Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Missing Piece

Image by Stephen Richer
Scaling the Mountain: Part 1

Months passed.  My physical symptoms continued to worsen, and the depression and anxiety swings became more profound.

I think it's time to talk about the elephant in the room so to speak, said my naturopath.  I think you are suffering clinincal depression and possibly an anxiety disorder.

That was probably true, I admitted.

I left the office with more lab work to check my cortisol levels and my thyroid, since he was "keeping an eye on it." A prescription for Lexapro also stared back up at me.

After I got the lab work done, I sat in the WalMart parking lot wondering if it was wise to start an SSRI... a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, a common type of antidepressant.  I certainly didn't have any objection if that was the answer, yet I felt quite uncertain for some reason.  On the other hand, I was desperate for relief, and this could be my solution.  Praying about it, I felt peace about "wait."  So I did just that, and waited until my lab results came in.  I felt as if God were causing me to hesitate for some reason... perhaps there was another plan.

A few days later, my nurse called.  We need you to come in today and pick up some NatureThroid, she divulged.  You have a common form of hypothyroidism.  

I went in feeling anxious, as this was not a scenario I had given any extensive research.   Paying for a small bottle of thyroid hormones, I asked if this was Hashimoto's and if I would have to take these pills for the rest of my life.  Yes, that was the standard treatment.

On one hand I felt relieved, finally discovering another piece to the puzzle, yet on the other, I felt overwhelmed.  I wasn't sure what Hashimoto's thyroiditis even was.  Another strange cousin to join my family of beleaguering ailments.

Over the days to come, I began researching and asking questions.  There were many friends and relatives of friends who had had experience with the disease.  Some said, Oh it's an easy fix... you just take a little pill every morning.  Others had developed cancer or had their thyroid removed, after taking that "little pill" for a number of years.  A couple were in the same situation I was in, symptom wise, and traveling the same frustrating journey.

Rather quickly, I realized that the "little pill every morning" scenario wasn't the magic cure-all I was hoping for.  In fact, it made very little difference in my symptoms.  I was in a full blown, polyglandular, auto-immune response.  You see, Hashimoto's isn't simply a thyroid condition, it's a autoimmune disease... one, I am sure, that had been festering just below the surface for a while.  Until I pushed my body too far and crashed.

Patrick held and comforted me as I began to accept my new diagnosis.  It made me nauseous, and I wanted to somehow escape my body.  As I grieved over my perceived loss, I decided I wanted to find a doctor who would not just address my adrenal and thyroid glands, but my immune system as a whole.

I wanted to go to the very core... to treat the root of the problem.


CoachZ said...

As usual...beautiful and haunting! Love you hon, we sure have come a long way!

mom/popfoote said...

so good to process.. but you have me on the edge of my seat!
as i pray for you, i know this is a valley that only the LORD can really walk you through ( and Patrick of course)
still your friends are here to cheer you on to the high places.

Denise said...

on the edge of my seat too.

i have wanted to escape my body a number of times. battled illness and depression.

on one hand i praise God that He wants to display His strength through us in our weakness. on the other i ask so many "whys."

Tamera Beardsley said...

As always love your engrossing writing and look forward to reading the 'next chapter'.

Simply Sara said...

again and again you are beautiful. over and over again- beauty.
in the ashes, in the valley... your story brings hope and glory to HIM.

thank you again for sharing something so vulnerably.

you are my hero :)

Heather said...

I want to reach through the computer and give you a hug. Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing and being so vulnerable. I didn't have the guts to be so open, but wish I had, even if was to help someone else know they were not alone. I have been there. On a different scale. I won't begin to say I understand because many of us experience depression differently. When I read Lexapro, memories came back to me. I don't take it anymore, but it was a long road to get here.

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