September is Thyroid Cancer Awareness Month and I think last week was Invisible Illness Awareness week. Okay, I know someone is probably thinking that this has nothing to do with the adventures of a Black Stay at-home mother, but oh, you don’t know the half. I don’t and have not had thyroid cancer, but I have had my thyroid removed because of a cancer scare. That’s right, I’m walking around with a missing organ. I had my thyroid removed a little over a year ago. If you check out my Instagram, there are some pretty funky pictures of my neck. The scar is barely noticeable, but I still deal with trying to feel like the person I use to be.
I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is basically when your immune system attacks your thyroid, sometimes making you feel hypothyroid (brain fog, fatigue, weight gain). Technically, I don’t have Hashimoto’s because my immune system no longer has anything to attack, but the 2 pills I take everyday don’t always do the trick and I am left with body aches, exhaustion and inflammation. This whole thyroid thing came out of the nowhere and took my life in a completely different direction than what I expected. I use to be quite active. I use to run almost everyday and work out 3 times a week, but now I am just happy to walk my daughter to school. Really, I am happy to do it because there was a time I could barely lift my head up to do anything because the fatigue was so bad.
Okay, I’m going off topic, but I wanted to write this post and impress upon everyone who reads this to CHECK YOUR NECK. I come from a long line of thyroid disease, but I just thought it would never happen to me. Well, it did happen to me and if I would have been keeping an eye on my thyroid, I probably would still have it. I had been living with Hashimoto’s (thyroid disease) for a long time before my body just crashed. Please request labs from your regular doctor to be done yearly if you don’t have a problem and every 6 months if you do have an issue with your thyroid. If you don’t believe that thyroid cancer and thyroid disease are a big issue in our society right now, then do a google search for all of the new cases popping up just in the entertainment world. Doctors call thyroid cancer the “good cancer”, but one only has to look at the late Roger Ebert to know that’s a bunch of crap.
Also, I consider myself to be someone who has an invisible illness. I don’t look sick and I don’t plan too, but when I’m sick my family doesn’t give me any crap about it. This may come off a little rude, but if you know someone who suffers from thyroid disease, fibromyalgia, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, or any other autoimmune disease don’t roll your eyes and think they are just complaining because the truth is (why have I just started crying) we don’t want to be sick. I have just come to except what my body can and cannot do and it has been quite humbling. I have changed my whole diet (paleo baby!). I do yoga. I pray. I light candles and meditate for goodness sake because I want to feel good by any means necessary. Thankfully, I have friends and family who love me and know that this is not some wacky thing I’m making up, but I have seen with my own 2 eyes people put down others like myself by calling them lazy, fat, and cry baby’s. We are not lazy. Our bodies are just attacking us and although the outside world can’t see it, we feel it almost everyday, so cut people with invisible illnesses some slack. Okay?
I have a whole other blog that I haven’t shut down dedicated to my story at http://www.hashimotosmyjourneytogettingbacktome.blogspot.com. If you know someone who has some questions or if you are having some thyroid issues, check it out and also check out Thyroid Sexy, Stop the Thyroid Madness, Thyroid Change, and my personal favorite motivational thyroid blog ZenThyroid on Facebook or their individual sites. Also, don’t forget to CHECK YOUR NECK!