Monday, July 6, 2009

It's my thyroid

For a couple of years now every time I have had some kind of health issue I have blamed my thyroid - and it is true, my thyroid has been responsible for weight gain, excessive tiredness, hair thinning, eyebrow thinning (bizarrely), brain fog, dry skin and possibly some of the aches and pains I have had in my wrists and feet. But now, joy oh rapture, I possibly have another autoimmune disease to add to the mix - rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

I saw a rheumatologist last week who said that she thought that there was probably some kind of autoimmune thing going on with me and that it was probably rheumatoid arthritis. They don't like to go out on a limb diagnosing these things unnecessarily which I guess is fair enough. Better to err on the side of caution than to diagnose prematurely. However, the pains I have had in my hands and feet would indicate RA as would a range of other things including having had a miscarriage. So perhaps I have been unfair in blaming my thyroid.

So, two chronic illness which basically involve the body attacking itself. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is where the body attacks the thyroid and with RA the body attacks the lining of the joints. With autoimmune disease, for some reason, something causes the immune system to see the body's own tissues as foreign invaders. In pregnancy, the immune system is suppressed so that the body doesn't attack the baby and I think that this is why I felt so good when I was pregnant as my immune system also wasn't attacking my thyroid. And I guess why I have been feeling fairly crappy of late - my immune system has kicked into overdrive. The RA symptoms started appearing about 2 months after Chet was born - apparently not uncommonly with this form of arthritis.

So, I am trying to work out a personal plan of attack for this without feeling too depressed about it all. It is fairly tedious and I certianly don't want it to be the only thing I can think about. I have a small boy to attend to and I would rather be enjoying watching him grow up and experience the world than thinking about how my hands hurt. None of this is a death sentence and really just needs to be managed effectively but some days are better than others that's for sure. Some nights I can hardly pick Chet up and some mornings when I get up all I can manage is a particularly attractive crone-like shuffle. However, at this stage it is not debilitating and I hope that it won't be. So, back to acupuncture and a wheat-free diet for me. Possibly a dairy free diet (luckily I have been eating a lot of cheese lately, hopefully I won't miss it too much). It is time, in the words of my favourite thyroid blog, to kick the arse of this godamn immune system.

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