If I am being completely honest with myself, I had not been feeling quite right, for quite some time.
I blamed being a working mum for my tiredness. I blamed tiredness for my brain fog. I blamed brain fog for my forgetfulness.
I felt guilty for not being more capable. I crammed our weekends with so much activity, so I would not feel tempted to lie flat on the sofa and leave my son to entertain himself.
I really wanted to lie flat on the sofa and leave my son to entertain himself.
But I didn’t.
I kept going. The more defeated my body felt, the more determined I was to push on through.
I blogged about my how my tolerance to late nights had changed and how I needed more sleep than ever before, but was getting so much less of it.
I visited the doctor for minor ailments – dry skin, a rash, mouth ulcers, chin acne, anxiety. They said I was run down.
I suffered two miscarriages. Just unlucky, they reassured me.
I had no idea that all of these symptoms were actually linked, until a blood test revealed I had thyroid antibodies, and these antibodies were wrongly attacking my thyroid gland and attempting to destroy it like it was the mortal enemy.
The thyroid gland has two main functions: the first is to control metabolism and the second function is to control growth in early life. It is situated in the front of your neck, just below the Adams Apple and is shaped like a small butterfly.
When thyroid function is compromised by pesky antibodies trying to stop it from doing its job, it can lead to all sorts of problems. Symptoms can include weight gain, tiredness, depression, being sensitive to the cold, dry skin and hair and muscle aches, but there are hundreds more.
Now, there is so much about the thyroid that I still don’t really understand. My GP has been very supportive and referred me to a specialist, who I hope will be able to explain what this means for me in a way I will be able to make sense of.
What I have discovered so far, is that having these antibodies means I am more likely to develop hypothyroidism at some point. There is some indication that this might be occurring to some extent already. It also means I have a 60% chance of miscarriage, should I fall pregnant again. Thyroiditis falls into the autoimmune area, so means sufferers are at a greater risk of developing other autoimmune conditions, such as Lupus or coeliacs disease.
Through my own research, I have found there is some evidence that eliminating gluten from my diet would be beneficial, as gluten can also trigger an antibody attack on the thyroid.
So, until I meet with the specialist I have cut out all gluten. I actually do feel a lot better for it. My head does not feel as heavy and I feel much less confused. I have been able to stay up later in the evenings and have stopped waking at 4am, so I feel less tired. After a bit of a blip in the first few weeks, my tolerance to alcohol has significantly improved. I am able to drink two glasses of wine again without feeling hammered, passing out, or throwing up.
Gluten-free definitely suits me, but more importantly, a subsequent blood test after starting the diet showed that my thyroid antibody levels had decreased.
But some days, it feels as though this is yet another thing that I have to deal with.
Another thing that I am responsible for fixing.
That my body is failing me. Again.
Then other days, I feel relieved.
I am capable; I am not mad.
It has a name. Hashimoto’s.
It can be treated.
It is real.
I found so much helpful information on Hypothyroid Mom. I also emailed the author, Dana, who was really lovely and advised me on additional tests to ask for when I met with my doctor again.
I’ve reached the shortlist for a Brilliance in Blogging Award in the Family category! Thank you so much to everyone who nominated me and has supported me so far. If you would like to see Grenglish in the finals, please take a moment to vote here.