Monday, April 1, 2019

Thyroid Surgery: Ten Years Later


Today is my ten year anniversary of having my thyroid removed.

In January 2006, right before I turned 14, I caught a stomach flu that never went away. Over the course of the next three years, I would visit countless doctors, have multiple tests, and get my blood drawn more times that I can count. It wasn't until November 2008 that I would receive any answers. Throughout my specialist appoints with a new doctor, I learned what was going on. I had a rare thyroid disorder where my body would hold all of my thyroid hormone for six weeks and then dump it all. This means that I would yo-yo between being insanely under-active to being dangerously over-active. There was no way to control it, so the decision to remove my thyroid was made.

On April 1, 2009, I had a complete thyroidectomy.

When my thyroid came out, they found 13 cysts - 9 on one nodule and 4 on the other. Thankfully, the pathology report came back clean. The goal with this surgery was that I would go on thyroid supplements and within 5 weeks, feel completely healthy. Unfortunately, that just wasn't the case. Over the next few years, I tried different brands of medications and different dosages. During my first year of university, my doctor put me on a really strange prescription. Rather than take thyroid medication every day, I take the entire week's worth on Sunday.

It's the only thing that's worked.


I've gone through periods of time where I felt healthy 80% of the time. I was still nauseas everyday, but it was so minimal that I didn't care. It was amazing to feel regular again. I got involved in activities, started a full-time job, made new friends, and truly started enjoying my life.

I still struggle, though.

Last week, I had my annual blood work done and my thyroid numbers are off. Over the past couple months, I've been feeling quite crappy. Really nauseas, losing my train of thought easily, tight chest, and hair falling out. I knew my numbers would be off, but my TSH hasn't been this high in a while. Thankfully, I'm seeing my specialist in California in a couple of days. I know that I'm in for a few months of adjustments, as I metabolize medication in a strange way, but that's okay. When I first saw my numbers, I was really upset and nervous about the future; however...

I know I can get through it.

Having a chronic illness is a strange thing. I can feel sick at any moment, without warning, but it works out. I've learned over the past 13 years that I go through seasons with my health. I know my body intimately and can tell right away when something's off. I know when I need to slow down or when I need a medication change. Thankfully, I have the best support system that knows how my body can change in an instant, and I have a God that sustains my heart and carries me through the hardest of times. Overall, I know removing my thyroid was my only option and I'm glad that we took such a big step to help my overall quality of life.

Thyroid - cheers to ten years without you.

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