From the testimonies I shared in a previous post, I mentioned I had a previous surgery. Here is what really happened. In early 2014 I was feeling really tired at work, and thought I needed a break, so I took a week off. I spent the week in bed exhausted from doing absolutely nothing. I could not move out of my bed, that was when I knew something was wrong. I needed to get checked. In order to walk down the stairs, I had to hold the hand rails or get my housemates to bring food for me because I just could not move. I went for a blood test and that’s how I found out I had hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid). I had never heard of it till then and I was so confused as to how or why I had this. I thought to myself, I have felt fine all my life until that point. My GP explained what it was and what I would need to do. The thyroid gland is a small butterfly shaped gland in the neck which secretes hormones that helps to regulate metabolism, heart rate and body temperature. When it becomes overactive, it can cause swelling in the neck from an enlarged goitre, persistent tiredness and weakness, difficulty sleeping, nervousness and anxiety.
I was in my final year of university and writing my dissertation, so I needed to be fully alert. Honestly it was by the grace of God I finished my final year because I did not have the strength in me to do so. Another thing was my hair started to fall out. There was a time I took my hair out and ended up with a huge hole in the middle of my head, it made me cut my hair. From anyone that knew me back then they will tell you how much I loved my hair, this was actually what started my natural hair journey. I preferred my hair relaxed, but I was scared of all of it falling out so I went natural, and now my hair is on a low cut and I love it.
I was on medication from that point onwards until all of a sudden I started to react to the medicines they gave me at the end of 2014. They had to change my medication because I kept throwing up whenever I took it. It was also difficult working, because I would come home and just sleep all evening till the next day. Fatigue is one of the symptoms and that was difficult because I had no energy to do anything. Fast forward to mid 2015, after almost a year on medication and no significant changes, my doctor suggested surgery. By this point I had gained so much weight that I had previously lost before uni. My neck was swollen, I had a goitre, part of the signs of hyperthyroidism. I was not comfortable in my own body.
Surgery happened in October 2015, I can still remember when I woke up from the surgery the first person I wanted was my mum. You would think after the surgery that it was fixed, but that was just the beginning. I was put on another set of medication which I was told I would need to take for the rest of my life. Reason being that they had taken my thyroid gland out and the functions of the gland were to be replaced with these new medicine. The removal of my thyroid gland meant I now had low thyroid levels – hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid). I would need to take a blood test monthly for them to determine the dose of the medication I should be on. I started to gain a lot more weight faster. Oh yes people noticed the weight gain and mentioned it. I would laugh it off with a reason that I am living well as.I couldn’t be bothered to give an explanation and frankly, I did not feel that I owed an explanation to anyone .
Since my diagnosis, I have battled with my weight. I made myself feel better about it by telling myself I was not meant to be skinny in this life. I had given up on trying. However, last year, I was determined to lose some weight, I signed up to the gym, got a personal trainer and changed my diet. I have worked out more times this past year than my whole life combined and that is saying something, but my weight refused to bulge. I got frustrated and I wanted to know exactly what I was doing wrong since I was exercising and eating healthy. I did some research and that is when I found out that it is far more difficult to lose weight with thyroid issues. You should have seen the look on my face. I almost gave up hope. But then I thought to myself, you know what, you can do this. It will take longer than I predicted and that is fine. I am on my own journey.
The reason for writing this is that thyroid issues are rarely discussed. It might be that not a lot of people have it or perhaps they are silent about it. I imagine it can affect people in different ways.
I stumbled upon a YouTuber talking about her issues with hypothyroidism and that made me not feel alone. She, like myself, was also exercising and eating healthy but somehow managed to put on weight. A friend of mine with hyperthyroidism also experiences the same issues as I do. I really want to start a conversation about thyroid issues, but I feel this blog post is a start.
According to a pharmacist I know, Levothyroxine (for hypothyroidism) is one the most popular prescribed medications in the UK. I also just found out May 25th is World Thyroid Day. This is my own journey so far but yours or someone you might know may have a different story. Be careful what you say about people who have lost or gained weight drastically as you may not know the truth behind what is happening to their body. Words can hurt. It did hurt me but I was able to get over it, others might not. Loving ones’ body is not as easy as it sounds for others. Be Kind.
P.S I had a conversation about this with two doctors, you can watch here
Love and Light xx