I am a hypothyroid mummy. I am a hypothyroid wife, but most importantly I am a hypothyroid warrior.
There are days when I am worried my hair has fallen out so much lately that I’ll have bald patches and people might start to notice. Days when I am so exhausted that I can barely focus, let alone run my life and my home. When my husbands away working, it can feel like a monumental task to just get the boys to school and nursery before I can shut my eyes again and sleep. By 9:30am, the school run is done, I fall back into bed and sleep like the dead until gone lunchtime. Those days my depression at being totally useless and a failure become deafening and I hide form the world and even myself. I can sleep all day and not achieve a single thing. Then my anxiety decides to punish me even more. It’s a scary cycle of my body failing me and me punishing my self for my broken butterfly. These are the days that I lie to everyone who asks what I’ve been up to that day. I say I’ve been doing a few jobs. The usual, washing and hovering, are the go to little white lies so I never have to admit I’ve been in bed for most of the day. Why am I ashamed of this? This is just me. I have hypothyroidism, and it’s hard.
There are days too though when I am not completely debilitated by these cracked wings. Days when I fly. I go to the gym. I get the house looking spick and span and do 4 loads of laundry. The cupboards are full of delicious food and all the bills are paid. Luckily, right now, I’m a stay at home mummy so I don’t have to fight to stay awake and drag myself through a full day at work. These days of total and utter success are not easy for me. I wake up tired. Scrap that, I wake up completely exhausted and the day has barely begun. Now I know people are saying I know what being exhausted feels like, and I did too before I was 20 years old. At age 20 thing started to change for me. I started to gain weight, my hair started to seem like it was falling out a lot more than the usual after washing and drying. But now here’s the biggie. I started to need to take a nap. Not any old nap, but a nap that last for at least 2 hours after a full nights sleep. That’s when I really began to understand the word exhaustion.
It’s napping that consists of sleeping like I’m in a coma. A nap that can’t wait. It’s a necessity. My brain fogging, concentration lacking and focus blurring. There was and still is at times, no option but to go to sleep as my body was shutting down, no matter where I was or whatever I was doing. I thought I could handle it until shit got dangerous.
At the time I was living a nightmare. My dad was fighting cancer like Rocky and I was doing a lot of driving. Bombing along from Chichester to Cardiff every Thursday night and back on a Sunday. This is where it all got a bit tricky and I realised very quickly that I needed some help. The need to sleep was so intense and came over me so fast at this time that I was nearly falling asleep on the M4. There were times when I managed to drive the last few miles along the road to get to the nearest service station. Where I’d pull into a space and immediately fall asleep in the front seat for my death sleep, but there was a time when that wasn’t possible. I had no choice but to pull over onto the hard shoulder before I couldn’t control my car anymore. That was so scary. I climbed out of the car knowing I was in danger where I was and I walked into the bushes. Took some deep breaths of the cold October air and got back in the car to push on to the services. That didn’t last long and in a few miles I had to pull over again. It was nothing short of horrific. I limped to the station and recharged my body on the only medicine I had, sleep.
I made it to Cardiff in one piece and immediately called my doctor. He asked me to come in to see him on Monday morning for some blood tests. I knew about thyroid problems as its hereditary and both my mum and nan have been on thyroid medications for years. The doc straight away said that, yes, indeed, I needed a thyroid test. I’m grateful he listened to me and basically did what I requested. I kind of knew already that I had a thyroid problem from the symptoms but I felt like a failure. There’s my dad fighting for his life and I can’t even stay awake and control a tiny little gland in my body.
Results were back in three days and yes, I needed to supplement what by body should naturally produce but was struggling with. I happily popped the little white pills everyday, and will do forever, in the hope that I could be the person I used to be. It took a few weeks but I started to feel a bit better. Progression was happening. I still needed to sleep but it wasn’t such an emergency. After a few months and a shed load of blood tests and my dose being constantly raised I, was starting to feel human again. It was at this point I felt an enormous amount of gratitude for the NHS. They had given me my life back and it seemed such a simple little fix. I could spend time with my dad again and be there through his treatment.
It’s been 14 years now since all this began and I haven’t missed a day of these pills. I know I can’t. I have fought this disease for 14 years and I don’t plan on stopping now. I can force my body to do all the things it needs to do in a day but I can’t function like I used to when my body was in total balance with itself. I fight every day. I try to make sure my children don’t see too much of me being exhausted. I don’t want them to see me in bed all the time or needing sleep. I want them see me as being a totally normal mummy. This does come at a cost though. There are the days I mentioned when I sleep all day and don’t own up to that to anyone. The kids don’t see when I sit on the floor in front of an open freezer at 5pm, with my head in my hands, looking for the easiest dinner to make them that doesn’t take too much energy. I count calories and watch how much I eat because I have to do a supermarket shop and clean the house that day, and I’m always too exhausted to go to the gym and go shopping. Two things in one day can sometimes be too much.
However, my kids will never know this. They will only see me running, jumping, smiling and laughing. Maybe I’ll be swinging from a tree-swing or bouncing with them at a trampoline park. Sadly for the last one I need an incontinence pad, but I’m working on that. Honestly, I hate, actually change that, I despise the companies that have made it seem like it’s ok for women to need them. These companies normalize that after you’ve had a baby its ok to leak urine. No, no it’s not. Women we do not need to put up with this. These companies need to be brought down a peg or two. It’s not normal and it’s not ok and there is so much that can be done to help us.
I am not alone with thyroid disease. It’s everywhere and we need to change the stigma and shame associated with it and it’s side effects and ensure more doctors know how to treat it. If you ask around a few friends, the chances are, someone will either have a form of it, or know someone with it. We are the pill popping gang. We supply what others bodies naturally produce. I have accepted that I need the medication, and I am trying to accept all the things that go with this disease. I know there are days when my husband doesn’t understand it, and he gets mad at me when I slink off to bed for a rest and leave him in charge of two young crazy boys, but that’s the way it is around here. On a whole he is amazing, but I want to be better for him and the boys so those are the days when I remind myself I am a warrior. Not a failure or weak. Everyday I fight. I will always need to fight there is no option on this. But please remember, even at my worst, I am trying by best.
I am a hypothyroid mummy but I am also a warrior.
Thank you for reading, if you liked my post, find me on Instagram @biancajaynecarr.