My Adventure with Hypothyroidism

So as a young child I was thin and fit, always outdoors making a mess, digging holes, climbing trees... kids stuff.

It wasn't until I started secondary school that I started to pour on the weight, I got bullied and I comfort ate. My weight improved but only through an extreme amount of rugby and going to the gym after school near on every day.

I had seen my local GP and had every blood test under then sun but I still felt like I was being palmed of, not given the time of day and just told to eat less and exercise more.

So at the age of 17 I started a new college, studying sport (ND Sport Studies Outdoor Education) This I again started to tone up a bit with all climbing, kayaking, mountain biking and gym I was doing but my written work started to suffer, mainly as I got so tired I would sleep an awful lot.

I then worked as a diving instructor and then at PGL for a year after finishing college at 19 but the weight still piled on and when I left to work in retail I became what I hated, extremely over weight. I went from a 38" waist up-to a 46" waist in two years.

I thought that it was the job that was causing me stress and long monotonous working hours the tiredness, so I quit.

After hopping from one job to another I finally went back to PGL, thinking the outdoor life would help to keep the weight off.

It did start to drop off, slowly, but my health suffered. I became even more lethargic, I would finish work and be so tired I would be found asleep in my car with the engine running. I was even found on my drive way in the morning and also outside my works gates, asleep at the wheel with the engine on.

Work told me to take a break and get myself fixed, as there was defiantly a health issue if I was getting so tired and it could cause a serious accident not only at work but on the road.

As I had recently moved house I had registered at a new GP and booked an appointment. Wow was there a big difference, I could book an appointment, not just phone up at 8am in the morning and hope for the best!

The biggest difference of them all was the GP, finally one that actually cared and gave you enough time to talk about all your problems and gave me a solution.

I was booked in for blood tests and given as much time off work as I needed to get better, I asked for 2 weeks, the doctor wanted to give me a month!

As soon as the blood tests were back in, I got a phone call from my GP asking me to come in for another visit.

This is when I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism and I was given an explanation to the symptoms, which explained everything I was going through, the depression, the weight gain, the constant hunger for food, the tiredness.

I was given 25mcg of Levothyroxine to start with in September 2012 and by December it had risen to 100mcg.

The weight is dropping off, I have gone down to 20 / 21 stone and a 40" waist.

As the medication changes I hope to get to a 36" / 38" waist and fit again!

I have had some trouble with the shakes, having too much energy sometimes and not being able to sleep. I have been given sleeping tablets to help this.

I am hoping the new season back at PGL with my medication will see a faster weight loss and a much happier me!

What I have found in this adventure is that you have to have the right Doctor, I still think that if I was with my old GP I would still be undiagnosed today.

My colleges at work have been a huge help with understanding and helping me through out the process, in time to re-cooperate to checking that I am fit to work and drive (I have been ordered to bed a few times!), giving me a room at work to sleep in if needed and finally they provided me with free counselling when my depression took some very serious turns.

The best thing is to talk about it, let people know you need help! My job is very active and I do tire extremely easily now but everyone helps me in little ways, from helping me carry heavy equipment to making sure I go to dinner and eat!

18 Replies

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  • Thanks for posting that story. The differences between doctors are dramatic and you sound like you struck really lucky. :-)

    Maybe you would like to consider submitting this as a case story on the main Thyroid UK site?

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/get_in...

    The other thing, only a suggestion, is that you might consider taking your medicine at bed-time? Some people find that doing so helps their sleep. Have a look at the comments on a recent poll here:

    thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/get_in...

    And there's always something else! Being outside a lot is probably going to help with vitamin D, but many with hypothyroidism suffer from low levels of vitamin D, vitamin B12, folates and iron/ferritin. And have you been tested for thyroid antibodies? Maybe not a bad idea to gently suggest these be checked (obviously don't want to upset a very helpful doctor!). B12 deficiency can creep up very, very slowly - sometimes taking many years for symptoms to develop.

    Rod

  • Thanks, I have posted it to the Thyriod Uk site and I have started taking my meds ad bedtime to see if there is any improvement.

  • Hope it helps!

    And thanks for posting both here and to TUK site.

  • Finally for you, am so pleased. But, WHY do these things take so long. T4 for you was definately the right road to go down as you had other symptoms of hypothyroidism. The system is so contradictory. At other times GP's put people on T4 when there is only one symptom and don't bother to check anything else. GP's should be following the same course all over the country but they aren't. You are so right, who your GP is does matter. But, they can do u-turns. Keep getting well and a Very Happy New Year to you.

  • How pleased & happier you must be now that your finaly getting sorted....you will have to buy a whole new waedrobe by the sound of it.....good luck...

  • Thanks for all the useful and lovely comments.

    I have just got back from my 6 weekly blood taking and I shall have some results in two days. I think I will go up again from 100mcg.

    Yes a lot of my clothes are getting too big for me and I'm replacing as little as possible until I'm close to my desired size and weight, then I can go shopping!

