Hypothyroidism: A Long-Term Relationship No One Wants

Here’s your warning that this is a much less exciting post than my first, it’s full of boring medical jargon and explanations about my history with this condition. If you’re along for this exciting ride, buckle up! This is a topic I touched briefly on in my introduction, but I wanted to take some time to go into more detail and explain a little more about my hypothyroidism as it’s been a big part of my life and my weight struggles. My technical diagnosis is Congenital Hypothyroidism, a condition that effects 1 in 4000 newborns to varying degrees. In some cases, there is a low thyroid function but it’s able to resolve itself with age and development. I was born with what’s called a Lingual Thyroid which is what happens when the thyroid gland doesn’t drop down into place in your throat while in utero. I have a small piece of my thyroid, but essentially there is an empty space in my throat where it should be located. Every time I go to a new doctor (or meet a friend in the medical community) they have fun feeling around my throat and the empty space where my thyroid belongs, it’s a great party trick.

Lingual_Thyroid_CT_Scan_Sagittal__640x480_Labeled

This is not my scan (thanks google!) but it’s a pretty good example of what my throat would look like.

Hypothyroidism is a condition I’ve lived with my entire life, I’ve been taking medication since I was a few weeks old. My dad has told me the stories about how when I was a newborn he would have to crush up the synthroid and feed it to me in milk with an eye dropper like a baby bird. I can only imagine how precious this must have looked, as I was the cutest baby. I’ve seen an endocrinologist annually for as long as I can remember, when I was younger I had blood work done every 3 months, then 6, and now I only have to do it once a year. I’ve been told I tend to downplay this condition, because for me it’s just always been there so it doesn’t seem like a big deal. Truth be told, it’s been a big part of my struggle with my weight throughout my life. Even though I have synthetic thyroid medication and that’s able to keep me functioning where I should be, it still slows down my metabolism and makes losing weight more difficult.

As I’m sure plenty of people can relate, once you dig yourself into the hole of being overweight it can be incredibly difficult to get out of. For someone with hypothyroidism it can be even more of a struggle, you don’t have the metabolism regulation needed to help shed the weight. I’ve heard plenty of people self-diagnose themselves as having a thyroid condition because they can’t seem to lose weight even though they eat fine and consider themselves active. For those people that actually have a thyroid condition though, it’s about more than just your weight. Some days you’re so fatigued it’s a struggle to get out of bed in the morning because you simply don’t have the energy. Also, in my case you’re cold all the time and have poor circulation so even in the summer heat (if you’re inside) your feet are so cold they can get anyone to stay off your side of the bed.

thyroid

For your own reference, this is what your thyroid looks like/where it’s located.

I’m incredibly thankful to have had access to western medicine to help with my thyroid issues, without my medication life would’ve been very problematic. They caught my condition during the infant blood screening and I was able to get an official diagnosis and start working toward a solution very early in my life. Without the synthetic thyroid I take daily, things would have turned out very differently for me. Children who are not diagnosed or treated often end up with some degree of mental retardation and are much shorter than the average, run the risk of developing spasticity and an unsteady gait, and also have speech and behavioral problems. For more information on Congenital Hypothyroidism visit this link or for information on Hypothyroidism, talk to your doctor (because I’m not one) or visit this site.

Thanks for those of you who stuck with me through this post, I promise the next entry will be more interesting!

Photo May 27, 10 26 53 PM

As a little bonus for those of you who made it through, here’s a recent progress photo of me, one year ago at Star Wars Weekends at Disney and last weekend before Megacon. 

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