November Write 20

CN: talk about illness, weight gain, neurodivergence, and pain

I am chronically physically and mentally ill, and neurodivergent. I always will be.  No matter what meds come along it will not fix the problems, just alleviate the symptoms and keep my body going.

Let me back up.

In November of 2010, I gained about 15 pounds within the space of about two and half weeks.  I hadn’t changed my diet, exercise levels, or anything else.  It was completely out of the blue.  I ended up at my doctor’s office in February of the next year (it took me that long to get over thinking that I was just being a hypochondriac and beating myself up over the gain).  She thought underactive thyroid, so she sent me to get tests done.  Yup, definitely hypothyroidism.

So right then, I was confronted with something that brought my mortality into very sharp focus.  Hypothyroidism cannot be cured, especially auto-immune hypothyroidism, which mine is.  I will be on meds for the rest of my life for this.  Well damn…

I went through one other med before I settled on this one, which works well enough for me for the time being.  When my thyroid finally shuts down completely (which it will, at some point – treating this condition at all basically guarantees that), I may have to reevaluate medication and dosage, but as far as I can tell it is still producing.  I chose to educate myself on this condition, become my own expert, my own advocate for my health.

When I switched health care systems, I got a new doctor.  And a renewed drive to do what I can to make my life better.  Which, in the end, meant getting an endocrinologist that could help handle my hypothyroidism (have never quite been satisfied with any one I’ve seen, but I can deal with one for the length of an appointment), a neurologist to help with my migraines (only tried one and she is amazing, so why would I want to try a different one), a therapist to help handle my grief (and now, hopefully, a new one for different stuff), and a med management ARNP to help handle my mental illness and neurodivergence.

There is still more to handle, though this is not as urgent – the joint pain with shifting barometric pressure that is not rheumatoid arthritis (the only thing we have determined about it, so far).

This whole process, these last five years, have taught me about becoming my own advocate.  Reading, researching, finding communities, and asking hard questions has given me such a sense of confidence in myself.

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