Blind Faith, No Longer Blinded: Tales of Thyroid Illness

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At 11-years-old, you hardly understand the complexities of life and the implication of any diagnosis. My doctor told me I had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, and that it was insignificant… a pill, every day, and blood tests, every 6 months. Simple. My mother, a pediatric nurse, brought me to the best pediatric endocrinologist in the NYC area. With blind faith, I went about life veiled by ignorance about thyroid disease.

I professed my Hashimoto’s at every medical visit. Yet, it was never considered in any treatments. I was told I was depressed and prescribed anti-depressants. I had irregular periods and was prescribed birth control pills. I had dry hair and told it was from processing and products. My skin was like that of a crocodile. Must be genetics, as I shared so many similar behavioral, mood and medical similarities to my father. I accepted my genetic fate, but never once made the connection to our shared diagnosis of Hashimoto’s. That is, until the Hashimoto’s emerged and demanded recognition.

My doctors called it postpartum depression. I could not seem to manage my moods and anxiety, but I was not depressed. This was my third child and the baby weight was not coming off. Something was wrong, I could feel it in my soul. I was driven to research my disease. Soon, I realized all of my idiosyncrasies were symptoms of my “insignificant” disease and my hormone imbalance was distorting my reality.

In the 24 years since my diagnosis, the field of Endocrinology has improved the treatments of Hashimoto’s and other thyroid conditions, yet my treatment remained the same. I encountered countless others who also had their lives forever shifted due to these “insignificant” disorders, but I also discovered treatment options that alleviated those symptoms. My blind faith that my physician knew best dissolved. My doctor transformed into a human with flawed knowledge of a rapidly changing field, and from the once naive patient emerged a woman who refused to accept this was acceptable.

This shared experience with innumerable thyroid dysfunction patients also suffering from symptoms of a disease, yet labeled with minimizing terms such as depressed, mentally unstable and hypochondriacs. This motivated me to action. If we demonstrate and express our experience, if we grab the ear of our physicians who dedicate their lives to healing us – then I have faith we can change our future and heal the next generation. This new found faith inspired me to write, “Endocrinologists: Patients with Thyroid Dysfunction Demand Better Treatment.”

This international petition amassed over 3600 signatures from over 65 countries. It inspired, Denise Rodriguez, an amazing woman with a different, yet similar, thyroid journey, to shape and mold my raw petition into the amazing movement it is today (a little less than 3 months later). We just launched ThyroidChange™, a web-based initiative, to unite the voice of thyroid patients worldwide.

Hormones matter! I have faith that our voices, when strengthened with worldwide support, can change the future of thyroid care. Please join us on our journey.

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6 Comments

  1. The thing about thyroid is it’s a latent chronic stressor. I was undiagnosed learning disability all the times I was wandering through school. Hick teachers reading a stupid kindergarten report calling me a proven genius & the next Alexander the Great didn’t help, either…

  2. Maria, my story only took place 5 months ago. I am still learning about Hashimoto’s, trying to find a doctor to run tests that will reveal my true health, and digesting all that has happened. I know one thing… we all have to find that perfect recipe for us as an individual. So far, I have gone gluten free since I kept reading about the relationship between gluten sensitivity and auto-immune disease. I started as a skeptic, but I really feel better. I am still working on step 2: finding a doctor who can help me…

    Please go to our site. It has so many good resources. The websites and patient blogs give A LOT of tips for the many symptoms of thyroid disease. Good luck in finding optimal health!

  3. Michelle – I would love to know what types of treatments you use to help with the symptoms that come with Hashimoto’s. I’ve been looking for solutions to the on going fatigue, depression and anxiety that occurs despite being on thyroid hormones.
    Thanks,
    Maria

  4. You are very welcome. We are happy to cover stories from real women. You are not alone. So many women suffer from thyroid and a myriad of other hormone-related conditions. More often than not, they are ignored as you were. No more. Lucine is here to change that but we need your help. We need women like you to share their stories, become their own advocates, demand better health care, better research, better treatment options- just demand better. If we don’t start talking, no one will listen. So spread the word, become a Lucine Woman; become an advocate for hormone health and we’ll be sure to send all Thyroid sufferers to ThyroidChange.org.

  5. Thank you so much, Lucine, for allowing me to share my voice through my story. I know I am not alone in my experience. Whether or not you personally have thyroid dysfunction, statistically, each of us loves some one who suffers. Please help strengthen their voice and sign our petition for better care and collaboration.

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