Guest Author - Jim Lowrance
You may see the title of this article and wonder what in the world could this one be about?! My intention in this article is to bring attention to the fact that thyroid disease symptoms can be very serious and no matter who they may affect, they can seriously alter a person’s life and have a negative impact upon their emotions and quality of life. This includes even the strongest of people out there who may experience the onset of a thyroid disease.
Over the years I have corresponded with fellow thyroid disease patients on forums and by e-mail, plus a few I’ve been in phone contact with or who I know in-person, who report that, friends or loved ones believe they are being complainers. In some cases this was devastating to the person because on top of severe symptom struggles and feeling as if they are barely surviving their disease, they have someone make such an inconsiderate and non-compassionate remark. I have read the testimonies of patients whose marriages crumbled due to the frustration of a spouse who thought their husband or wife was over-reacting to the symptoms of their disease or simply playing on their sympathy and trying to get attention.
If these people with this view that thyroid patients are over-reacting to their symptoms, could step into that person’s shoes for just one day, they would gain a completely different understanding. Using myself for an example, previous to thyroid disease, I was never one to give in when I was sick or allow symptoms to keep me from doing things, including going to work. I remember times working when I had severe flu symptoms, bronchitis and other times when I worked even when I thought I was suffering pneumonia. I made doctor visits probably less than once every five years and had to be very sick to see one and it usually required that my wife prompted me before I would make a doctor office visit.
I am a pretty big guy at 6 foot, 225 lbs and I have always been strong and love outdoors sports but the onset of thyroid disease hit me very hard and I basically buckled under the symptoms for a time. I remember after going through a very stressful period of time, falling into incredibly harsh symptoms that in my case cycled between hypothyroid and hyperthyroid symptoms at first. I would experience incredibly severe fatigue and exhaustion and would then phase into extreme panic attacks with profuse sweating and temporary rapid weight loss. I lost my ability to concentrate and completely lost my appetite for several weeks. The fear of the unknown of what was happening to me, sunk me into a severe state of anxiety and depression, at which time, I finally went to see a doctor. The doctor incorrectly diagnosed me with emotional problems only (this was only part of it) and I had to demand blood testing before the proper diagnosis was made. Even with treatment, I can occasionally fall into mild to moderate spells of symptoms and infrequently I can experience severe symptoms.
In my case I have a supportive and compassionate family who, have been supporting me from the beginning. I truly wish all thyroid patients had this same benefit but sadly, some do not.
I know other strong people who have been seriously affected by thyroid disease symptoms, including a man I am in communication with by phone whom also has hypothyroidism caused by Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, as I do. He was previously a race car driver and has told me often of the fact that he seldom experienced fear on the track or otherwise. This changed when he experienced the onset of thyroid disease and he has at times gone through serious struggles with the symptoms it has caused him. Famous athletes have experienced thyroid disease and have gone through severe struggles as well, until they were properly diagnosed and treated. This includes names like Carl Lewis, 10-time Olympic gold winner in track and field and Gail Devers, an Olympic sprinter who also won a gold medal in her sport.
If you are the spouse, loved one or friend of a thyroid disease patient, I appeal to you, to exercise patience, understanding and compassion toward the thyroid patients in your life. This can be greatly instrumental in helping them to benefit more from treatment and in coping with the disease that has greatly affected their lives.