Hypothyroid and Me — A Lesson in Napping

Have you ever been so tired you couldn’t lift your arms? What about being that tired for no apparent reason – you’ve gotten enough sleep, you’re eating well and moving enough, and generally taking care of yourself, but the fatigue runs so deep it’s all you can do not to lay in bed and cry.

That’s how I felt before my hypothyroid was diagnosed and treated.

Image from I Heart Guts

Thyroid problems can affect all aspects of your life. Your energy levels, your weight, your hair and skin, your mood, your menstrual cycle, everything.

Now, I also have PCOS, and there’s a lot of symptom overlap, so I don’t know how long my thyroid was underperforming until the fatigue hit.

And hit it did.

There were days when I could barely move, barely lift my arms, barely get out of bed. Sometimes I got so frustrated that I cried. I’ve had depressive episodes, so I’ve felt fatigue before, but this was different. It’s hard to put into words how the two feel, but when they are happening, I can tell which is which.

I guess the main difference is that when I’m depressed I don’t want to get out of bed, I lack motivation. When it’s my thyroid I want to get up and do things, but my body won’t let me.

Fortunately, not long after things started getting bad, I had my annual lady business exam. I mentioned my symptoms to my gyno, and asked if she thought it was thyroid or something else. While this isn’t entirely her area of expertise, there are a lot of overlaps between the endrocrine system and the reproductive one, so she at least could get me started.

She ran tests, and yes, my TSH was high. That indicates hypothyroid. She started me on Synthroid.

The results were quick. I could feel my energy come back. My levels were normal at my follow up visit. It seemed all was well.

After a few months, however, the fatigue started creeping back. I contacted my gyno through the hospital portal, and she suggested I see an endocrinologist since we were getting outside of her specialty.

It took me ages to find an endo. I’m on Medicaid, so a lot of them don’t take my insurance. Plus, as someone who practices Health at Every Size, I wanted to find one who didn’t list bariatrics as an area of interest.

I eventually found one, and yes, I did need my dosage raised. These days, in feeling pretty good in the thyroid-symptom area.

Unfortunately, I don’t LOVE my endo. I explained that I am not interested in weight loss right off the bat, and she kind of begrudgingly accepted that. However, she still asked me if I would ever consider bariatric surgery, claiming she “asked everyone.” After my resounding HELL NO she didn’t ask again, but I still get the sense that she doesn’t really respect my acceptance of my body.

But I’d rather not go through the search and introduction process again, and I only have to see her a couple of times a year. So things may not be perfect, but they are a lot better.

At least now I can get out of bed.

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