In 1998, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism (under-active thyroid). And for the last 14 years, it has been the proverbial thorn in my side.
For those of you who don't know what your thyroid is or what it does, it is a small butterfly-shaped gland in the base of your throat that stimulates your metabolism. The problem with mine is that it isn't getting enough stimulation.....**crickets chirping**
I have been on Synthroid, which is a synthetic hormone replacement, for the last 14 years. I have to go regularly for bloodwork as my thyroid gland is smaller than average (this was discovered during a scan in which I swallowed a small radiation pill and they took x-rays of my thyroid) and this causes my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) levels to fluctuate from low to high periodically.
It is no picnic having a thyroid disorder. It makes it VERYYYYYY difficult to function at times. Anyone who has hypothyroidism can vouch for this.
Symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- weight gain
- cold intolerance
- muscle cramps
- joint pain
- carpal tunnel syndrome
- decreased sweating
- brittle hair and nails
- low heart rate
I found this great analogy to get a better idea of what I am talking about:
For a helpful analogy, think of the thyroid gland as a furnace and TSH as a thermostat. If the furnace (thyroid gland) is underactive or "cold" (hypothyroidism), the TSH level rises to increase thyroid hormone secretion and restore balance. If the thyroid gland is overactive or "hot" (hyperthyroidism), TSH levels drop to decrease thyroid hormone secretion. That's why low TSH levels indicate hyperthyroidism, and high TSH levels indicate hypothyroidism.
It's just one of many things I have had to learn to live with over the years. I just hope someday that they will be able to permanently fix the problem. Until then, I will take a pill every day and even though I may not have the strength or stamina, I will live up to my Will Do List that I made for 2012 and do at least 30 mins of exercise each day. And on the days that I have more energy, I will do more.
Never. Give. Up.