My name is Sarah and I have hypothyroidism. Luckily this is a treatable, easily managed condition, but I deal with the side effects of it every day. Hypothyroidism is when your thyroid doesn’t produce enough of the thyroid hormones. It can affect everything from weight gain and fatigue, to fertility.
For me it all started a few months after I got married. We were busy moving into our first house so at first I confused the fatigue, weight gain and general malaise as stress. As I was getting ready for a friend’s wedding I started to try on my clothes from the previous summer and nothing fit. The reality was I had put on 60 pounds in six months. I went to my OBGYN a couple of times, telling her I felt off, but she assured me everything was fine and suggested we change my birth control pill.
Over the next 18 months I was bounced from doctor to doctor and none of them were able to accurately diagnose my problem. I was 200 pounds, fatigued, battling depression, had strange acne and generally miserable. Jim finally stepped in and sent me to his doctor, Ralph Rossi, MD. At my first appointment with Dr. Rossi he suggested we check my thyroid again, even though I assured him that all of the other doctors had. Sure enough something was up. My T3 and T4 hormones were in the normal range, but my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) level was way too high. TSH tells your thyroid how much hormone to produce and influences other body processes.
I was happy to have a diagnosis, but wondered why the other doctors couldn’t find it. The answer is they weren’t testing for TSH levels; they just tested my T3 and T4 hormones. Over the next six months we ramped up my medicine to get everything back in line. There is a wide “normal” range for TSH levels so if you have issues you need to find out where you should fall in that range.
Once my levels were correct most of my symptoms got better; the one that didn’t was the weight. Unfortunately your body doesn’t just start dropping the pounds. After another year of hoping it would just come off on its own I started on Weight Watchers. Over the next year I lost 55 pounds (then I got pregnant with Jack.)
Thyroid imbalance can affect the baby’s development, so it must be monitored throughout pregnancy. Throughout both of my pregnancies my levels stayed the same. After the boys were born I found the same problems with losing the weight. I had to really work at it and I haven’t quite reached my goal.
As a child I didn’t struggle with weight. That is not to say that I was small, but I was a healthy weight for my height (I am tall for a girl.) So now struggling with weight in my 20s and 30s has been hard. I look at the women at the gym every day in their spandex with nice flat tummies and fit legs, wondering if I will ever get back to that.
This spring I started to feel off again. I wasn’t sleeping, my acne was back and I felt like I was “in the grey,” not depressed, but not happy either. I suspected I had put on some weight because my clothes weren’t fitting well. When I stepped on the scale I had put on 12 pounds, so now instead of being eight pounds from my goal I was now 20. I just knew something wasn’t right, so back to the doctor I went. Sure enough my thyroid had shifted again — it was still in the normal range, but higher than it had been. Time for a new prescription.
Within two weeks I was feeling better, my mood was up. I was starting to sleep better and with the help of Weight Watchers (for the fourth time) I had lost 10 pounds. Then I got stalled out with camping, trips and work. So here I sit still 10 pounds from my goal and feeling frustrated that I am still not there. Each time I get close something happens and I get derailed.
I get very frustrated when I think about all the time I lost back at the beginning of this. What if I had been diagnosed months into this process instead of years? Would weight loss and maintenance be easier for me now? But we all know that you can’t look back, you have to look forward and take life by the horns, pushing through any bumps that are on the road.
Now I am renewing my quest to get the last bit of weight off and to feel good in my skin. I want to smile every time I look in the mirror and when I put on a pair of skinny jeans.
I am linking up with Pour Your Heart Out Wednesday at
Things I Can’t Say.