January is Thyroid Disease Awareness Month

January is Thyroid Disease Awareness Month

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

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20 comments

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this Vanessa – I had no idea. It’s so difficult to talk about personal things publicly on the blog, so I comment you on doing so!

    1. Thanks, Jessica! I’m glad you found the post informative. Before my diagnosis, I never thought about my thyroid either. Now that I am on Synthroid I realize how hard my thyroid worked! It’s always good to get it checked — even if you don’t have any symptoms.

    1. Thanks, Jamie! I’m still hoping I will feel normal again and have more energy soon. Good luck with your treatment. The Thyroid Cancer Survivors’ Association is a great resource if you need more information.

    1. Thanks, Colleen! I’m glad you have been able to find the correct dosage and it has allowed you to feel better. It can be such a struggle. Hope all is well with you while you wait for your little one to make a debut!

    1. Thanks, Tristan! With as much as I have learned going through my diagnosis, there is always more to know. Definitely make sure your doctor performs a neck check at your annual appointment!

    1. Thank you so much, Jalisa! I always appreciate your sweet comments. I believe in paying it forward, and there were a lot of sites and people that helped me through my journey. If I can help or inspire someone with my story and posts then it’s all worth it. I hope you’re having a great week!

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