Thyroid Alert!!! I want every woman who is at or nearing mid life to PLEASE run don't walk to your nearest medical professional and demand, not ask for the following tests: TSH, Free T4, FreeT3 and Anti Thyroid Perioxidase especially if you are or have been experiencing any of the following: depression, anxiety, mood swings, heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat, cold feet and hands, hair loss, very dry skin, fatigue, throbbing pain in joints, insomnia, weight gain in mid region of body, constipation, migraines, changes in monthly menstruation flow, foggy thinking, and sensitivity to cold. DO NOT allow your doctor to tell you you do not need all 4 of these tests.
I have spend the better part of 19 years seeking answers for all of the above symptoms and have been told my various health care experts that you have PMS, depression, anxiety, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and most recently perimenopause. I despise labels in all forms and yet it was so hard not to define myself as a depressed, anxious, bowel challenged, moody, sensitive woman with moderate to severe menstruation and menopausal issues. In fact, I had heard this diagnosis so often that I never truly thought to question it.
Still, through all this there has been a persistent voice inside my head that has repeatedly told me to not give up and to keep seeking help from what ever source possible because I knew there was something more to all this......I was NOT going to give up.....although sometimes I truly cried and cried and kept crying, because the thought of another day of this agony was so demoralizing.
Some folks who don't know me so well, might be somewhat surprised with what I have written here since people see me as this outgoing, energetic, up beat person who is very friendly, loves to talk and seems to roll with life's punches. That IS me in large part...but for the last 4 or 5 years I have found it almost impossible to be that person any longer for any great length of time. Anger, irritability, mood swings, sadness, confusion, forgetfulness have all been a daily part of my life that it has impacted my family relationships, my friendships and my desire to socialize. I felt that some days it just was not worth the effort and the pain, fatigue and overwhelming feeling that something was so wrong in my life.
Well....I am here to say that were it not for an NP who had the foresight to order the above 4 mentioned thyroid tests and for my PCP's ability to diagnosis me, I might be spending the next 10 or so years of my life going to more doctors and seeking more relief from symptoms that have only recently been kicking into high gear. I found out that I have Hashimoto Thyroiditis and am off to seek the care of a specialist sometime later this month. I am hoping that this meeting brings about some real answers to my life and some relief to my symptoms. My Thyroid Antibodies are 874, normal is 8 or below.....so my body is quite literally attacking my thyroid causing my already overtaxed and overstressed body to have much more extreme symptoms of perimenopause.......and it probably contributed to my severe PMS symptoms when I was younger as well. In fact, I am convinced that this condition has plagued me for many years and yet no one saw fit to question my thyroid beyond a standard TSH test that always was within normal range.