Thyroid Tired

thyroid tired

I am sick. I have very unstable hormones. The clinic forgot to refill my medication before my vacation. So I’ve been taking the higher dose pill that was left. When I came back from vacation, I was in the middle of transferring pharmacies and there was a problem with the refill. There was none. These all transpired over the weekend when the Clinic was closed. I’ve been out of Synthroid for a few days. Let me tell you something, it ain’t good at all.

I work in the ER and it’s always busy. But in the middle of charting, I’m falling asleep. Yes I know it’s a dangerous place to work when you’re hypothyroid and you have brain fog. That’s why I move so slow and I had to check the orders with the patient’s name, like, 10x. In ER, you have to move and think fast. In my case, I’d rather be slow than make a mistake.

So on my day off, if exhaustion could kill, I would be dead. I don’t even have the energy of a slow turtle. I’m practically useless. I sleep all day, I wake up and sleep some more. I don’t even have any energy to eat. I called the Clinic after Memorial day to remind them about the refill. I even texted my Charge Nurse to put me in triage or dispo because I ran out of Synthroid. But I wasn’t able to go to work the next day. I wasn’t even able to call in sick. I wasn’t even planning on missing work. My body just didn’t function. So I called the hospital and told them I couldn’t work because I was sick, thyroid sick.

As soon as I got my refill, I went to work the next day even if I know that the medicine hasn’t kicked in yet. Luckily, I have very supportive co-workers. My Charge Nurse even called and asked where I want to work that day. I chose fast track because I don’t have to deal with critical patients. But I’ve been struggling.

The next working day, I had to work in triage with 20+ patients waiting, then got switched to work on the green side at 1pm to care for a patient who got bit by a rattlesnake, with the swelling on her arm rapidly spreading. I still have other patients with pending orders and a Nurse Practitioner who was on my neck asking if I’ve already done the orders when I haven’t even seen the patient. Then another patient came in while I was in the middle of taking care of the snake bite who had a clean room in ICU. I wanted to cry because I know I couldn’t work like I used to.

When I told my co-worker that I’m more exhausted now than I used to, before I got my thyroid removed, she dismissed it as normal. She said she also feels the same and said it will pass. They don’t understand how it is to be thyroid tired! I am not being lazy. I am not making up excuses. I just can’t work in ER anymore.

It’s so frustrating when people don’t understand hypothyroidism. I didn’t, until I had one. When I forget a co-worker’s name, they say that’s normal. When I feel sleepy, it’s normal. When I’m tired, it’s normal! Everyone is sleepy, tired and forget names. And it’s NORMAL!

I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired and no one who understands. My routine was ruined. I couldn’t wake up early to do yoga and meditation. I’ve been gaining weight. I have mood swings. I’m a mess. I haven’t even studied for TOEFL. And I’m so frustrated that my Doctor couldn’t even figure out my Synthroid dose.

It’s a hard battle I’m dealing with. I just hope people would understand.

 

 

 

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Blame it on the Thyroid

Ever since my thyroid was removed, I find it harder to lose weight, had bouts of low energy at work and frequent yawning. Then I just find myself saying, “oh, it’s my thyroid.”

My colleague found the phrase catchy and started using it as a random excuse.

“Oh, shit! I forgot to chart in the trauma flowsheet! Nah, it’s my thyroid!”

“Oooppss! I lost my pen! It’s my thyroid…”

He’s so funny I had tears running down my face.

But seriously, I’m scared. I’ve read a lot about people gaining 20-30 lbs after thyroidectomy. I thought I’d lose weight when I start using Synthroid? Some say when you have a higher dose of Synthroid, you will lose weight. I wonder why my Doctor isn’t increasing my Synthroid dose when my thyroid levels are low? No one even called to schedule me for RAI 6 weeks after the surgery. I wonder if I should call and ask. But then again, I feel skeptic about doing the RAI even if I think I should. 

“It’s my thyroid.”

When I’m irritable, I don’t know which one to blame. Is it PMS or is it my thyroid?

Poor thyroid. Getting all the blame when it’s already gone.

Life After Thyroidectomy

It’s been a whirlwind since the start of 2017. 

