Since October or November, I’ve felt very poorly. During the weekend, I would sometimes take multiple naps on a day even though I had plenty of grad school work waiting for me. I would sleep a decent amount, but then I’d still wake up feeling so exhausted. When I came back from Mexico, I had chronic fatigue, fevers, chills, body aches, for weeks. I was so exhausted that I would sleep in between classes and at any time I was at home by myself. I knew I had to do something, but I was so exhausted that I didn’t feel like I could do anything.
When graduate school ended, I thought I would have a few days to recover and would start being productive, but instead… I felt like everything in my body was made out of lead and everything ached all of the time. I could sleep hours and hours and hours. I had to sleep on hot pads to be able to sleep sometimes. My brain was always foggy and it was a struggle for me to remember normal things and routines.
Last month I felt sunburned in a funny place on my scalp. I took a picture of my scalp because Devin is color blind and can’t see sunburns and I gasped. I’m balding?! A week or two later, my friends mentioned that I must be stressed because they could visibly see parts of my scalp. I booked an appointment with my Doctor ASAP.
The following are all symptoms I have been having (and I am mostly still having):
- Intolerance to cold
- Muscle aching and cramps (especially in my wrists and legs)
- Weight gain or difficulty losing weight
- Mental fog
- Feeling like my scalp is buzzing
- Tongue swelling
- Exhaustion + insomnia
- etc. etc. etc.
- … and hair loss. These photos are incredibly forgiving.
I explained to my Doctor that even though we just tripled my thyroid medication about two months ago that all my symptoms came back a month afterwords.
After explaining all of my symptoms again, my Doctor explained: “when you see the online results of your blood work and you see that it is positive for autoimmune diseases, you probably have one, but not something like lupus. Because… we will definitely be finding something with your results.”
It made sense, but it isn’t especially comforting either.
As my thyroid panels came back it was very clear that I have an autoimmune disease: Hashimoto. My body has been pumping out A LOT of antibodies to attack my thyroid. At the moment, I feel grateful and validated to have an answer. However, I also feel like crap; I’m at the point of hair loss that it is actually becoming very hard to hide and I feel chronically tired. I’m happy to have such a mindful Doctor and I’m grateful that I have this time right now post-grad school to get this sorted out and really start focusing on my health.
Over the past month, I’ve still been getting used to the idea that I have an autoimmune disease and I’ve been shocked with a lot of what I’ve found. However, I’ve found so much comfort reading other people’s stories with autoimmune and other health ailments which is why I decided to share this aspect of my life. I plan on sharing more in the future about my health as I navigate through hopeful hair regrowth and changes I’m making to hopefully start feeling better.