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    Posted June 13, 2014 by
    Bristol, United Kingdom
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Living with a chronic illness

    Hashimoto's Survivor

    I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's Thyroiditis in January 2014 but it took my doctors 1 year to diagnose me and the previous doctors I was with ruled out thyroid disease by not chasing up an abnormal ultrasound report which noted my thyroid was mildly enlarged. As a result the front of my neck swelled up and I had no idea what it was causing it, and so I ended up taking over the counter cold and flu remedies in thinking it was an upper respiratory tract infection.
    Over time I was getting more tired, constipated, my periods were always heavy, my arms and legs felt weak and I developed vitiligo on my skin.
    When I was told in January 2014 I had Hashimoto's I couldn't understand how it happened when there is no family history of thyroid disease. When my consultant asked me if there was any autoimmune illness in the family I mentioned Diabetes and she said that may have been why I developed Hashimoto's as both diseases are formed from the same protein receptor, CTLA-4. So I was essentially hypothyroid at 28 years old. I wasn't expected to get Hashimoto's if there was any risk at all until I was at least 40 years old.
    So I am now on Levothyroxine for the rest of my life.
    As time went on some vitamin and mineral deficiencies appeared because the illness stops my body from absorbing them efficiently. I am now on magnesium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, folate and iron.
    My illness is pretty much an invisible one. I have the hypothyroid symptoms inside and the hyper ones outside. On the outside I am slim and petite but inside I am constipated, tired and achy. I sometimes think to myself "why does this illness make me look so perfect when inside I feel terrible?"
    During the time of misdiagnosis I had a job but I felt I had to leave it because I knew that if it came down to the fact that I could have such a debilitating illness because of how ill I felt then the best thing I felt was to recover and sort myself out which I knew was not possible within my company. Sure, I had some regrets about leaving my job because I liked working there and I had been there for a number of years but I think I had spent too much of my time whilst there putting others before myself and in time that had to end. In time I will feel well enough to get back into it. I may even apply to go back there. Maybe, maybe not.
    For now, things are a bit easier for me with the supplementation and going gluten and dairy free as I have been told by a nutritionist I am gluten and dairy intolerant. I am now also looking to raise money for my national thyroid charity to fund better care, diagnosis, treatment and management for thyroid patients like myself.
    Us thyroid patients I feel are getting a raw deal and are not well medicated. We are treated based on TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels and not the thyroid hormone levels or symptoms themselves. I doubt I am even on the right medication, leading me to think I would benefit from T3 therapy. This is something our healthcare system does not freely prescribe and I feel it is the missing link in my recovery. I still have a long way to go yet.

    Hashimoto's, hypothyroidism, thyroid, thyroiditis
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