Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Dr. Hashimoto, I Presume

Finally... this snake of pain that's been coiled around my back and joints and causing my myalgia for the past five months has a name. And the diagnosis is... <drum roll, please>... Hashimoto's Disease. Yes, I know. It sounds more like a poorly dubbed Godzilla movie than an actually affliction, but this little bugger causes a lot of problems.

Hashimoto's Disease is the leading cause of hypothyroidism in the good ole US of A. It's an auto-immune disease that causes the body's immune system to see the thyroid gland as an invader and attack it with a full arsenal of AMDs (Antibodies of Mass Destruction). There is no known cure for Hashimoto's Disease, but in the long list of disease possibilities that my string of doctors considered, it is certainly one of the most benign. That doesn't mean that it's symptoms - fatigue, depression, weight gain, cold intolerance, constipation, muscle cramps, decreased concentration, and aches and pains - don't suck. 'Cause I'm here to tell you that they do. And I think most Myalgia Mommies would agree with me.

Luckily, I've been on the levothyroxine doctors prescribe for the hypothyroidism caused by damage to my thyroid for the past two years. I also have a pretty severe Vitamin D deficiency, but 50,000 units a week should knock that out in no time. I'm still waiting for the back pain to decrease or (hopefully) disappear, but the aches and pains in my knees and hips have improved ten-fold. I feel better than I have in... well... five months, and I've managed to lose a tiny bit of the weight that has crept up on me over the years. Maybe I'll be back to exercising at full strength someday soon.

I feel very thankful to have finally received a diagnosis. It's such a relief to have a known enemy to fight. Though I will have to be on medication for the rest of my life and closely monitor my levels, I know it could have been so much worse.

I still have good days and bad days. I spent most of yesterday curled up in bed because the back pain returned with a vengeance, but now that I can name my demon, I know I can handle it. Dr. Hakaru Hashimoto, if you were alive today, I would kiss you. –cvw

1 comment:

  1. Christy-- I'm glad you finally have a name for your demon. It took me something like two years to get a diagnosis (UCTD) and then months to get the combination of medications right to where I feel a little more normal. The pain in my hands was so debilitating that I sometimes couldn't open doors. So, even though the Plaquenil I take twice a day *can* occasionally cause permanent blindness (!), at least on most days I can function. I wish you luck as you work your way back to your old self. Let me know if you ever want to talk. -Molly


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