    I will ask my Doctor about the other tests, I'm new to this and to be honest I buried my head in the sand a little bit as I have not researched into it much after I was diagnosed. Now after reading the comments and other blogs and questions I will do my homework. I just don't want to be paranoid over everything.

  • Scuba2dan, so good to hear your history and how you are improving such good news. It does happen and we need to hear about it.

    Keep up the good work all the best.

    wyn

  • That's good that in the New Year you are already feeling the benefit of levothyroxine and it will take a few months to get to the optimum meds. At least your new GP finally diagnosed you and saved you having more months/years of misery. It is heartwarming to hear that your colleagues are so helpful and supportive and - they are few and far between.

    Best wishes

  • I loved reading your story, sorry you were poorly but great too hear you are feeling improved, I have just changed from thyroxine too armour after being ill for nearly 20 years, same thing been seeing wrong doctor? In a week I can't explain how different I feel "like a new person", I now realize how poorly I was feeling, abit disappointed that I had forgotten what feeling good was like? but so excited about the future and what I am going too be able too achieve with all this energy, good luck and I hope 2013 is a good year for you regards karen

  • Just shows how dfferent doctors are doesn't it? You seem very lucky with your work colleagues, they sound a very caring bunch of people and I hope with their care and you doctor's treatment you continue to improve until you reach your goal. Good luck with it all. Janet.

  • Best wishes for feeling much better soon. I absolutely love canoeing and kayaking and I'm certain that my involvement with these activities and paddling friends have helped me to cope with the difficult patches. Mind you, at times I've hurt so much when paddling and my fear levels are higher than I'd like them to be so ww focus has changed to touring now.

  • Really happy for you. I didnt get on with Levo, on Armour now and feeling better every day (ive just done 50 mins workout yay!). One thing when i had trouble sleeping and still occasionally now i have two teabags of dr stuarts valerian root tea it knocks me out in twenty mins. its also good for anxiety. its non addictive too.

    very very happy for you!

  • I love good news - long may it continue for you - finding a good doc is the key. PGL? where are you Dan? (may I ask) J :D

  • I am at PGL Windmill Hill, Herstmoncuex, East Sussex. This year will be my 4th season working for PGL as a Activity Instructor.

    It's close to my home which is only a 20min drive and only a 10min drive to my doctors. I live onsite at PGL to help with the early starts, taking a rest at lunch if I need it and also all the support of my friends at work (there a bar onsite so I can't help but be social). It's pretty much one big family.

  • As an employer PGL is brilliant, I was never once moaned at for taking time off due to fatigue and I was given all the support I could ask for.

    I do have my very own risk assessment and medical form, which was constructed in private with a manager and myself to let those on a 'need to know' basis what my medical condition is and how I cope with it. I have a monthly review of this for any changes and I am given time off work for doctors appointments and blood tests.

    One of the best companies I have worked for.

  • the reason I asked is Boreatton Park is just up the road - they do sound very supportive - all the best Jane :D

  • I did my initial training at Boreatton Park some 5 years ago. Really beautiful area to live!

  • Haven't been on for a while so I thought id update!

    I back to PGL on the 14th of Feb for (what I feel will be) an incredible year.

    My last set of bloods saw me going from 100mcg to 125mcg of Levo and I feel great.

    My appetite is in check and I no longer crave fatty and sugary foods and my portion size has definitely decreased.

    I started buying a mens health and fitness magazine which has really helped on finding replacements for the high sugar and fatty foods I used to crave and also on realistic portion sizes!

    I am now dropping the weight at a good rate (I dont want to lose it fast and end up with baggy skin) and Im feeling a lot more confident about myself.

    With my new confidence I have achieved a few things one of them is getting myself a new girl and applying to University which I will start in 2014 after I turn 25, to study Outdoor Education for 3 years and then a PGCE in Outdoor Education to become a teacher!

    I really cant exaggerate how great I feel now I'm on the correct dose and losing weight, I feel much better than when I tried those controlled crash diet plans a few years ago.

    If your struggling to lose weight just remember that such things as Levothyroxine are not a magic diet pill, even if you just take it your metabolism still needs to burn that converted energy through exercise!

    Last year in January I weighed over 23 stone a BMI of 41.3, that's severely obese!

    Now I weigh 21 stone (a BMI of 37.7) and now have the correct dose of Levo.

    Im hoping this year to hit my BMI target of between 23 - 25.

    I find that if I feel to tired to do a workout then I have a glass of water, some dried fruit and go for a walk in the fresh air and this usually gives my metabolism a little boost to get me in the mood to workout!

    Loosing weight is also down to your attitude, I used to dream of how great it would to be fit and healthy but never did anything about it and so I stayed fat, now I don't think about it, I just do it, empower yourself, give yourself a goal to aim for. Mine is being fit for Uni so I can beat all the cocky young 18 yearolds on the climbing wall and also so for my new girl!

    Just remember the fitter you are the better your metabolism will be! Change what you eat, how much of it you eat and how often you eat and get moving!

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