This is Part 1 of my Healing Hashimoto’s series which outlines my personal experience with Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Disease. The other posts in this series include:
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. The information in this post cannot be used to treat or diagnose any disease.
“You have Hashimoto’s disease.”
THANK GOD! If there was ever a time in my life that I wished I had something wrong, this was it. The moment I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, I felt like a new door was opened. I finally had an answer.
I quickly learned that just because I had a name to pair with my symptoms didn’t make me better. In fact, it made me worse during my first year of “treatment,” until I decided to take my health into my own hands.
The first step was to make a timeline of my symptoms and after really thinking it through, I realized I had some warning signs early on. Very early on…
I remember the earliest of symptoms starting around 6 or 7 years old – heartburn and pain in my lower leg muscles and bones. At the time, the pain may have been passed off as growing pains, but they continued on until I was really able to pinpoint their cause during my early 20’s.
I also had a somewhat large neck for a young girl, which lasted well into my college years.
I experienced Livedo Reticularis quite often in the winter time. Throughout my elementary school years, I remember looking at everyone’s legs during gym class, thinking “Why are my legs so splotchy?” (This symptom can be found in Lupus patients which might have been a very early indicator of my autoimmune tendencies, especially given my recent autoimmune disease situation.)
As I approached puberty, I developed major sinus congestion and allergies along with chronic headaches. My hair started to thin and noticed that I had Raynaud’s Disease during the colder months.
Then, I started my period in 8th grade – heavy and incredibly painful, exhausting periods that lasted for a week or longer. These continued this way through high school, then college and completely disrupted my education and social and athletic life.
I was sent home multiple times from basketball practice due to the pain and exhaustion. I remember throwing up from the pain during college and even contemplated buying diapers for night time because I bled through my sheets so often. Thankfully, I was still somewhat functional during the rest of the month though, until Junior year of high school.
I specifically remember how tired I was during class immediately after lunch…
So tired that I could barely keep my body upright or hold a conversation without slurring my speech.
After school, I usually had an hour or so before basketball or soccer practice so that I could take a nap, but the fatigue was so great upon waking and did not let up even after I started to move and run.
I had to wear ankle and knee braces from injuries that never seemed to heal despite working with our athletic trainer on a daily basis.
The brain fog was easily the worst and most embarrassing symptom out of them all, contributing to poor and inconsistent performance both in school and on the field.
And then there was college… the stress of my classes sent me over the edge.
I was SO. SICK.
I developed painful cystic acne on my face, as well as Tinea Versicolor on my entire upper body. My skin became itchy, flaky, and dry. My hair was falling out in clumps.
I tutored students in my spare time to make some extra money but had to quit because I couldn’t show up to my appointments. I was just too tired.
Aside from my painful periods, I began to experience Mittelschmerz during ovulation (later linked to multiple ovarian cysts).
From there, I just kept getting worse. And worse. And worse.
Finally, FINALLY, I decided something must be wrong and sought a diagnosis. With ®Synthroid in my hand, I felt my life would come back, but I was so wrong.
Overwhelming anxiety. Rapid heart rate. Palpitations. Hand tremors. Nystagmus. Insomnia. Anemia. And something called Irlen Syndrome that didn’t allow me to read very well (later to be paired with a Binocular Vision Dysfunction diagnosis). All stacked on top of every single other symptom listed here, even from my earliest of years. There was not one symptom that went away.
And that is what it took for me to finally say this wasn’t working and admit to myself that something had to change. We all have a breaking point. I had reached mine.
Do you have Hashimoto’s disease? If so, what are your symptoms? Share in the comments below!
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Hi! I’m Anna, co-founder of Healthy Habits Reset. After managing my own autoimmune diseases using lifestyle, habit, and mindset changes, I now work to teach others how to navigate the treacherous and confusing journey of chronic illness living. I firmly believe YOU hold the power to question, think critically, and become your own rock-solid advocate in a world full of unhealthy habits. Consider me, and my husband, Frank, your autoimmune disease health coaches. Are you ready?!