In my early 30’s I started gaining weight. A lot of weight. Fast. Over 20 pounds in one month.
Yeah, like I said: Fast!
I wasn’t a couch potato, I didn’t eat bonbons all day long and I didn’t shun the gym. In fact I ate healthy, worked out daily and did everything you’re “supposed to do”. Doctors failed me, didn’t believe me. I now realize some were just not educated enough to do the tests needed. Others were lazy wanting to pigeon-hole me into their “idea” of what was wrong.
About 9 months after the birth of my second child I started to lose weight. Fast. 20 pounds one month, 15 the next. I wasn’t exercising; I wasn’t moving more than I had to in order to keep up with a toddler and crawler. I was eating those bonbons and everything unhealthy you can imagine. It was my obgyn who took one look at me and said: let’s test for thyroid antibodies. By this point I was gaining again. Lethargic, foggy thinking, alternating between sweating too much and being too cold, and a host of other symptoms I won’t bore you with. The test came back positive for thyroid antibodies.
I had an autoimmune disease, but which one?
It took 2 more years to sort that out. Many more doctors, many more specialist, I finally stumbled upon an endocrinologist who took the time to talk to me. That’s right: TALK! But more importantly LISTEN to what I had to say. He did more tests and confirmed Graves disease. He tested me for insulin resistance (first doctor to do so since I was diagnosed with Poly Cystic Ovaries in my early 20’s) gave me options for treatment and let me decide which would work. There was no pressure. He believed me when I’d call and say “something’s not right”, send me right off for a blood test. Adjusted my medication when needed, and it was needed often. Had me do an MRI of my brain when new symptoms popped up that screamed “pituitary tumor!” Walked me through that nightmare by recommending great doctors who had experience with pit tumors. Saw me through 2 more pregnancies, 2 remissions of the Graves and is now helping me manage my burned out thyroid in a way that works for me.
In May, 2009 I finally had the pit tumor removed. 10 weeks of not lifting anything over 10lbs was part of my recovery. More importantly the headaches were gone, the constant fear that it would burst was gone. Relief!
We are now done with having babies, the tumor is out and the thyroid thing is being managed. It’s now time for me. To lose the excess weight I’ve accumulated, to change my family’s lifestyle for the better, to be better at communicating with those around me, to finish the unfinished—to find myself, to define myself as not only a mother, a wife, a sufferer of autoimmune, but as the person my younger self imagined I would one day be.
Don’t know if I can reclaim any of those fantasies, but I’m sure going to try!