A thyroid update
So many of you have reached out and read Lessons in Bravery, and I wanted to update you. I tend to write in veiled prose when I’m first grasping a topic. It’s a great way for me to work through my feelings: the end result is beautiful to read, and I have an easier time understanding and revealing my feelings through typing.
I know my post on my thyroid diagnosis has left you with some questions (and it’s left me with some too.) So here’s a quick update out of the prose voice, just me and you...human to human.
Since writing Lessons in Bravery I’ve been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease. Which exactly, we (meaning my doctors and myself) aren’t sure just yet. It seems my thyroid hormone production has spiked, meaning it has been overproducing. Now though, it’s become stable. I do, however, have antibodies which have formed against my thyroid, proving the disease is present and something urgent to monitor.
My doctor expects my thyroid will stop working entirely within the next weeks/months. Until we have solid proof it’s quit entirely, I’ll be having blood tests every four weeks and ultrasounds when necessary. It’s not until I have a formal diagnosis (which is assumed will be Hashimoto's Disease) we can move onto the treatment phase.
One of the biggest questions I’ve received in my DMs is if this could be the cause of my anxiety. The answer isn’t simple, but it leans toward yes. Thyroid issues are common causes of anxiety, as well as many other independent issues. I have no idea how long I’ve had this problem. It could have been years, or maybe even just months. Either way, chances are my thyroid has been contributing to my anxiety- we just don’t know how long it has been.
Another question is how I knew there was a problem. The only telling sign I had was a huge protrusion in my neck. It’s not a growth, but rather a swelling of my neck. I’d noticed it in early April and asked the doctor about it at a routine check-up. She immediately knew my thyroid was swollen and without testing, diagnosed a problem. It was then my bloodwork and ultrasound were ordered.
A little more about the swelling (formally called a goiter)- I'll have it for a while, possibly forever without the help of medication to reduce the swelling. The medication isn't an option for me because it actively causes anxiety. I really don't mind it too much. Sometimes it feels like my face and neck look super puffy and huge, but life could be worse.
I appreciate the messages and comments you’ve sent, and I’m glad to know you’re reading and relating. In a way, I write to inform you, but much of this journey will be writing to inform myself. It’s easier to comprehend the things I’m learning when I write them down.
And I’m blessed what I’m dealing with is such a common diagnosis. That doesn’t make it comfortable, but it does make me very lucky. Moving forward with an autoimmune disease will be a lifestyle change, and it’s challenging some of my largest phobias, but it could be so much worse.
I’ll keep you posted on what comes next.