Hashimoto’s and Stress: The Kryptonite To My Thyroid

Sometimes it seems like no matter what you do or how well you take care of yourself, stress can undo all of the good, healthy things you’ve done. Hashimoto’s and stress do not play well together.

I was doing well last year. I started taking Selenium, which brought my antibodies down from over 1300 to just over 400. I was no longer in constant, daily pain. I could walk for miles and workout without fearing I’d be unable to get out of bed the next day. I lost 38 pounds. I felt like I could do anything. And then came November…

Work was super stressful. I was on tight deadlines with too much to do and so little time to do it. I put in a lot of overtime in November and December. And all the stress made me sick and threw me into Hashi’s hell. It’s May and I still haven’t recovered. Even with an increase in my thyroid medication, my TSH went from 4.7 to 9.7 in the last two months. The stress has only gotten worse and, despite all the meditating and attempts at stress reduction, I’m more sick than ever. As I write this, I’m just getting over my umpteenth cold of the year, I’ve gained about 10 pounds because my metabolism has slowed down so much, and I’m freezing my patootie off under a heavy blanket because I’m full-blown hypothyroid. In addition, I hurt… a LOT, back spasms and costochondritis. Fun. In short, I’m a mess.

I asked my doctor to not only test my TSH, but Free T3, Free T4, and Reverse T3. TSH was high, of course, but Free T3 and Free T4 were normal. It was the Reverse T3 that showed the real story. My Reverse T3 was elevated. It was 31 when high end of the normal range is 24. There are many reasons Reverse T3 can be elevated and stress is one of them. I’m pretty sure that’s the case here!

Normally, when my Hashimoto’s is well treated and under control, I’m smart, fairly confident, strong, and as some folks have said, “very zen”. When I’m in Hashi’s hell, I feel the opposite: stupid, insecure, anxiety-ridden, weak, and not in control of my emotions at all. Returning to good health is my number one priority right now. It’s a struggle. How do you get better when the trigger, stress, that contributed to your illness hasn’t been removed or is hard to remove? I’m battling with that right now. I don’t want to take medical leave, but I may have to if I don’t get better.

One goal I have, which seems so remote right now because I’m so ill, is to be able to run my own business from home. That would be an ideal situation. But right now, it’s all I can do to just take care of myself and stay barely functional…

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