When I Reached the Top of the Stairs Without Having to Crawl Up Them


There was a time when I really hated stairs. I mean really, absolutely, undoubtedly hated stairs. My hypothyroidism was so bad that I needed help to get up them, or I crawled up on my hands and knees, taking a few steps at a time before sitting to rest for a few minutes. I’d usually sit and cry while resting in between steps. It made me so sad to think I couldn’t even get up stairs.

In 2014, the year before, I was incredibly active. I completed 5K runs, I ran twice a week, went to the gym three to four times a week, walked four miles five days a week, played badminton once or twice a week and participated in a two-hour dance session once a week. My weekly schedule rotated around what exercise I was doing. Every day had some form of physical activity scheduled in.

Then, in September 2014, I started noticing I was more tired than usual, and it never went away. I was permanently exhausted and that concerned me. I also started getting random leg cramps, which impeded my running and walking. And I had aches and pains and long recovery periods after exercise.

Between then and April 2015, I got much, much worse, collecting new symptoms as time went on before eventually being diagnosed with autoimmune hypothyroidism (Hashimoto’s thyroiditis) in the summer and started on medication.

So sitting on the stairs, unable to climb any higher on my own, I sat and cried while thinking about all of this. I used to have to plan when I needed to go upstairs — to use the bathroom, for example — because I could only go up them maybe three times a day — max.

Since changing medication for my health conditions and taking a few supplements, I’ve been feeling much better. I’ve been aware that I’m able to tolerate more exercise, not get sleepy until around 9 p.m. and get up more easily in the mornings as part of my drastic recovery.

But this evening on a walk to the train station with my other half, I unexpectedly sprinted up the stairs to the station bridge. I ran up them like I used to a couple of years ago without thinking. My other half shouted, “Whoa! Take that, thyroid!”

I reached the top of the stairs and paused for a moment. Did I really just do that? That was amazing.

My other half then joked that it resembled a moment in the movie “Rocky,” so he got me to pose for this embarrassing photo:

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I’m feeling good. I’ve made progress, and I’m proud of how far I’ve come in my thyroid journey so far. I don’t want you to give up, either. You’ve got this. The change I’ve gone through in just a year is through sheer determination and persistence.

Sitting on the stairs and crying because I couldn’t get myself to bed was a real low point. No one should have to feel like that. Make sure you get the treatment you deserve and conquer those stairs.

Follow this journey on The Invisible Hypothyroidism.

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