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Around February of 2019, I began to notice alarming reactions of my body. My heart was beating fast it became a tickle in my chest. Sometimes I felt it would burst with how fast it beat. I didn't know the term yet. It was palpitations.
From 84kg, my weight went down to 60kg. It wasn't alarming since I began my low-calorie diet since November of 2018. I never recovered my weight before I got pregnant on 2016; it shoot up to 86kg. But what I noticed with my weight going down was it seemed I was wilting. It seemed my weight loss was from an illness and not a result of dieting and a little exercise. Even my friends and relatives noticed that. Their first question everytime was, "Are you sick?"
I also began having a hard time standing straight up. My knees would buckle; I began to lean on my left or right leg when I was standing. It became a struggle standing still. My knees lose their strength; climbing was another struggle. One time, I fell down on the ground when I tried to get on a motorcycle; my knees went jelly.
Aside from my skin with a sickly color, my left eye started to protrude. Smiling was a little difficult too because my facial muscles would quiver.
Standing in front of an audience doing a presentation was not new to me. I would get nervous especially if my big bosses were there but I can easily kept rein of that nervousness and get on with my presentations. But during those times, my whole body was shaking whenever I gave a presentation. I couldn't keep the tremors from my voice, and my breathing was fast and shallow. Even my direct superior wondered at that.
Whenever I talk to someone, it was draining and I got out of breath. My friends and family also noticed my throat has a different roundness.
Around April of 2019, I went to see an endocrinologist. He was also my doctor when I had a gestational diabetes --- an acquired diabetes while pregnant (which, thankfully, was gone after my pregnancy, and wasn't passed on to my daughter). He took a look at me and said my dieting wasn't the cause of my weight loss (he knew I was dieting because we talked over the phone before I scheduled for a check up). He then proceeded a physical check up, and went on to prescribed a laboratory check up. Before I went out his clinic, he told me my thyroid glands were acting abnormally hence my body's abnormal reactions. To confirm it, I needed the laboratory check up.
The day after, I went back to the clinic with the lab results. It confirmed I have a thyroid disease, a hyperthyroidism.
There are different kinds of thyroid diseases, and the most common are hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism. It is very important to know what kind of thyroid disease one has because the cure, what to eat and what not to eat, are opposite.
I am grateful for my endocrinologist because he explained it all to me as simple as he could. First, let's talk of this thyroid gland. What is the function of a thyroid gland? My doctor referred to it as the butterfly-like gland attached to the lower part of the neck. It may be small but its function is very important because it secretes cell hormones T4 (thyroxine) and T3 (triiodothyronine) which is necessary for all the cells in our body to function normally. The thyroid glands act on the 'order' of the pituitary gland found on the base of our brain; how much T4 and T3 to produce for normal body functions.
My lab results showed the T4 and T3 hormones found in my blood were higher than normal. These showed that my thyroid glands were producing abnormal high number of hormones which in turn increases the activity of all my organs --- fast heart rate, insomnia, increase visit to the restroom, whole body shaking, protruding eye. In layman's term, my thyroid glands went rouge. It wasn't listening anymore to the pituitary gland and produces hormones on its own. Since it kept producing hormones, it needed high amount of energy getting it from where it can get. Why my knees buckled? The vitamins and minerals in it were diverted to my rogue thyroid glands.
There are 3 procedures that can be done to cure hyperthyroidism according to my endocrinologist:
Anti-thyroid and Beta Blockers medication
Surgery to remove the thyroid gland
My endocrinologist and I both agreed that we will try the medications, and hopefully we won't turn to radioactive iodine and surgery which I see both as high risk. Radioactive iodine is introduced through the mouth to shrink the gland but it will also cause the gland to slow its production of the hormones which will cause hypothyroidism. I will have to maintain medicines again. As for the surgery, removal of my thyroid gland risks my vocal chords and the glands that regulates calcium in my blood. This will need another medication maintenance.
With medicine treatment, I was given a list of what to eat/drink and what not to eat/drink. I searched more from the internet the alternatives. Since I have hyperthyroidism, the goal is to lower the iodine level in my body. Lifting heavy objects are also a no-no (which was kind of hard because my 14-kg daughter loves being carried by mama).
After 2 months of treatment, everything was turning back to normal. No more palpitations. I have gained back the strength of my knees and arms. My body isn't shaking anymore. My monthly period is back to normal. I am not breathless anymore and I can sing again to my heart's content. I still have a protruding left eye but I can live with it. I take my anti-thyroid and beta blockers medicines at times if I feel like I start to palpitate and/or the tremors are back. I still have another session with my endocrinologist.