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When Hashimoto's Disease Isn't 'Enough' to Explain My Tiredness to Other People

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I’ve only just started letting people really know the truth about how exhausted I really am.

I mean, people say they are tired. Maybe they didn’t get enough sleep last night. Maybe they’ve been training for a marathon. Maybe work has been stressful.

I’d be tired from those things, too. But not like this. This is different.

I am so tired that my soul feels tired. The weariness is so deep I can feel it in my bones. I feel as though I am dragging my body through my day, only to collapse when the sun sets.

My bones feel weak and my joints are sore. My muscles ache when I walk up the stairs. Burning as if I’d just worked out.

I move as though I am in slow motion. Fighting, as if each movement is an effort to overcome swimming against the tide of an angry ocean.

I’ve been tired for as long as I can remember. I was the teen whose parents forced her to go outside when the weather was nice. I was the high school girl who never opted for athletic activities, choosing to reread my favorite books instead. I was the college student who needed nine hours of sleep, plus a nap to feel “right.” I even fell asleep once in a room full of people at a New Year’s Eve party – sober.
I have been so exhausted that it changed the way I perceived myself. I just thought being slow, bookish, and sedentary were facets of my personality.

Everything changed with the car accident. My neck was damaged from hitting the windshield. An MRI was taken to assess the extent and the radiologist discovered my problem.

Inside my neck, was a 1.5-inch-in-diameter nodule. Slightly smaller than a standard golf ball. The growth had basically taken over the right wing of my thyroid. Further testing resulted in my answer: Hashimoto’s thyroiditis.

The thyroid double whammy. Not only was my thyroid not producing the correct level of hormones needed for daily functioning, but my body was also attacking it as if it were an invader. The doctor explained that as my thyroid began to function less effectively, it continued to increase in size, likely alarming my immune system into action.

I was only 27.

Today, almost a decade later, I am in the throes of parenting two toddlers — the most exhausting season of most parents’ lives. The pregnancies and nursing wore my reserves down dangerously low.
Recently, a therapist suggested I get checked for Lyme disease as well. She was concerned about the level of fatigue I was feeling.

While I am all for getting appropriate medical attention, there was this familiar twinge of not being understood.

Isn’t this enough?

Isn’t having an underactive thyroid enough to explain being tired?

Isn’t having an autoimmune disease enough to explain why I don’t feel “well” most days?

Do I really need to go searching for more answers other than the one right in front of me?

I know what the results will be. I’m just tired. From my Hashimoto’s disease.

It’s enough to make anyone tired.

This blog was originally published on The Sanity Plan.

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Originally published: November 4, 2016
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