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Great Balls of Fire! A Southern Belle in Thyroid Hell

This is a letter I wrote to my thyroid a couple of years ago.  I am happy to report that we are on much better terms these days, having finally found a doctor who isn’t a stupid-head and a medication I can live with.  This is a cautionary tale, because there is a ton of bad information floating around out there about thyroid conditions.  Even so-called reputable magazines and celebrities are getting it all wrong and doing a grave injustice to people who are dealing with cranky thyroids and might not even know.  (Men, I'm talking to you too!)  Don’t let this happen to you.
 
A long time ago in a land far, far away, I made a hard landing on a rocky patch of ground after being unceremoniously tossed off a horse.  A couple of cowboys loaded me into the back of a station wagon and carted me to the ER, where a doctor felt my neck and said, “How long have you had this goiter?” 
 
All thoughts of my injured derriere immediately fled and I yelped, “Goiter?!  Isn’t that some kind of grossness that old ladies get?  What is it and what is it doing in my throat?” 
 
He mumbled something about my thyroid and cancer, which sent me into 28-day freak-out until one am-I-gonna-glow-in-the-dark? thyroid scan later, I was told it was fine, nothing to worry about, go live your life.  I was immensely relieved and limped off into the sunset, never giving it another thought.
 
NO ONE, I repeat, NO ONE ever said Word One about autoimmune hypothyroidism, not that I would have known what that was, but I would have gone to the library and looked it up.  Mind you, this was long before the days when you could simply turn on your computer, do a search, and instantly get 4,382,963 references.  Which, I have to say, is not always an entirely good thing.  (WebMD, I’m looking at you and that hair-raising symptom checker thingy.) 
 
So, Dear Thyroid, I suppose you tried to warn me, but I didn’t get that memo.  No one ever told me that, ignored and left to your own devices, you would just get crankier and crabbier until you had a full-fledged drama llama meltdown and quit on me altogether.  I had zero clue that 20 years later you would turn my life completely upside down. 
 
Seriously, Dear Thyroid, did you ever hear the saying “cutting off your nose to spite your face?”  Attention-getting though it may be, wreaking havoc and making my immune system so mad it finally turned on you probably wasn’t the smartest thing you ever did, now was it?  Or is this whole routine you have of sulking, pouting and refusing to do anything, followed by Tasmanian devil episodes which make me spin in circles some kind of payback for ignoring you? 

One day I’m honey-wouldn’t-melt-in-my-mouth Melanie Wilkes, and the next I’m sashaying around smacking people with a parasol like a bad rendition of Scarlett O’Hara.  Well, at least they were both Southern Belles.  {BIG sigh with back of hand to forehead.  Someone fetch me a mint julep!}

 



And, Dear Thyroid, I suppose you thought all those times I went to all those doctors and was told I was just stressed and depressed and offered a Skittles’ rainbow of pills were pretty funny.  Oh, yeah, being told by the therapist I was sent to that I might be bipolar was freakin’ hilarious!  To say nothing of that one conniption fit you pitched which involved a trip to the Emergency Room, an EKG, an echocardiogram, wearing a Holter monitor for two days, an ultrasound, and getting every blood test known to man until they finally decided you were the problem, and then being jabbed with needles every three weeks for six long months until you finally calmed down. 
 
For your own good, I feel I should tell you that kind of comedy won’t get you a special on Comedy Central.  Do NOT give up your day job.  Oh, wait.  Your pretty much already did!  Oh, what, you can’t take a little snarkiness?  
 
You know, what you really need is a permanent time-out.  Of course, our wonderful new endo tells me you are way beyond that point because, even if we take you out, you have my immune system so annoyed it will probably just pick a fight with something else in my body.  Great.  My options are either living with the evil I know or braving the evil I don’t know.  So, I guess we are stuck with each other, like it or not.  I don’t know about you, but I could use a vacation.  Oh, wait, you spend half your time on vacation.  Woops, I did it again.  Okay, okay, I’ll try to play nice.  Good grief, you are so sensitive. 
 
Dear Thyroid, you craved my attention, but you know full well you have had my undivided attention for years already.  Even Miss Scarlett knew she couldn’t demand attention 24/7, 365 days a year.  Plus, I am doing the whole anti-inflammatory, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free, can I eat anything except twigs, nuts and berries? diet, which is supposed to make you/us feel better.  And that diet is no piece of cake.  Get it?  See, I can be funny, when you let me.  I’m thinking together we could make a great team.  So, how’s about we call a truce?  I’ll stifle the snarkiness, if you’ll ditch the drama.   
 
Unable to comprehend your actions but still really trying to love ya,
Brenda
 
For a general overview of thyroid dysfunctions and basic tests, you can also check out my other blog post on this subject at:  http://brenda-runningwithscissors.blogspot.com/2010/01/whats-up-with-your-thyroid.html
 
Please, my sweetnesses, get tested! 
 
Another excellent place to go for, in my personal opinion, the best thyroid information on the internets:  http://thyroid.about.com/ 
 
Brenda lives in a small rural community in the High Desert where she gardens, writes, takes naps every time she gets still, and is still trying to figure out how the toaster got in the refrigerator.  She used to live in the Big City and go to a real job where she was a highly productive, high energy, go-to person who could multi-task with the best of 'em.  {BIG sigh/yawn}
 



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Reader Comments  (7)

Donna's Stuff & More
Donna's Stuff & More | August 1st 2012 at 1343840584

And you have a gift for writing! That was fabulous! Glad you have your thyroid under control!
Royal Presence
Royal Presence | August 1st 2012 at 1343869221

Sigh! Multi-tasking is overrated. Glad you are napping, gardening and writing!
Desert Belle
Desert Belle | August 2nd 2012 at 1343915357

Thanks, Kids! I have learned that my thyroid has a mind of its own, but we seem to be peacefully co-existing for the time being. *fingers crossed* But at least I no longer feel guilty about taking a nap. ;)
Indizona Variety
Indizona Variety | August 4th 2012 at 1344105660

There is nothing wrong with a nap!! You are such a gifted writer! I hope you and your thyroid are getting along better these days.
Addoway.com/catsmom/storefront/
Addoway.com/catsmom/storefront/ | August 19th 2012 at 1345380344

This blog is one of the most interesting I have ever read. I love that you fire a doctor!!!!!!! I just did that and felt really guilty about it. But, dang, it's my body and my money, so he should be a little grateful for my business. He wasn't, so I fired him.

Love your writing! Very talented.
bvaughnfamily
bvaughnfamily | August 19th 2012 at 1345386313

That's the best description of a cranky thyroid I've ever read :) - I think anyone w/thyroid issues should encourage their family to start their research with this post.

Wishing you calm & cool naps and your thyroid all the kelp it could possibly ever want ;)

Blessings to you & yours,
tonia vaughn
Desert Belle
Desert Belle | August 19th 2012 at 1345402373

Thank you, Ladies. I simply do not understand why doctors don't routinely do the blood tests to check for thyroid dysfunction. It commands a lot more respect than most of them give it. I know several people who have been diagnosed in the last year or so, and a couple of them had some very serious medical events. Just hoping to spread the word and awareness. And, yes, I have fired several stupid-head doctors. It's positively invigorating, especially when you do find The One who treats you, the living, breathing person right in front of them, and not a lab value.

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