November 28, 2016
Knowledge Is Power
When asked for my medical history I often joke that I donated my thyroid to medical science. I make the comment in jest, but it's not really funny. What I'm saying with that sentence is that I allowed my thyroid to be removed because the doctor said that is what I should do, and so I did.
Back in the early 1990s, when I was in my early 30s, I noticed I had a number of lumps in my neck and those lumps were painful. Today, in that same scenario, I would start by doing some internet research to find out what the issue might be and then find a natural practitioner to help me deal with the issue. Back in the day, however, I had no idea that my health was mine to manage.
So off to the doctor I go - isn't that what everyone does? And he says, yes, you have a goiter and we need to look further to be sure it's not something serious. Like, you know, cancer. Next step, go for a thyroid scan to see how much of my thyroid was actually still active. They couldn't really tell by the pictures - some hot spots, some cold spots. Essentially they said they didn't need to take it out - they didn't think it was cancer - but if those lumps changed at all, they would have to remove it then. Doc recommends removing it and he tells me that removing it would mean that I would be on synthroid for the rest of my life - but not a big deal.
I Want Easy
So, really, it seemed like a no-brainer to me. I like things simple - and I didn't want to have to monitor my thyroid and worry about whether or not it was getting worse - so I took the easy way out. Or so I thought.
Off to the surgeon I go for some kind of consultation and then the surgery is scheduled. When I think about the process now, I wonder who was that person letting all those other people make such important life decisions for me? I didn't object - nor did I even really question what they were telling me. How naive and trusting I was.
Before I know it, the surgery is done and I'm now living my new reality, taking my prescribed synthroid dose daily. No cancer in that thryoid - just lumps. And I feel wiped. All the time. I can fall asleep any time of the day or night, regardless of how much sleep I had the night before. And when I complain to the doc, I get the standard "you have 2 young children and you work full-time, you should be tired" line.
And so began my quest. For answers. For better quality of life. My mom used to joke that I take my supplements so I can live forever. Nope, my aim is not to live forever. But as long as I'm breathing, I want to feel alive. At that point in my life, I felt anything but alive. And I refused to settle for that version of living.
I started by subscribing to a natural health magazine (no internet yet) and, in one of those magazines, I read up on dessicated thyroid. Finding the information was the easy part. Finding a medical doctor that was willing to prescribe it for me proved to be quite a different challenge.
I found a naturopath to work with, and that was a start. She recommended a local doctor who would prescribe dessicated thyroid to replace my synthroid. That switch to thyroid made a world of difference in how I felt. I worked with this doctor for a number of years and during that time we cleaned up my diet and also added supplements.
Since that time, I have spent thousands of hours and tens of thousands of dollars doing my own research. And I feel better for it, both physically and mentally. I have learned a lot about what works for me, both in terms of diet and supplements. I'm still working on completely healing my body by determining what caused my thyroid issue in the first place. That is still a work in progress.
The biggest lesson learned, however, was that blindly listening to someone else relieves me of my responsibility but it also takes away my power.
And I'll not be doing that again. Ever!
B - The Healthy Guerrilla