Maybe It’s Your Thyroid

As I’ve mentioned, I was diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS, in July 1993. One month later, I moved to Connecticut, to pursue my first master’s degree. I certainly struggled with adjusting to MS. I had never experienced chronic illness up until that point in my life. I pushed myself extremely hard during those days, attending graduate school full-time. I was a single mother, with a 6-year-old daughter, newly diagnosed with insulin-dependent diabetes. I was learning how to inject insulin, as I was losing the ability to walk. Talk about feeling overwhelmingly stressed, each and every day! Thank God for my mother’s help. I never could have gone through all that took place without her. In 1994, I began to have additional symptoms: extreme cold intolerance, significant weight gain, decreased appetite, increased depression, slowed information processing, profuse hair loss, heavy menstrual periods, and bone-crushing exhaustion. I knew that something else was unraveling in my body. I just didn’t have a name for it yet. Given my family history of thyroid disorders, I suspected an underactive thyroid. I received a standard TSH test, which was within normal limits. Not being one to give up, I began to educate myself about the full range of thyroid disorders. I knew that having been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease makes you more susceptible to developing another. Thankfully, I eventually stumbled across the term Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, an autoimmune form of hypothyroidism. I strongly suspected that this is what I had developed. After all, my symptoms were identical to those that manifrst in this autoimmune disease. Being assertive, as well as proactive about my healthcare, I confidently asked a most arrogant Yale endocrinologist about having antithyroid antibody profile testing completed. I was rewarded by hearing him say, “You may be a bright woman, Ms. Floyd, but you are no physician. There’s absolutely no point in completing such tests.” Not one to give up, I promptly informed him that I’d be most happy if the test results turned out to be normal. Long story short, he reluctantly agreed to order the testing. I subsequently received a phone call from this specialist’s office, stating that my anti-thyroglobulin and anti-thyroperoxidase antibody titers were, in fact, elevated by a factor of several hundred times! I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, and placed on a low-dose of thyroid replacement medication. Moral of this long story: you reside in your body, your specialists do not. Never give up being proactive and assertive about your healthcare. Yes, I also found a different endocronologist, after I informed the previous one that I deeply resented being insulted. I was, after all, simply being assertive and proactive about my well-being.

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