It's a Twinderful Life

Looking For the Silver Lining in All of Life's Clouds

Hashimoto-ers Unite! Part 1 of 4: My History

on May 15, 2012

The Plague. The This-Is-Such-A-Cruel-Joke Disease. Chronic Thyroiditis. Whatever you may refer to it as, Hashimoto’s Disease isn’t something to mess with. Let me save you some time by telling you that if you have no interest in learning more about this disease, how to get properly diagnosed, or how to live a long, healthy, and happy life with it as your ever-constant companion, then you can stop reading now and go make yourself some nachos. If you ARE interested in learning more, or if you or someone you know is dealing with this condition, WELCOME! And YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

I’m going to be delving into this subject throughout a four-part series: Part 1 – My History, Part 2 – Proper Diagnosis, Part 3 – Treatment & Hope, and Part 4 – How To Enjoy Life Post-Diagnosis. I hope that by sharing my story I can help those of you out there who are dealing with this disease to know that it does not have to define you and that you can still have an amazing and joyful life (because that’s one of the things that we’re all about here at Twinderful Life). Another interesting fact that I should let you know about is that even though Bre and I are identical, she does not have this disease, which could make for a very interesting nature vs. nurture discussion. But enough about that, let’s begin.

It was January 2006. Steve and I were blissfully enjoying our first year of married life and I felt so blessed. We were both working full-time and he was taking classes part-time. The future seemed so full of promise with endless possibilities. We lived in a cute little historic one-bedroom apartment in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah where the windows faced west and invited the most beautiful sunlight in the early evening. Life was good. The only thing that was throwing a wrench in was the fact that I was coming down with what seemed like a never-ending case of sinusitis and strep throat. After four infections within 6 months and many rounds of antibiotics we decided that it was time for me to see an Ear, Nose, and Throat specialist to find out what was going on.

My first appointment with Dr. John Bennett was very telling. After a visual check of my tonsils and a cat scan of my sinuses he determined two things. The first was that my tonsils were harboring and keeping the strep bacteria in my throat instead of killing it off as they were supposed to. The second was that one of my sinuses was formed backwards (whatever that means) and was causing a post nasal drip that wasn’t helping the problem. The solution? It was time for the tonsils and adenoids to come out. We would wait and see how this worked and, if I was still having problems, we would surgically fix my backwards sinus. I was ready to be done with the nasty recurring infections and we set a date for surgery.

After the surgery I survived 2 weeks of hell and 4 weeks of not-as-bad-as-hell-but-still-pretty-terrible pain until the gaping holes in the back of my throat started to heal and I began to feel some semblance of normal. At my 6 week post-op appointment Dr. Bennett decided to run some routine blood tests just to make sure that there was no infection present and that all things were a go. I was feeling so much better and was grateful to be done with the whole experience when Dr. Bennett called me a week later (after hours from his own cell phone, mind you – he rocked!) to give me the results. I was infection-free and everything looked great, except for a slight abnormality on my thyroid labs. He asked if I’d ever been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder and I promptly responded that I hadn’t but that my mother had dealt with thyroid issues all of her life. He then told me that, according to my labs, I had an under-active thyroid, or hypothyroidism. He also said that my thyroid antibodies were slightly higher than normal and that I might have a rarer thyroid disorder known as Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. He told me that it was very treatable if I did have it and that I should make an appointment with an endocrinologist to have a more thorough examination. Little did I know that I was about to embark upon a journey that, in many ways, would change my life.

To be continued in Part 2: Proper Diagnosis…

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