Interesting fact: I was born without a thyroid.
Yep, it’s true.
My parents are willing to tell anyone who asks the entire story of my birth and the weeks following it (because it’s a little crazy + a great story), but I can tell you this: if I wasn’t born in Pennsylvania they likely wouldn’t have known about my lack of thyroid as it was one of the few states in the U.S. that regulated the thyroid tests on newborns in June 1985. The only reason I was born in PA is because that’s where my moms doctor was at the time. Big thanks to PA officials that made the newborn thyroid test mandatory!
I’m writing this post because January is Thyroid awareness month! By reading this post, you’ll be aware. *giggles with joy*
First, let me back up and explain what a thyroid IS. According to WebMD, “The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low on the front of the neck. Your thyroid lies below your Adam’s apple, along the front of the windpipe. The thyroid secretes several hormones, collectively called thyroid hormones. The main hormone is thyroxine, also called T4. Thyroid hormones act throughout the body, influencing metabolism, growth and development, and body temperature. During infancy and childhood, adequate thyroid hormone is crucial for brain development.”
Okay, now onto Hypothyroidism. (Actually, in my case it’s considered Congenital – meaning, being born with – Hypothyroidism.) This means that the thyroid gland doesn’t produce the right amount of hormones. I take a medication daily (which I need to have reviewed because it’s not the most efficient for my case).
There are many symptoms and many of them can seem and are debilitating. Click HERE for a full list of symptoms + causes + more info from the Mayo Clinic website. Below are symptoms that I have personally dealt with and still do daily, some more severe than others:
- Increased sensitivity to cold
- Dry skin
- Weight gain
- Puffy face
- Muscle weakness
- Elevated blood cholesterol level
- Muscle aches, tenderness and stiffness
- Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
- Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
- Thinning hair
- Slowed heart rate
- Impaired memory
I have to say, reading this list and writing this post makes me cry.
As I stated above I still deal with many – no, most – of these symptoms daily. e’r single day. ugh. It makes me sad because I know there are so many people out there suffering way worse than I am. Some of these people don’t have anyone who supports them or help them get through their daily struggle. Many folks with ‘Hypo’ actually live with family members that flat out don’t believe them + who tell them to “get over it”. (sad face)
I truly believe God gives each of us an ailment of some kind for the sole purpose of connecting with others that have the same or similar ailment. That’s another reason I felt compelled to write this post. If you’re reading this as someone with Hypo, please know that you have my heart. I know exactly how you’re feeling and I am praying for you. If you’re reading this and you know someone with Hypo, I beg you – please give them a break. Daily life is truly a struggle and yes, believe it or not, getting out of bed + remembering a conversation we had only minutes ago with you + crying about (what seems like) everything, good or bad + having a hard time just bending over to tie our shoes or our kids shoes or to grab the pen we dropped… it’s all hard because it physically hurts. Please give your loved one(s) a break. They are suffering. Please help them, don’t hinder them or punish them. Encourage them to get up and push through the pain instead of calling them lazy. Offer to help them do half of their laundry or cleaning instead of criticizing their messy house. God called us to love each other, not criticize.
That brings me to another point: maybe this Hypo thing isn’t just for those of us who suffer with it, but also to teach those that don’t suffer with it to ‘love thy neighbor’. We all have “stuff” that makes life harder, right? Well, is your “stuff” (baggage) any worse (or heavier) than anyone else’s? Well, maybe sometimes. I’m talking specifically about health issues. It’s all a level playing field. We all need love, support, connection and a helping hand for whatever health issue we’re battling. My husband has back problems, but I don’t think that my joint pain is worse than his back issues, or visa versa. We both help each other deal with them as best we can. I think that’s why God gives us these struggles – to learn, grow, and just one chance, one opportunity every day to show kindness to someone else.
In closing, I want to share what I’ve done that’s truly helped my symptoms become less severe. Yes, all of the symptoms listed above are things I deal with every.single.day. But I can tell you, that most of them are at least 75% better!
Here’s my (not so secret) secret: EAT CLEAN FOODS. I LOVE this post from RestartMed.com with 38 nutrition facts. Finally a blog post where I agree with ALL the points!! Woohoo! (note: as I was writing this post, I got totally distracted – hey, it happens! – by the entire RestartMed blog – SO much awesome stuff about nutrition + hypo! I added it to my favorites!)
I could go on and on about eating clean, but I’ll save that for another post! For now I’ll just say this: avoid as much processed foods as possible. Most foods in the U.S. (like 90%) have GMO’s (Genetically Modified Organisms) which literally change the DNA of what you’re eating (like fruits, veggies, meat, etc.). So, if these GMO’s are changing your food it’s extremely likely that they’re changing your own DNA. I truly believe this is the root cause of Hypo, but that’s my own belief and I haven’t done enough research (yet!) to prove it. If you do research there are lots of studies that’ll say I’m wrong, but most of those studies were done with a small grouping of people and in a very short period of time. I want to see a study done over a long period of time with lots of people – yep, the expensive and tiring type of study ☺
If you struggle with Hypo, please feel free to comment below so we can pray for you! Have any tips to help with symptoms? I would love to share them!
Love to you all! <3