, and there were many days I struggled to get out of bed.  I felt completely out of control of my body and my life.  It was so hard on me.  

What made it even harder was the toll it took on my family.  Keith was amazing, often times working 40 hours a week at work, only to come home to an unclean house with no food on the table.  I put my boys in day care one full-day and two half-days each week, while I came back home to sleep or watch TV.  

I look back on that time of my life, and an anger fuels in the pit of my stomach.  I hate that year.  I hate who I was.  I hate what I did.  I hate what I didn't do.  I hate it.  If there were ever a year I could do over, it would be that year.

Thankfully, I eventually got used to my thyroid-less self.  I pulled my kids out of daycare, and spent my days trying to make up for ever asking someone else to be responsible for them.  I vowed to be a better me, and I've been trying to fulfill that vow ever since.

I can just see my thyroid now, thinking she got the last laugh.  The joke is on me.  Hahahaha!

BUT while my husband has asked God to be with my thyroid, he's also prayed diligently for me.  and Hallelujah, God answers prayer.  Just last week, I was introduced to an integrative thyroid specialist whose practice is in Winston-Salem.  This doctor specializes in a hypothyroidism treatment that takes a totally different approach to my well-being.  He is 100% against the medication I've been taking for the last eight years, and is totally convinced that his treatment will help me to feel normal again, without the daily struggles I've faced every day since my thyroid died.

His name is Dr. Wiggy.  His treatment is called Nature-Throid.  I've been taking it for six days.  I am already seeing improvements.  I have been getting up by 8:00 every morning, and I've not growled at anybody in days.  This is huge!  I've also lost 3 pounds.  Woohoo!

I've got a long way to go to get back to 100% normal.  But I am so happy to have that hope.  Thank you, Keith, for praying for me everyday.

Not a day has gone by that I have not missed my thyroid.  I guess that's what I get for killing her in the first place.  But perhaps, I'll have the last laugh after all.