My Hashimotos diagnosis and the story of health journey.
What is Hashimotos Thyroiditis?
What is Hashimotos Thyroiditis? I received my Hashimotos diagnosis in August 2019. But first let me give a short, sweet explanation of Hashimotos Thyroiditis. Hashimotos Thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease in which your immune system attacks your thyroid until it no longer is able to function properly thus causing hypothyroidism. That is the simple version but should give you the gist. I will also say at this time that while I am a Registered Nurse I am not giving any medical advice and any information contained on this site is for educational purposes only. If you have questions or concerns you should discuss them with your health care provider.
Once I received my Hashimotos Thyroiditis diagnosis I set out to glean all the information I could possibly find on the subject. One thing I enjoyed reading was the stories of others with the same diagnosis. Reading these stories made me feel not so alone. I was able to commiserate with my fellow Hashimoto warriors. I’m hoping to help others the way I was helped by sharing my story.
So, I received my diagnosis in August 2019. That is the short version. Let me explain a bit of the long version. I visited my health care provider for five years complaining of malaise ( being tired most of the time, having no energy). On the first visit with complaints of being tired I was offered an antidepressant, which I politely declined. At the second visit, I took the practitioner up on that antidepressant because the continued lack of energy and overall tiredness was affecting my life. I felt tired most of the time. It was a tiredness that coffee didn’t seem to help and it was affecting my relationship with my husband and children. I’m not a very nice person when I’m tired, but I’m usually too polite to take it out on people in public. It was my family, the people that love me the most, who got the brunt of my unpleasant behavior I am ashamed to say.
In retrospect, I probably did have some depression. But was depression a symptom of a larger problem? I think yes. Fast forward a few years, a few diets, a few fads and I’m back at my doctor’s office asking for an increase in my antidepressant dose because I am so tired. This particular provider, a nurse practitioner to whom I will forever be grateful, suggested checking out some additional labs. Prior to this visit in 2019, to my knowledge, the only lab to check my thyroid was my TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone). TSH is used as a measure of thyroid function. This test alone is not enough!
When my thyroid antibodies were checked they were elevated thus, the Hashimotos diagnosis. Here I will take a moment to vent some frustrations. I have been aware that I have has a goiter, an enlarged thyroid, since I was pregnant with my first child in 2005. I have had ultrasounds of my thyroid to determine if I have any fibroids of the thyroid. And. No, One, Checked. My. Thyroid. Antibodies! This is a huge source of frustration for me. It seems that a lot of practitioners stop their investigation at drawing a TSH. Thankfully my Nurse Practitioner decided to dig further and treat me for subclinical hypothyroidism. My TSH has always been within range, but my symptoms were not!
Just the beginning
The diagnosis has just been the beginning. Really, the diagnosis didn’t change a thing for me physically but it gave these issues I was having a name. Once I had the name I set out to research and learn. This was really a turning point for me. I’ve got curious and now that curiosity has caused me to make lifestyle changes that have had positive changes on my health. I’m not where I want to be, but I am well on my way and learning to appreciate the journey.