Hashimoto’s Hell and the Perfect Partner

This is not a weight loss blog.  In fact, to call it that would defeat the very purpose of what it is that I am ultimately trying to do here.  This blog is dedicated to the hope of reconsidering what it means to be healthy.  The idea is to reconsider the body from a non-aesthetic perspective, reconsider food from a perspective that is not focused on weight loss or an aesthetic goal, and to reconsider a definition of health that is not focused on appearance.

That said, I have to admit that I have been freaking the hell out about my body lately and I feel the need to share.  I guess it’s really easy to be comfortable with your body when it’s functioning properly.  But what if it’s not?  Remember my blog about “just eat the damn cookie?”  Well that was a lot easier to say when my body could metabolize the damn cookie.  I will be taking a slight (and hopefully temporary) detour to discuss my experience with a disease that, untreated, seriously f***s with the general health and appearance of the body.  In this case, my body.

It seems that I am suffering from some pretty serious symptoms of hypothyroidism.  This means that my thyroid gland is not producing enough hormone to keep my body running efficiently.  Thyroid hormones control everything from appetite to energy level and metabolism.  My symptoms started with a serious case of fatigue and some mild, unexplained weight gain.  But every day since my suspicion began, it seems to be getting worse.  Now I’m up by almost ten pounds, I can hardly function between the hours of 10 and 4, my neck is incredibly swollen, I have no appetite whatsoever, my blood sugar drops dramatically between meals, my body temperature is over a degree low consistently, and every joint in my body is killing me.  And I cannot concentrate on my work.  And these symptoms are just the ones I care to mention.

Despite all of my pep talks about not caring about the weight on the scale, I have become scale-obsessed.  Mike took it away from me this morning.  I keep hoping I’ll wake up and it will all just go away.  I’ll pee a bunch and lose seven pounds of water, and I’ll have tons of energy.  But today I have to finally confront it and acknowledge that something is very wrong.

I have been to a specialist who has confirmed that I am most certainly suffering from hypothyroidism.  But before we can treat it we have to figure out the cause and how bad it is.  So now I am forced to wait for test results.  Which is the last thing this type-A chick wants to do.  Unfortunately, I have to be prepared for some bad news, because my symptoms and history are perfectly consistent with a disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.  This means that my thyroid issue is not temporary, but is instead a disease I will have for the rest of my life.  The thought of this is terrifying, even though I know there is medication that can treat it.  In fact, in my bodybuilding days I’d have killed for a prescription of T3–bodybuilders often use thyroid hormones to cut bodyfat, but it comes at the risk of permanently harming your thyroid, so I was dead set against it.  How ironic is that?

Every day, I wake up to find my face a little more swollen, my pants a little bit tighter, and my body a little more fatigued.  The athlete in me is freaking out!  I train every day and sometimes twice a day, I get in several miles every week, and I eat a pretty clean and well-balanced diet.  I don’t know which is worse—to know you could take steps to feel better but not know where to start, or to know exactly how and do everything right but not be able to.  I never freaked out about weight gain because I always knew I had the choice.  But now, I can’t even manipulate water weight (which is shamefully unhealthy but I have to admit that in total desperation I did try it…).

Oh…and I forgot to mention the best  worst part.  They suspect celiac disease, which to my knowledge is the most serious form of gluten allergy.  Awesome.  If I have that, you can look forward to my gluten free recipes as I figure out how to adapt.  The good news is that almost everything I cook is gluten free, with the exception of my baked goods.  I’m secretly looking forward to buying a mill so that I can make my own gluten free flours out of beans, seeds, quinoa and nuts…maybe I’ll do it anyway for my gluten free friends.

For now I’m trying desperately to stay positive and keep my head above water, but you may have noticed some pretty negative undertones in this post.  I have to keep those in check and remind myself that it could be so much worse than a treatable condition.  But god help us all, this morning I started doing that thing where I lash out at the person closest to me…in this case, Mike.  Some of you may know what I’m talking about.  Don’t lie.  Tears and frustration and mortification all wrapped into one: “you don’t understand!” and “you’re not taking me seriously!” and my personal favorite, “you think I’m fat, don’t you!”  If you’ve never gone there, don’t.  It makes no sense.  This guy has put a perfect cup of coffee in my hands first thing every morning for the past four years of my life.  He woke up early in anticipation of my meltdown and hid the scale, made me a cup of detox tea, and cooked my breakfast so I wouldn’t try to get out of eating.  So yeah…mad props to the perfect partner.

But I had the meltdown anyway…and now here I am blogging about it.  Because it’s really easy to write about the strong moments, the positivity, the optimism.  It’s really easy to not care about what your body looks like when you’re in control.  But we’re not always in control, are we?  We are not always positive, not always optimistic.  And that’s ok sometimes, isn’t it?

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3 thoughts on “Hashimoto’s Hell and the Perfect Partner

  1. Oy, girlie. I am sorry to hear this. I am visiting for the first time and I saw this post, which I can so relate to. I am hypothyroid, but mine is as a consequence of having my thyroid removed due to Graves Disease (hyperthyroidism). Within a month of having it removed I gained about 10 pounds and started experiencing some of the symptoms you mentioned. The worse part that as bad as Graves was, especially with my running, being hypothryroid has affected in a whole different way. Anyhow, I hope you don’t mind if I checl back to see how things are going, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. Remember this is going to be a long process but you can do this!

    • Thanks for checking out my blog! I’m sorry to hear about your experience with hypothyroidism and Graves. I am also an athlete, and I think that thyroid problems are especially frustrating for us because we are used to being in control and in tune with our bodies. Thank you for the encouragement and I will certainly check out your blog. “The Hypothyroid Athlete’s Kitchen” sounds like EXACTLY the kind of blog I can’t wait to check out! Stay in touch!

  2. I have Hashimotos disease and life sucks with it! I used to be a real go getter and now I can barely get through a day without sleeping half of it away. If I dare leave the house for groceries or whatever I am so exhausted it takes me another day or two to recoup. I have been on Levothyroxin and was told I would loose weight and feel better which I did for a few months but now feel worse than ever. I am now 35 pounds over weight and no matter what or how much I eat I keep gaining. My joints hurt so badly I can never sleep through an entire night without the pain waking me. I feel like I am going to be crippled due to Hashimotos disease.

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