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Creeping Up There

August 6, 2014


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Weight LossFat HealthExerciseMy Boring-Ass LifeDiet Talk

Trigger warning: Discussion of thyroid disease and weight loss as prescription.

I try not to pay attention when they weigh me at the doctor’s office. As much as I abhor being weighed, due to my thyroid disease it’s a part of monitoring my health since weight gain is a main symptom that can be seen. When I first went on thyroid medication (Synthroid, then Armour) I was worried that I’d lose too much weight and my work as a fat activist would somehow be delegitimized. I no longer have that fear because it’s very obvious that I’m still gaining weight and also staying sick. Although I’ve figured out that my horrible and debilitating chronic nausea is actually a symptom of my gallbladder needing to be taken out (scheduled for late September), it’s still not the only thing wrong with me.

My chronic nausea keeps me from exercising too much, but if the surgery in September cures that (and we’re not sure it will), I still have severe bone-deep fatigue, muscle shakes, and weakness. The thing about thyroid disease is even though I’m eating enough (well, some days), my body doesn’t know how to use the calories that it’s taking in. Instead of going to the muscles, which is where they should be going to keep me energized, it gets stored as fat. But the fact that thyroid disease also makes you weaker while you continue to get heavier has its own unique problems.

See, being fat itself isn’t a problem because your muscles get stronger to support your weight (unless you’re a chronic dieter, because weight loss also means muscle loss, but weight regain does not mean muscle regain), but, while I have some pretty good muscles left over from my weightlifting days, I feel a lot weaker. Even holding my camera up for too long makes my hands and arms shake uncontrollably.

As far as the weight gain, in the past three years my weight has crept up by about 20 pounds, putting me very close to 300, which isn’t a problem in and of itself. I haven’t had to buy a new wardrobe yet — though I’ve given away a few pieces that no longer fit — but knowing the number sometimes triggers those negative thoughts. I have to constantly tell myself that I’m doing the best I can with what I’ve got. I try to eat enough, even though it’s incredibly difficult when you’re sick to your stomach all of the time; I take bellydancing even on weeks when I’d rather be dead asleep; I’ve kept up with my art project, which is photography-based and I somehow manage the energy to go out and date (I don’t know how I do that one).

I’m sort of scared of continually getting heavier and never feeling any better. I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired as the saying goes. Can I just take a moment to say that being chronically ill really sucks? Especially when almost no one understands what you’re going through. Even thyroid forums and groups are obsessed with weight loss, which is pretty impossible on its own, but add in a disease that specifically makes you store fat instead of using it?

This is mostly an update post, as I did promise I’d keep you all updated on my disease’s progress. Well… it’s progressing, but I’m not. I’m still stuck in the same ‘ole rut.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. Feminist Cupcake permalink
    August 6, 2014 10:21 am

    Tirosint and a product called methal protect saved my life.

  2. August 6, 2014 10:43 am

    Wishing you the very best as you pursue mental and physical wellbeing. You have the support of many people here who know you’re doing your best with what you’ve got (as you put it yourself). Hold onto that.

  3. August 6, 2014 12:14 pm

    Miracles really do happen, and generally at The Eleventh Hour. But that’s always later than one might think. Adversity, however, always carries a hidden benefit. Even if it takes a LONG time to realize what the benefit was. In any event I wish for you transcendent Joy.

  4. gingeroid permalink
    August 6, 2014 2:01 pm

    My adrenals were the source of my permanausea. Bone broth and ginger were my saving graces. I think the worst part was my mother constantly telling me how good I was looking because not eating does wonders for weight loss. Fortunately I have an awesome endocrinologist who sees weight shifts as an indicator of something off with my metabolism. He got me rebalanced, though I didn’t believe him when he said he could do that. I hope you have some good days ahead.

