First of all, sorry for the lack of pictures! im quite a visual person and I always try to put pics in when I can. But there's a problem with my camera charger! Grr! It won't properly plug into the sockets I have in my halls of accommodation, so I'll have to wait till Friday when I go back home and charge it. Then, I can take lots of beautiful pics and update this post! until then, I am very sorry! I'll God willing be blogging away but there won't be any pics! Anyways, here is the part you have all been waiting for: the diagnosis! :)
I went to the GP and told her how I was finding it difficult to lose weight. She examined my stomach and weighed me. She referred me to a dietician. She wanted to conduct a blood test for thyroid gland function. When she said it I was like what the hell is a thyroid gland? But she gave me the envelope for blood tests and told me I should quickly go to the hospital to have a blood test.
The next day, I went to the hospital to have my blood test. This was the first time I had ever had a blood test. I was a little nervous because everyone kept saying the needle is huuuge, but my Mum reassured me it would be alright. I liked needles anyway. The bloodtest was annoying because they couldn't get any blood out of my vein on my left arm. Then they tried my right arm. Still nothing!! The nurse remarked "well you're just holding onto what's rightfully yours!!"
I was just annoyed and wanted to get it over with. It felt like they were sticking needles into me left right and centre like I was some guinea pig! Eventually, they stuck a needle into my HAND and managed to get some blood out! I was so relieved when it was over!!! I didn't think anything of it though. I still had no clue what the hell a thyroid was. But I never thought in a million years something would come up from this blood test.
Around two days later, the clinic rang me up saying I had an appointment as the GP needed to see me about my blood results. Btw, during this time it was the easter hols I think. I was so in shock I guess I had no time to fully comprehend what was going on. So I went to the GP again. She explained to me that the reason I was finding it difficult to lose weight was because I had an underactive thyroid gland. She explained to the hormones the thyroid produces and how it interacts with the pituitary gland.
At diagnosis, my results were: T4 (free T4- thyroxine hormone that the thyroid gland produces) - 2 and TSH- over 100 (it went off the scale and they couldn't read it!!!). TSH= Thyroid stimulation hormone, mine was over the scale because my pituitary gland was nagging my thyroid to produce thyroxine- but my thyroid wasn't having any of it!
My results suggested that I'd had this condition for a number of years now, at least five. I just didn't know about it. the GP explained to me that I had the autoimmune type of hypothyroidism- which meant that my antibodies had thought that my thyroid gland was foreign- that it was attacking me and was a pathogen, so they decided to engulf it. That's why my thyroid does not function. I asked her why they recognised it as being foreign but she didn't really give me a proper answer. She probably thought I wouldn't understand.
She explained to me that there was no cure, and that I would have to take one tablet every morning for the rest of my life. It was a chronic condition. This part was really hard-hitting for me. I had to get my head round the fact that this was for life. And there was nothing I could do about it. She gave me the prescription and started me off on 50mcg of Levothyroxine.
She said that I would feel better straight away and that I would lose weight very quickly and have a new wardrobe by the Summer. I was astounded and so happy at that thought.
The idea of this magic little pill making me lose weight was so great to me that it dominated my thoughts and caused my mind to hide away the fact that I would have this for life.
I took my prescription to Boots and got my tablets. At that point, I could swallow tablets with food but I was going to have to learn to swallow them with water. I had a look at them, and they were absolutely TINY!!!
I went home and told my family and explained to them in the best way I could. I googled hypothryodism cos I wanted to know more about it. I remember sitting there on the Bupa website reading the list of symptoms, and going yeahh I have that one, I have that one, I have this one.. etc. I went onto loads of different sites. I was really shocked that I had had this for so long without knowing about it.
I remember putting this as my facebook status the day I was diagnosed:
"has finally found the answer to all her questions in life!!!"
Well, something along those lines! But that's how I felt. All my life, I had grown up knowing I was different but not why. I sort of built up these barriers and embraced my uniqueness without questioning it. I felt like my life had finally made sense. I was so grateful for the diagnosis! I read some stories where people had been misdiagnosed for ME or chronic fatigue syndrome and had to fight for years to get a correct thyroid disorder diagnosis. I felt lucky that I'd got mine straight away.
And so it was, Friday 28th March 2008. The day I was diagnosed.