Along with January kicking off the new year, it is also Thyroid Disease Awareness Month. Did you know that the American Thyroid Association (ATA) estimates that approximately 20 million Americans have some kind of thyroid disease? And, according to the ATA, roughly 60 percent are unaware that they even have a thyroid condition. Prior to my diagnosis of subclinical hypothyroidism back in 2013, I was one of them.
With no family history or symptoms of any thyroid conditions, I thought I was doing just fine. That was until a routine exam determined that there was a nodule on my thyroid. That discovery quickly meant that words like “hypothyroidism” and “Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis” were going to become part of my vocabulary. If you are interested in reading my story and how my thyroid disease and subsequent thyroid cancer was discovered, you can read more here.
Now, five years later and cancer-free, I still go for routine blood work and the “scanxiety” that I feel each time I have to go for a yearly neck ultrasound is palpable. Just yesterday I went to have my thyroid levels checked. I typically go every six months, but due to my crazy travel schedule back in October when I was due to see my endocrinologist, I needed to reschedule the appointments. It has now been nine months since my last visit with my endocrinologist and I have an appointment to see her next week. It has felt like forever since my last visit—I had almost forgotten the procedures in place before going for blood work, the anxiety I had felt driving over to the lab, and the anticipation of waiting for the appointment date and blood test results to arrive.
So, until my appointment next Thursday, all I can do is be positive and remind everyone to make sure that they have their thyroid levels checked and that their doctor performs a neck check during their next annual exam.