A newborn, a toddler and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis
As you lie there, listless on the floor next to your screaming 6-month-old daughter and your son safely is preoccupied with dinner, I know you are afraid. You don't know what is happening to your body, and although the random shards of doubt try to pierce your thoughts with lies 'you're depressed', 'you're going crazy’, deep down you know something else is wrong.
That night you will take off in the car like a cliché. Driving to the highest point you can find to breathe in the freshest air available. Whatever this is, it is suffocating. Your husband will be worried.
You hear the words of others trying to reassure, but they actually lead you further away from the truth, 'two children under two is bound to be tiring', 'you're doing too much exercise'. Your children both sleep through the night, and until two days ago the new lifestyle was making you feel the best you'd ever felt. You are making inspiring moves to be better, physically and mentally and your body has repaid this by attacking you. Literally.
You will scream when people suggest you are depressed. You can see your life and how beautiful it is, how happy it makes you, but it’s playing out before you, on the other side of a wall. It's out of reach. You ask yourself, perhaps this is what depression feels like?
When you finally decide to seek help, it won't be because of the exhaustion, or the weakness in your arms and legs and it won't be because the darkness is quickly crawling into your eye line. It's the pins and needles that creep up your arm that start to scare you, like tiny fingertips prodding you to wake up to reality.
The nurse practitioner is thorough, he suspects carpal tunnel and perhaps some strange virus. He is concerned about the exhaustion so requests an 'MOT'. Thank goodness you didn't listen to outside voices, thank goodness you listened to the still small voice inside.
‘You'll hear back about the blood test by the end of the week.’
When the phone rings at 4:30 pm that same day and you hear the Dr state his name on the other end of the phone, your heart will skip faster than you thought possible. This confirms it, something is not right.
‘You are very lucky the Nurse that you saw today was so thorough. Your Thyroid has completely stopped working, probably several months ago.’
You learn later that you have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and you will learn over time that the state you were diagnosed in is very rare and was found just in time.
You won't have any idea the ordeal you are about to undertake. It may feel like an ending now and you will cry with relief that you have answers, but this is only the beginning. You need to remember how well you know your body and hold onto that. This is a tool that will keep you sane through the weeks and months that follow. You need to remember that being healthy is paramount over body image, something you now have limited control over with this disease.
At times you wonder if you will ever feel normal again, if you will stop snapping at your husband and children, and if your marriage will survive such a huge challenge.
Let me tell you that you are so much stronger than you will ever have imagined. Most people will not understand the gravity of what you have to deal with, but the more you talk and write about the issue, the more you will find friends who suffer with you and support you through it. You will learn that it is something that cannot truly be understood unless you live it.
Most of all, you will be surer than ever that you married the most wonderful man. He will take over with the children when you are too tired to function, he will take the time to research things with you, he will cook weeks worth of meals for you to keep lifestyle goals on track and he will support and inspire you to be the best you can be each and every day. Through sickness and in health.
There is still much that you don't understand about your body, and you live in hope that one day it will fix itself. For the time being, you are told it is permanent but you have not allowed any of this to hold you back, in fact, you are smashing goals more than ever before. You will surprise yourself with how much you have achieved when you come out the other side.
Never forget that yes there are others with health problems much worse than yours, but it's not a competition and you have just as much of a right to voice how you feel. I know you feel guilty about complaining, but sometimes it's all you can do to get through.
I now know you can take anything life throws at you and you will overcome it wonderfully.