When I was first diagnosed with a thyroid condition, I knew little about thyroid disease. In my mind, my thyroid was this shapeless figure somewhere in my neck that served a function — but I didn’t know just how important its job was until I lost it.
Since this month is dedicated to thyroid disease awareness, I thought I would share some background to my thyroid cancer diagnosis. You can read the full story of my journey here.
In March 2013 I was diagnosed with subclinical hypothyroidism, which explained why I had none of the symptoms that usually accompanied hypothyroidism — weight gain, hair loss, or extreme fatigue, to name a few. I always felt tired, but never associated that factor with a medical condition. Subclinical meant that some of my levels were within range, but my TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) was higher than normal. This suggested that without eventual treatment, I would begin to suffer the debilitating effects of hypothyroidism.
I was started on 88 mcg of Synthroid, a daily synthetic thyroid hormone. In April 2013, further testing revealed that I had Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and papillary thyroid carcinoma. Hashimoto’s was another disease that I was unfamiliar with — where your immune system attacks your thyroid. It is often the most common cause of hypothyroidism.
After I had my thyroid removed in June 2013, my Synthroid dose varied between 100 and 112 mcg. I am presently on 100 mcg and looking forward to meeting my new endocrinologist in March.
I write about my journey to encourage you to get your thyroid levels checked during your next medical appointment and to ask for, and know how, to perform a neck check. Being familiar with thyroid terms, conditions, and symptoms can help you stay vigilant about your health — and perhaps avoid a health crisis.
*Image courtesy of ThyCa