If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I have hypothyroidism. I was diagnosed when I was around 17 years old, but I suspect it started around the time I was 15. I’ve had years to deal with the symptoms and side effects of my illness, and the medication I take to manage it, so I’ve started sharing my experience in an effort to raise awareness and help others.
Today, I’m talking hair. My hair was one of the first indicators when I was diagnosed: it was falling out in major clumps. The kind where my fist was full of strands whenever I ran my fingers through my hair. It’s also one of the first indicators when my hormones went out of balance and I needed to have my meds adjusted: it dried out and refused to grow.
It’s growing again, but I’m still dealing with dryness (especially after an ill-judged color experiment), so today I’m sharing what I’m doing to deal with the aftermath of hormone imbalance and bad decision-making.
Despite getting a less than satisfactory PCOS diagnosis, I was convinced the origin behind my recent cascade of symptoms lay elsewhere, and I was right! When in doubt, always trust your gut, I say. Too often, I’ve had to fight for the correct diagnosis and too often I’ve come away with less than satisfying results because the process is long, appointments are hard to come by, and co-pays start to add up. I have a yearly check-up with my endocrinologist (who was the only doctor willing to treat me when I fell into the gap between child and adult at age 15), and I was revved up for a fight despite a relatively good history. Luckily, no fight was needed. I told him how I was feeling (exhausted and ready to nap from the moment I wake up, unable to concentrate, unable to lose weight, bloated all the time, and more); he took one look at my numbers and confirmed what I long suspected: my TSH levels fell off the wagon. My symptoms all point to an underactive thyroid. My PCOS symptoms likely stem from this, rather than a hormonal or insulin imbalance (yeah, TSH is a hormone but you know what I mean).
Am I happy? No, but it is nice to have my suspicions confirmed and my feelings justified. I’m currently on a slightly higher dose of Synthroid, and will be running additional tests to gain more insight. It’s not a process I look forward to, but at least there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, so to speak. My efforts won’t be entirely wasted if my thyroid actually gets the hormones it needs to function properly.
This also means I’m going to document my “journey” (gah, I hate that word). If there’s one thing I can talk about it’s being hypo. It affects every aspect of my life, from my physical to my mental health, daily actions and relationships. If your thyroid isn’t working, nothing works.
I’m working with a new camera. Please excuse learning pains.
I filmed this video two months ago (wow! my hair has grown), but I was reluctant to post it at first. When all the other life drama hit, I decided to shelve it for a few weeks. Now that I’m embarking on a whole new health journey/experiment, I think the time is ripe to share my story.
I’ve written about my issues with weight, but I’ve never truly shared my story. This video barely covers the surface, but I like to think that this is my form of advocacy. If in doubt, keep searching for a second/third/fourth opinion. Health above all.