Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Today is Orson's birthday.

The date was July 15th, 2010. I opened my eyes and saw my mom standing over me.Perhaps she read my mind, or maybe she has had so many surgeries she knows that when people wake up from general anaesthesia they usually wonder what day or time it is. "Good afternoon," she said, "Today is Thursday." I wasn't sure if my voice worked yet, but I tried to speak anyway. My first words came in a whisper:  "Today is Orson's birthday."

The thyroid disease I have is technically not a thyroid disorder at all. It is Hashimoto's Thyroiditis which is actually an autoimmune disease (your body attacks itself). When someone has Hashimoto's their immune system attacks their thyroid gland and thyroid tissue is destroyed. Hashimoto's Thyroiditis usually results in hypothyroidism (or low thyroid function) with bouts of hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). It's often described as the most misdiagnosed thyroid condition, and it was probably this misdiagnosis which cost me half my thyroid ... but that's another story altogether.

When my doctor told me that I would have to have thyroid surgery, of course I was concerned. Concerned about what they would find when they went in. Concerned about my voice - would my voice change? Would I lose my singing voice? Concerned about the transformation my entire body would have to go through while adjusting to losing half my thyroid.

I had a nodule that was growing on my thyroid which was not cancerous, but it was becoming increasingly obstructive to my breathing and swallowing, and given the aggressiveness of my autoimmune disease, the nodule's non-response to hormone therapy and other treatment and the extensive damage already done to that side of my thyroid my doctors recommended that I remove that half of my thyroid.

Not all thyroid dysfunction has to end in surgery and so if you do have thyroid problems you shouldn't have to feel like that is your likely end or only option. Be sure to read up as much as possible ON YOUR OWN about disorders of the thyroid, including alternative treatments and everyday things you can do / lifestyle changes you can make to alleviate your symptoms and improve your thyroid function, so that you and your doctor can make informed decisions together about your treatment.

Most importantly, be proactive about your thyroid health (and this should apply to every aspect of health) familiarize yourself with a list of symptoms of thyroid dysfunction and make it a habit to periodically check your neck for a swollen thyroid or thyroid nodule.

How to check your neck:

[July is thyroid disease awareness month at Just Bee You! Beauty products. Be sure to come back for more posts on this issue and visit our Facebook Page for even more info on the thyroid and thyroid dysfunction.]

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