  5. Lauren permalink
    August 6, 2014 5:30 pm

    I gained almost 100 pounds before they realized it was my thyroid. It took me years to get to the correct dosage of thyroid hormone. And I do much better on natural instead of synthetic. I had to add in some B-vitamins to help my mood and I’m trying a product called iodione plus-2 that seems to help.

    I’m not trying to be a downer, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been there and it will get better eventually. You just have to keep fighting, sometimes even fighting your doctors. I recommend this website about thyroid issues: Good luck!

    • hlkolaya permalink
      August 7, 2014 7:28 am

      hi lauren, thanks, i’ve seen the website and i’m on the facebook group. they’re the ones who convinced me to go off synthroid and onto armour which has helped tons. I keep getting on doses that work wonderfully.. but only for a couple of months and then i get fatigued again and have to up the dose. i’m wondering if this cycle ever ends! I had thyroid disease, untreated, for about ten years.. i just managed to start treating it about a year and a half or so ago. my fear is that there will never be a “right dose” for me because it just keeps changing!

      • Lauren permalink
        August 7, 2014 10:51 am

        I hope that’s not the case! I found that I had to basically treat myself. My doctors would give me a dose and I would feel better, because it had been so bad. But it wasn’t the right dose. As soon as I was in the “average” TSH zone, they considered me treated and fine. But I wasn’t. I finally switched to nurse practitioners who were okay with me taking my TSH down to 1.0 or even lower and running T3 tests, etc. And I added various vitamins that helped like B-complex, fish oil, and even amino acids. It’s ridiculous how difficult it is to get well from thyroid!

        • hlkolaya permalink
          August 7, 2014 11:24 am

          i’ve luckily found a doc who is willing to treat by my symptoms, not my numbers. 🙂 last blood test, my THS was under 1 (.6 i t hink?) but then i started feeling crappy after a few months and had to up my dose again. i upped my dose on my own but called the doctor to make sure that was okay. he said it was as long as i followed up in 4 weeks. he wants to make sure i don’t go hyper, but i don’t have any symptoms of hyper so that’s good.

  6. August 7, 2014 6:10 pm

    Reblogged this on The Cheese Whines and commented:
    As a fellow Person With Shitty Endocrine System, I feel this pain deep in my soul. I’m old enough and mean enough that a shit I don’t give what anybody thinks of my physical appearance–most of the time. I feel better physically since I was diagnosed with diabetes and started treating it. I lost about 30 pounds without even trying. I certainly wasn’t starving myself. I eat more cheese than ever, and I love cheese, so that’s saying a lot!
    In other words, I’ve not been on a low calorie diet. Except for the times when my disordered eating behavior gets the better of me, I don’t starve myself.
    I’m sorry you have to live with nausea. Other than earaches, nausea is the absolute worst. It’s hard enough to live with the problems you describe, but to have to live with them in a world that thinks everybody could just “eat less and exercise more” and bada bing, bada boom, Suddenly Supermodel, it becomes even harder to live with because of the stigma of Living While Fat.
    Physically speaking, I could live with me, even with all the aches and pains. I don’t have severe weakness or chronic nausea. What makes it hard for me a lot of the time is the rapid cycling bipolar disorder, and the fact that I never seem to be able to make any headway in life. No sooner do I solve one crisis than another comes along. Truth be told, a lot of the time I wish I was dead.
    I wish you the best and hope you find some relief from the nausea, pain, and weakness.

  7. August 8, 2014 5:34 am

    I do feel for you. Most people have NO idea & if your health issues are on the inside and don’t immediately hit them in the face…well, you aren’t really sick, are you? Iv’e had hypothyroidism for 10 years and now more weight gain from steroids (due to another autoimmune disease deciding to join the first one).40 Years of disordered eating and then I gain weight from MEDICATION. Oh, the irony of it. However – the alternative isn’t great so I take all the pills and do my best. Be strong – tweaks in diet will make you feel better, your gallbladder will soon be gone. You write such terrific posts despite these issues – I am doubly impressed.

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