This first entry, in My Journey, has taken the longest to pull together. Quite frankly, where to begin? Since the other blogs in this site are of the here and now I’m going to go back a bit and start from my beginning…
Thyroid issues are genetic. My family would make a great case study. My paternal grandma (Memérè) suffered from it though there is no medical records of it. Just what she went through and the issues she had with 15 pregnancies, and 8 births (losing one baby at 24 hours old). Then there are my 2 aunt’s and 5 uncles who have a plethora of ailments. Some have had goiters, some had their thyroids chemically killed, others have food allergies that are so severe it makes you wonder if they should carry around an Epipen. Then there is my generation. Oh my. Roughly 20 grandchildren. Too many stories to just glaze over. You’ll learn bits here and there as I share. And finally the great grandchildren. There are 4 right now and 2 have serious issues from this.
My journey starts when I’m 9 years old. My family decided to move to Virginia from upstate Vermont. Our allergies were so severe to mold that my brother was going deaf and my voice would be gone for months at a time. Our mold allergy was that bad; mold grows rampant on sitting piles of snow which are common place in Vermont. A warmer climate would have less of this. The stress of leaving all my family (I shared the family size of my dad’s side but my mom has 16 aunts and uncles ~plus their spouses~ and a million cousins and second cousins all within a 50 mile radius in VT) was quite intense for me. Already hormonally sensitive I took the move quite hard. I was also in a new school with a newer teacher and when she got frustrated she yelled. My hair began to fall out in clumps. So many doctors visits but they found no real reason for it.
Looking back this was probably the stresser that triggered my hypothyroidism. With most women it’s pregnancy, the emotional and hormonal extremes. With me this seemed to set it off.
Then on the Fourth of July after my 13th birthday I was standing in line in DC (a holiday day adventure with family and friends) and I got dizzy. My mom looked over to see me falling face first toward the floor. I fell onto a registered nurse. She and my mom agreed that they thought I was having a grand mal seizure. That was the beginning of a long and hollow string of doctors and tests. Roughly $40,000 pre-insurance cost later (in the early 1990’s) and the only answer to my “fainting spells” (3 other big incidences) was hypoglycemia. My body violently shuts down when it runs out of sugar.
Needless to say my teens were a bit challenging. I was concerned I wouldn’t be allowed to drive. That something was terribly wrong and the doctors were clueless. I started to believe then that I would be on strong medications and connected to a doctor the rest of my life. I tried for a long time to except this as my new ‘normal’.
As I round a new chapter in my story I look back and wish I could tell the 13 year old me and my mom what we know now. That is the very reason for this site. If it can help others searching for answers out there then maybe they can skip some of what I’ve been through and enjoy a life of wellness.