Featured Reader’s Story by Courtney M.
For over two years I suffered through debilitating fatigue, unnecessary weight gain and severe depression. I would sleep any chance I got, barely ate and even when I was awake I felt like I wasn’t all there. Even through my 3 hour D3 College Varsity Workouts and my low calorie intake, I gained 20 pounds.
I thought I was crazy.
No one believed me. They thought I was exaggerating or making it up. After a while, I just stopped telling people. I listened to joke after joke about how I was lazy or eating too much. I started giving up on hanging out with friends, being sociable and I even quit my dream: Playing field hockey at the college level.
I had nothing left.
By the summer that I was 20 years old(2010) I had been suffering for over two years with no answers. And it was in the most unexpected time that I found answers. I went in for my yearly asthma check up and my doctor did the traditional “do you feel safe at home” check list. When she got to depression, I broke down. I explained my past two years and how no one was listening any more. She looked right at me and said, I’m listening and we are going to figure out what is wrong.
It was one simple test.
That’s all it took. It was a guess, a whim, that the doctor did. She just happened to test my TSH levels in the mix of tests she ordered. And when the test came back, she immediately sent me to an endocrinologist, who did more tests. By August I had my diagnosis, Hashimoto’s.
I am not sure if I was devastated or relieved.
I was so glad to have answers. I was proving to all of those who thought I was making things up that I wasn’t crazy. I felt validated. I knew what it was, and while it wasn’t curable, I could treat it. I could live with it. I could get better.
While the past year and three months since the diagnosis haven’t been easy, I am grateful that I know what I am fighting. There have been tests every 6 weeks and a whole lot of medicines and changes in doses. While it’s not ideal, I am grateful its not worse.
What I have learned is a diagnosis does not bring answers or solutions. It brings awareness and a new accountability for your health. I have new mountains to conquer and different battles to fight. It seems that with each appointment, I learn something new that can help. While there are days that I feel alone, I know that I am not. While 21 is young to have this disease, I know there are plenty of others out there fighting the same battle. I am grateful that I am only fighting this battle. It could be so much worse. And while I shine positivity everyday, I consider myself lucky because it could have easily been so much worse.
“Only the strongest people are given the toughest battles.”