2016 was promising. New life. New place. New friends. New job.

But 2017 took me by surprise.

It all started when a colleague noticed a lump in my neck while giving her a report. At first I was like, what? I was trying to feel my neck but I couldn’t feel any lump. Then she guided my hands to the lump and there it was. 

I went to the restroom to check my neck on the mirror. It wasn’t that obvious. But I admit I was kind of bothered. What if it grew? It would look ugly, like I have a goiter or something. So I showed it to my close friend in ER. And she called one of our doctors to take a look at it. So he examined me and said I should try to monitor it. It might be nothing. So I just shrugged it off thinking, hey, maybe it would go away.

I also told this casually to my former preceptor and she was all like, “hey, get it checked. You know Pat? She had the exact same thing. Then for all you know, it turned out to be cancer and she had it removed. If I were you I would go see a doctor right away.”

But the thing here in the US, you can’t just walk in to a clinic to see a doctor. You have to establish a Primary Care Provider before you are seen. I asked one of our Physician Assistant to refer me a PCP. I called the office and I was scheduled for an appointment after 2 months. So the PA referred me to an ENT specialist and I was scheduled to be seen right away.

I went just to put my mind at ease. I know it was nothing. The doctor did an ultrasound and told me that the lump on my left thyroid is bigger than normal. He suggested doing a biopsy to see whether it’s cancerous or not. He made an appointment and I left.

I was afraid of the procedure. It means they would put a long needle on my neck to get some samples. I was so afraid that I cancelled the appointment. I thought to myself this would go away.

But then the PA and my other colleagues urged me to do it. Just so I can have a peace of mind.

So I called the clinic and rescheduled. The procedure was uncomfortable but it wasn’t that bad. The doctor told me he’d call me for the result after 1 week.

I was at work when the doctor called. He started saying that it was cancer. Then he started telling me the next steps and that someone will call me to arrangefor  the schedule of my surgery. They had to remove my whole thyroid.

I was trying to absorb what the doctor just said. The word cancer sounds like a farfetched idea. It seems like he’s talking about another person not me. It feels like I’m watching everything in slow motion. I have to tell J. I went to the breakroom and saw my close friend. So I dragged her inside and told her what the doctor told me. I just found myself crying and hysterical. She called our Charge Nurse so I can go home. I couldn’t talk. I just cried uncontrollably. They tried to pacify me and some of them are also crying with me. The Charge Nurse let me go home. So I called J. 

I didn’t tell J right away. When I told him he was quiet. He just let me cry. When we reached home, he hugged me tight. I just cried and cried. When I felt better, I decided to tell my family about it. My Mom wants to come here immediately. I told her I’ll be fine. 

Before I went home, my Charge Nurse let me talk to Pat, the Nurse who had the same fate as me. She told me everything there is to know about thyroid cancer. She said it’s the most treatable cancer so I don’t have to worry about it.

I just needed some time to absorb the news. I called my agency and they arranged for my short term disability and sick leave. J and I spent the rest of the day at home, with me sulking in bed. The next day, I avoided everybody who is calling. Some friends dropped by the apartment but I told J to tell them I don’t feel like talking or seeing anybody right now.

On my 3rd day, I asked J if we can spend time at the lake. It was freezing outside. We took our thick  jackets, brought some food and went to the lake. It was beautiful and peaceful. We fed the ducks and just sat there admiring the view. We went home and I was feeling much, much better.

The date of the surgery came. It all felt like a movie scene. My colleagues were very supportive of me. The sent me flowers and cards. My friends were there to pay me a visit, gave me flowers and stuffed toy and some food. Everyone was really wonderful.

I had 9 days to stay at home and rest. After that I went back to work like nothing happened. My colleagues were really nice and helpful. I find the first few weeks at work exhausting. But I think my body finally adjusted to the Synthroid I’m taking every morning before breakfast.

I’m doing okay so to speak. I have learned to appreciate life and the people around me more. I am truly blessed for everything despite of. 

Who would’ve thought I’d be able to survive this? I’m amazed myself. I feel like I’m stronger than before. After all, I am a survivor.