Wherein I talk about my thyroid.

Written by abbynormally
August 14th, 2013

“You don’t look like you just had a  baby!”

I hear that A LOT. It’s both flattering and annoying. It’s especially annoying whenever it’s seasoned with resentment. I often feel the need to explain my situation, but I’m not sure why. But I’ll explain anyway, for your sake.

My thyroid is screwed up.

**Edited to add this example: one lady (a stranger) stopped me when Lucy was about 4 or 5 months old and said “that baby isn’t yours, right?” and I said that she was and she commented on how I was so skinny and I mentioned my thyroid problems. And she gave me a lot of attitude and said, “oh don’t blame it on your thyroid” and got in her car. What was that about?

Thyroid problems are actually a common problem after you have a baby. I think the technical phrase is “postnatal thyroid disfunction.” This can mean that either your thyroid is overactive or underactive. In my case, it’s overactive…well, at least it was.

And in case you didn’t know, your thyroid controls everything. I knew for two reasons: 1) nursing school. I LOVED my section on the endocrinology system mainly because…2) my dad had thyroid cancer. I’ve seen what a monster the thyroid can be. It’s not pretty.

But I was sick. I spent a lot of time in bed or in the bathroom. I stopped running. I ate only plain gluten free bagels for two weeks and drank a lot of ginger ale. Thankfully Lucy was still small enough that I could prop her in the Boppy pillow next to me in bed and we’d nap. I cancelled so many plans with friends. It sucked. I thought is was my gallbladder, but a number of tests and a phone call from the doctor informed me that all of my digestive trouble was due to an extremely hyper(over)active thyroid. The sleepless nights? I blamed the baby…but I never really could explain why I wasn’t tired during the day or why I would have manic cleaning sessions. Oh, thyroid, that was you. 

Goiter. Yuck. Ugly word, even uglier thing. Apparently my thyroid was so enlarged that the doctor could see it from across the room. Thankfully an ultrasound assuaged my fears that there was no tumor, just inflammation…destructive inflammation. So now I’m on hypothyroid watch, because my levels are normal, just on the low end of normal (or high-end if I’m referring to TSH… it’s confusing. I’ll shut up).

So, resentful women of the world who judge me for being skinny: I WAS SICK. And I’ve even had a few women, after sharing my story, tell me that they wish they could have a hyperactive thyroid too. (Granted, there are worse problems to have, but…) Seriously? SERIOUSLY? Is our culture so screwed up that we’d wish a disease upon ourselves just to lose the baby weight?! You don’t get it. Our bodies weren’t created to look good in a bikini, ok? If you’re having a baby, extra weight is part of the territory. If you think you can gain 8 lbs and then pop out a healthy, 8 lb baby, you’re nuts and probably shouldn’t be having a baby in the first place. Get your priorities straight.

But if you’re sincerely offering a compliment, thank you.

(but it was my thyroid)

 

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4 Responses to “Wherein I talk about my thyroid.”

  1. lindsay says:

    you can vent to me any time! I have dealt with thyroid before. Praying for you.
    xxoo

  2. Nicole says:

    My sister gets that comment a lot and she has 3 (will be 4 kids in 2 months) except she doesn’t have a thyroid prob. She gets down to a size 0 pretty quickly after having her children and women are caddy bitches. They aren’t with her when she is crying in a dressing room because nothing fits or there to see her constant struggle to look more “like a woman” when she is trying to figure out how she is going to fill her A cup bra. Seriously, why can’t we all just be grateful for what we have, stop judging others, and stop wishing diseases on ourselves! Nice post, Abby. :)

  3. I need to get my thyroid rechecked. I have been on synthroid for years for low thyroid, but now I’m feeling like I have hyper symptoms. More than anything, I want a doctor to pay attention to it and not just give me pills. I would like to know why my thyroid dropped in the first place, or how (if I can) to get off the pills forever.

    But the most important part of this post is where you point out how sad it is that people would actively wish for illness to lose weight. How did our society get so screwed up?

  4. I had never thought of a thyroid being a big problem but it seems to be more and more common lately. I’m glad that you’ve determined what was wrong with your doctors help and hopefully…it can help you put on some more weight now? I have no idea if that’s what you want, but at least you can stop losing it?! I agree that it’s very sad that people would say they want this type of disease in order to be skinny. When I was sick with my anorexia people said to me a few times that they wished they had it so they wouldn’t eat so much. CRAZY town!

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