Hypothyroidism does not go away just because you go on a holiday

There are so many people who do not understand what hypothyroidism is – even people close to me, with whom I have talked about my disease again and again.

 

I have spoken a lot about hypothyroidism to everyone in my family and in my circle of friends – especially after I was finally adequately treated. Before that, I didn’t have the energy to talk about anything.

Well, my whole family, friends and acquaintances have all heard me talk about hypothyroidism in the last few years. And they all think it’s so exciting that I have actually written a book about it.

Indeed, they should all know by now that it is not your own fault that you get hypothyroidism – but hypothyroidism is a condition that is due to low levels of thyroid hormones – and so I thought …

 

My family member tilted the head …

Just before the holidays, I got a visit from a beloved family member. We talked about how busy I had been with writing a new book. And I mentioned how many people – people I did not know to begin with – have contacted me because they are frustrated about their doctor for not taking their condition seriously. And we also talked about my dog having puppies and all the extra work associated with that.

Yes, I had been busy for some time – and yes, it would be great to take a holiday and it couldn’t come any sooner. We kept talking while I made tea in the kitchen and we were having a good time. We continued talking, the sun was shining outside – it was summer and life was great.  In the middle of our conversation, I reached for my pill case, which was always on the cooker hood. I was receiving then a combination therapy with T4 and T3 – and with the T3 I had to take it three times a day.  I swallowed the pill with a glass of water.

I’m so used to it – no big deal.

But now the conversation changed.

This dear family member tilted the head, then put a hand on my arm, and said comfortingly: “I’m so sorry you have to take all these pills. But you will soon be on vacation. Then you can relax and won’t need all those pills anymore.”

 

What!?

What !!? Here was I thinking that everyone in my family had some knowledge about hypothyroidism after all my long speeches about the disease. I had thought that by now they would know that I need to take pills with thyroid hormone for the rest of my life because my thyroid is not working and:

  • that hypothyroidism not due to a bad lifestyle, and
  • that it is not my own fault that I have hypothyroidism, and
  • that hypothyroidism is not due to stress or inability to cope with everyday life, and
  • that hypothyroidism does not go away just because you go on a vacation!

I was appalled. Is this how I am perceived? That I am sick because I can’t stand the heat?

 

I explained – again …

Then I explained to this dear family member – as I had done several time already – that I have hypothyroidism because my thyroid is destroyed.

Yes, degenerated and destroyed by inflammation. My thyroid is not functioning because I have an autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Then I saw the person’s eyes begin to wander – it was obvious that I had lost the person’s attention.

 

A good example …

I guess this is a good example. Most people behave like this when they are presented with technical information about hypothyroidism – and yes, it might be hard to understand, and yes it might not be very interesting, unless of course you are affected by the disease yourself.

However, unfortunately, people without a medical background aren’t the only ones with a lack of interest in and knowledge on hypothyroidism.

For years my doctor didn’t test me for thyroid issues despite the fact that I had fatigue, weight-gain and many other common symptoms of hypothyroidism. No, he just told me to do more exercise and eat less. And I know that so many people have experienced exactly the same.

When I was finally diagnosed and started to receive treatment, it was my endocrinologists that did not understand. They told me that I was fine because my lab tests looked normal – and yet I still had all the symptoms. And I know that a lot of people are in the exact same situation.

Now I am getting ready for my holidays – I will take my pills every day – three times a day – I will enjoy the sun and relax, so that I can come back recharged and continue the fight for better knowledge and focus on hypothyroidism.

I whish you all a great summer.

 

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