Based on the research I’ve done for almost two years, my diagnosis story is not a unique one. The spring of 2014- I was healthy, active, and for once actually in the best shape of my life when things began to change. Slowly at first. I am a single mother, who had just graduated college, had begun custody proceedings with my daughters father, was working multiple summer jobs and had just began a new relationship. For me that was life.
By April I had gained a few pounds, as I had been running almost daily I was pretty slim so I noticed. It didn’t bother me as I had been doing lots of muscle building exercises recently and chalked it up to that. But then there was the constipation. I wasn’t going. At all. Days would go by. Then it turned into a week and I had to take laxatives. I was gaining more weight and again believed it was due to the fact that I was so backed up. During this month I went in for my annual physical. I mentioned my weight gain and my constipation, was told that I was getting older and weight was to be expected (I was days away from turning 28). Also to go home and drink more water. All of my standard labs were fine.
June, I had been drinking lots of water. Lots and lots of water. This time I was passed off to a doctor who told me about aryuvedic medicine, gave me a pamphlet on balancing my doshas and suggested I begin taking triphala tablets. It was interesting, so I gave it a try. I exercised, I ate healthy. I took the triphala tablets and avoided foods that might mess up my dosha. My hair was falling out. I grew up always being the chilly one in my house but I was now perpetually freezing. I still was not going to the bathroom without laxatives. The weight continued to creep on.
August. I was back again. This time I asked for a lymes test. No luck there either. I mentioned being painfully tired. I was told I was a single mom who worked double shifts at multiple jobs. Of course I was tired.
October. I think they got tired of seeing me. I asked for a referral to a gastroenterologist because I still was not going to the bathroom, as well as a retest of my thyroid. Again, my thyroid was fine (as in my results showed me in “normal range”). Finally someone acknowledged that I had put on a few pounds, but that it was nothing to worry about. They suggested that maybe it was my birth control causing the weight gain. I made the switch to an IUD (even though my gynecologist assured me that after using the previous birth control for so long it was highly unlikely that it would be causing my weight gain). This change of course did nothing and the weight kept creeping on.
My pants no longer fit. I was at least two sizes larger but couldn’t be sure because I was now a leggings only person. I refused to buy larger jeans and stuffed myself into my J.Crew pixie pants, managing to burst off the eye hook closure at the top of the zipper. My face was puffy and swollen. My nails were peeling. I was incredibly fuzzy and forgetful. My hair was still falling out and my eyebrows began to thin out as well. I was becoming depressed. I felt horrible physically and not understanding what was going on began to take an emotional toll. I went to the gastroenterologist who immediately said I had a thyroid issue. He prescribed me Linzess for the time being and suggested I see an endocrinologist. He did however warn me that the endo would be strictly by the numbers and if my lab results weren’t “bad enough” they would dismiss my issue. Which is precisely what happened. I was immediately told that I looked fine. That my labs were fine. That maybe I was eating more than I admitted to. That I was most likely eating my dinner and my daughter’s left overs too. That plenty of people would want to look how I did. I was practically laughed out of the office. I immediately called my mother and broke down in tears telling her everyone thought I was crazy.
After confiding in a friend about my issues I got an interesting text. Of course while being at our hairdresser she had learned that I most likely did in fact have a thyroid problem. Our hairdresser insisted that I call her. When I did she gave me the number of a nurse practitioner who believed in Integrated Wellness. When I met her I was thrilled! Finally someone knew, someone listened, someone did not think I was crazy and someone began to address the problem.