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.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you probably know my history. If you’re new, I have hypothyroidism and was semi-diagnosed with PCOS in 2017 (I say semi because the tests were not comprehensive, and I’m not convinced by the diagnosis… but that’s a long story). Last spring, I did a lot of research on supplements and decided to try DIM to aid with estrogen imbalance. In the video, I share my experience after 6-ish months of consistent use.
I also discuss bbt tracking and how this revealed issues related to my hormones, and empowered me to fight back when my thyroid levels were deemed “normal” despite the return of some of the worst symptoms I’ve experienced since starting treatment more than 15 years ago.
Disclaimer: I’m not a medical professional. I did all the research myself and can only share what I know through experience.
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.
Some days, I just need to tune out. Light a candle, brew some tea, shut the world out.
I had a hard time letting go when I was younger. In my teens, I felt things very intensely and it was exhausting. As I’ve grown (older, if not wiser), I’ve learned to let go. There are some things I can’t fix. There are some things I can’t control. I’ve learned to focus on the ones I can fix, can control, rather than stressing over the major, epic ones. That’s not to say I don’t have opinions regarding major, life-changing issues (hello, current state of the nation), but I do what I can to focus on the changes I can make close to homd. Some days that’s as simple as writing a letter or email, others it’s knowing when not to get into an argument (I don’t need the grief). My own well-being comes first.
November has been a long, long month. Actually, the last three months have felt longer than usual, and not in a good way. Things have been off-kilter and I’m only just getting back to a semi-normal state. In an effort to make some changes, I’m going to start focusing on two things that have nothing to do with writing.
I’m going to kick my semi-regular Starbucks habit. I go through cycles with this one. It starts, the seasons shift and I let it go, but my trouble tends to be the fall season, when I go a little latte crazy. I need to stop, for my wallet and my waist.
I’m going to start running again. It’s been over a year since my last regular running session and I miss it. I was never competitive or into long distances. I just enjoy the thrill of running. My knees will ache and my lungs will burn, but a little goes a long way and I want to give my self another chance.
There’s so much more I want to change, but baby steps.
What are some of your goals for December and beyond?