I think with any autoimmune disease it's important to look back and connect the dots and see when your body started to function different.
It's going on almost 7 years now from when I was diagnosed with Hashimotos. I remember the ups and downs and all sorts of things that went thru my head trying to get answers.
So... let's back up and see when I first realized I had something going on in my body.
Spring 2013 I had gotten engaged to my current husband and things were going great. We made plans for me to move to Texas and start a whole new life with my two kids. I couldn't have been happier!
We talked about starting a family and so much more.
At the time I had a Mirena IUD and we opted to keep it in place until we decided it was "time" for us to start trying. After all I never had issues conceiving in prior years. I'd actually been pregnant four times total previously (I may share those other stories another day, but not right now) and had two full term healthy babies.
So when I had my IUD removed the fall of 2013 things started to take a turn. Looking back I never got my menstrual cycle during the whole time of having my Mirena IUD. I was told that was a pretty common side effect and thought nothing of it. After having my IUD removed, my menstrual cycle still didn't return. 6 months passed and I was beginning to get concerned, but doctors told me it's to be expected so I waited... and waited... and waited.
I made an appointment with a new ob/gyn and he recommended I start on a birth control pill to "restart" my hormones for a month or so. I didn't feel that was an option and quickly turned him down.
Onto the next doctor, who prescribed progesterone and to be followed up by a clomid pill- which would cause my body to produce more than one egg at a time.
I tucked away both prescription slips in my nightstand that night and cried. I couldn't understand what was wrong with my body.
I just needed to get some answers. I then started realizing how fatigued I had been feeling. My hair was also constantly falling out in clumps, which I attributed to stress at the time. I would come home from work in the evening around 6, eat dinner with the family, then go straight to bed. I was constantly cold and then I was gaining weight.
Something felt off, so I went to my regular doctor and asked for her to do bloodwork. I came back with some unusual thyroid antibody readings (I can't remember the exact numbers right now) but they sent me immediately for a sonogram and biopsy on my thyroid.
Apparently I had tons of nodules and the first step they want to eliminate is any type of cancerous cells. So talk about a mindfuck. Here we were a new couple trying to have a baby and looking at the potential now of me possibly having thyroid cancer.
Thankfully all results came back negative, but the endocrinologist that I was referred to did inform me that I had an autoimmune disease called Hashimotos.
My first question was- What the heck is Hashimotos??
He quickly explained that Hashimoto's disease is a condition in which your immune system attacks your thyroid. The thyroid gland is part of your endocrine system, which produces hormones that coordinate many of your body's functions. Which would explain the interruption of my menstrual cycle, the loss of hair, and general overall feeling of fatigue.
Second question- What can I do to make it go away??
He answered this one even faster, explaining that since it is an autoimmune it DOESN'T go away. He would prescribe a hormone replacement for me that I would remain on for the rest of my life and have my dosages more than likely increase over time.
I just sat there in total disbelief and anger. I was so angry with my body for doing this. And I was so angry that the doctors literally had NO CLUE as to what causes this. I think I asked every single staff member in that office WHY people get hashimotos. The constant answer "it just happens"
I left that day with another prescription in hand that I once again shoved into my nightstand.
I went to my primary care doctor the next day with all of the same questions. WHY was this happening to me? HOW could I fix it? WHAT was the next step?
I got the same answer from every doctor and/or specialist I saw. They didn't know what caused it, it just happens, and now here's a pill.
I couldn't wrap my head around being on a medication for the rest of my life and just not having any answers. And the fact that no one had answers on where this autoimmune originated made me even more annoyed.
So since no one had answers, I was going to find my own. And I began to do my own research.
..... To be continued.