The 5 day old heal prick test – so simple and so effective. I spent the first few days of my life in the intensive care unit (NICU) at The Princess of Wales Hospital in Bridgend – where I was born. The doctors, midwives and nurses had noticed that there was something that just wasn’t quite right and so I was wheeled off just minutes after entering the world. Now, after having Noah and wanting to hold him straight away to reassure myself that he was ok, I understand how horrible it must have been for my mum – her first child, taken away before she could hold them (me). 5 days after being born, they still hadn’t figured out the problem – until they did the heal prick test. That answered everything. By this point my mum and dad had been able to take me home before the results came back, as they hadn’t worked out the problem and I was doing OK. She was called and told to bring me back in, which is where I had x-rays and scans and more tests before they explained to my parents that I had been born without a thyroid gland and what this meant. I was to be put on thyroxine and monitored for the rest of my life – if I hadn’t have been my life would be very different right now. In fact, I probably wouldn’t be here. The consultant explained to my parents that it could change my personality but other than that, with regular monitoring, I should be OK until I come to have a family/get pregnant.
Years went by and it was never an issue, my mum bought a little pill box for me and I took my thyroxine every morning without question. I enjoyed the check ups because it got me out of school and meant I could have some quality time with my mum (I had 2 sisters by this point so having mum alone was rare and I cherished those visits). I remember one visit in particular, we used to go and see the paediatric consultant at a little hospital in Cheshire (where we were living at the time) and on this occasion I had a new consultant. I had got to know the nurses and consultants at the clinic and even now I can picture them and the little room that we used to wait in with its large windows looking out into the car park. So when out of the blue I had a new consultant it was a bit of a change. Anyway, I must have been approaching my teens at this point but because the dr was paediatric he was used to children. He would refer to things in a very childish way – I remember him asking how my “poo poo” and “wee wee” was and having to try and keep a straight face whilst answering. Coming out of the room, Mum and I couldn’t contain ourselves and just burst into laughter, mimicking the dr (which now probably seems quite harsh as he was really lovely and a very good dr, however when you’re going on 13 and a dr talks to you as if you’re 2 – you find it funny) and we laughed all the way home. They were great times, times when I enjoyed having a “problem”. Our hospital visits then, were every 3-4 months depending on my growth. I would firstly go into see the nurse who would take my weight, height, blood pressure and pulse and then I would go and see the consultant, have a blood test and be checked over, have a chat and go. Every 2 years I had to have an X-ray to check that my bones were growing properly too.
Then, when I hit 16, it all stopped and I was discharged from the consultant and told that I would just be under my GP for check ups. This was fine, suited me because I was busy in school doing my GCSE’s and then A-levels and my mum always kept on top of my tablets so I never had an issue, that was until I went to university. Now, I didn’t have my parents to check up on me and it was up to me to find a dr and to take my tablets every day. One thing about me is that I am very forgetful and so needless to say I was a bit useless at taking my tablets. This then had an affect on my dose and for a few years (yes years) my dose was all over the place. Fortunately for me I met Andy and he is very on the ball like my mum (doesn’t miss a trick) and so I managed to regulate things and get back onto a good dose and life was not so complicated anymore.
Until one time, for some reason my dose had been wrong (not my fault this time) and I wasn’t on enough thyroxine so they bumped my dose up quite a bit. This was better, I began to lose the weight I had gained from being hypo and start to feel more energetic again. After 4 months however, I took a turn for the worst and had to be taken into hospital as I was having heart palpitations and my heart rate was racing in the 200’s. I baffled all the consultants because despite their efforts they couldn’t bring my pulse down and yet I was still sat there, with my heart going like the clappers, talking to them normally (I have a strong heart). They realised that the reason why my heart wasn’t slowing was because my thyroxine had poisoned me and unless I stopped taking that things were not going to get better. From this moment on it became a vicious cycle of trying to get back to a normal dose of thyroxine. During this time, Andy and I wanted to start a family. I didn’t know that it would affect me – it didn’t even cross my mind. However, after my 2nd miscarriage I began to ask questions and I was told that the reason I was struggling to get pregnant and then miscarrying was because of my thyroid (or lack of) problem. This got to me and made me quite anxious, I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to give Andy a child of his own and all horrible thoughts flooded my mind. I became very stressed by the whole thing. To the point, where we decided to stop trying for a family and take a break – get back to being just us and come back to it later. In that time we became pregnant with Noah. 7 weeks passed, I hadn’t miscarried, 12 weeks passed – we made it past the 1st trimester. Things were looking positive! All the way through my pregnancy I was under a consultant endocrinologist who monitored my thyroid and increased the dose where necessary. The whole pregnancy went smoothly – it was a small miracle.
So what’s life like now? After having Noah? Well, thyroxine is a type of hormone that works with growth and many other things in your body. It’s a pretty powerful little gland. Most people don’t even know it’s there. So, like with all hormones when you’re pregnant and post pregnancy – they’re all over the show. I was fine on my regular dose and then suddenly I became ill…put on weight (FAST!)…had no energy and wanted to sleep all day long and yet couldn’t sleep…got depressed (that had never happened before) and life was all a little overwhelming. Most days I was crying and I didn’t know why. This was in August this year. I went to my GP and sure enough the dose of thyroxine was too low AGAIN…so after increasing my dose, I am now back to normal. I feel like myself again, I have the energy I need, I am bubbly and happy, I don’t feel more tired than a usual person and more importantly I have lost all the weight I gained. I will do another post about how I have lost the weight with thyroid issues but for now that’s my story. It’s how I am where I am today.
If you have a thyroid problem – pop a comment and let me know! I would love to share in other’s stories about how you cope with a life of hypothyroidism.
x A x
I will pop in a few pictures of me back in August and now so you can see a visual difference now my thyroxine is stabilised.