I always have been pretty guarded when it comes to sharing my ailments (even though my ear problem post begs to differ). Call it not wanting to point out flaws or highlight something you wish didn’t exist–whatever the motivation, I’ve been good at hiding the fact that I have hypothyroidism. More specifically, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. What the heck? The first time I heard it, I though, “That sounds like a sumo wrestler name!” How appropriate that my mental image of this disease is wrestling because that is what it is–a constant battle within involving your metabolism.
Also called Hashimoto’s disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease–a disorder where the immune system turns against the body’s own tissues. In people with Hashimoto’s, the immune system attacks the thyroid. This can lead to hypothyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid does not make enough hormones for the body’s needs.
Before this, I had no clue that I even HAD a thyroid gland. But boy, do I care now. Because guess what it controls? The thyroid gland makes hormones that control your METABOLISM. This includes your heart rate and how quickly your body uses calories from the foods you eat. Yeah. Lovely.
My diagnosis came in 2004. I knew something wasn’t right. For one, even though I had a toddler, I would hit a freaking WALL and just couldn’t push through. We were also trying to have another baby and were having no luck. My doctor put 2 and 2 together and recommended a blood test. I was thankful to finally be able to put a label to what was going on. The diagnosis was fortuitous as well because once I started a prescription, 2 months later we were pregnant! So figuring out that I had Hashimoto’s helped me become a mother again. Now I take medication that seems to be working but I’ve heard so many stories about people who struggle despite medication. And just because I have a semblance of balance in my system doesn’t mean it will always be this way.
I know what it feels like to be so stinking tired in the afternoon no matter what you have eaten or drank, how you slept the night before, whether you napped or exercised, etc. A FOG descends on you and you just can’t seem to focus. It is so frustrating! And the number of people who actually are walking around undiagnosed is scary: up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition according to the American Thyroid Association.
Thyroid Disease Statistics:
More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
- An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
- Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
- One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
There is no cure for Hashimoto’s, but replacing hormones with medication (or some do it successfully with diet and a holistic approach) can regulate hormone levels and restore your metabolism. Again, let’s be real here, my metabolism has a new normal: it ain’t going to ever work as good as it used to.
OK so keeping it real, sure I am glad it is treatable and yes, it could be so much worse. But dangit, hypothyroidism can flat-out suck!
Here’s what am I gonna DO about it:
So unlike the name tag graphic above, I’m not gonna let this disease DEFINE or CONFINE me–instead, I am not going to WHINE but run the WINE and DINE to raise funds for the American Thyroid Association for my next runDisney half marathon, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon in November.
Hey, it’s a win-win: I get the benefits from training for a race, and I’m going to one of my favorite places: Disney! But most important I can raise money to help a charity that means something to me. Just in case you were curious, The American Thyroid Association (ATA) is dedicated to the advancement, understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disorders and thyroid cancer. ATA is an international individual membership organization with over 1,600 members from 43 countries around the world. It has a 93% score on the Charity Navigator (I checked that because I always want to vet charities to make sure they are legit and also funding what they are about).
If you would like to give me added incentive to train, run and kick this disease’s butt, you could donate to my fundraiser by clicking HERE. I’m not running on a charity bib; this is just something I think will spur me on and encourage me to run even harder and stronger. Thanks for your support!