|Image by Stephen Richer|
Scaling the Mountain: Part 1
Part of "A Journey to Charis"
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.