16 September 2008

Thyroid Disease: The Good Ole Days

Shortly after my third child was born, I started having some strange symptoms. I shook all the time, my hair fell out in clumps, I was constantly starving and ate more food than I could believe, and I had a bunch of other strange symptoms that would be even stranger to post about. But the most amazing symptom of all: I did not need to sleep.

Having a weeks old infant, plus two active little boys, most of these symptoms were easy to explain. Hungry all the time? It's the breastfeeding. Hair falling out? Hormonal shift. Shaking hands? Your totally stressed out, lady!

And I didn't even really think about how much sleep I wasn't getting, since the baby was waking up every few hours anyway. But the symptom that really bothered me was the shaking. Every morning I would tie the boys' shoes, and wonder why my hands were trembling and why I couldn't get my body to be at rest. I eliminated caffiene, no small thing if you know my coffee addiction (yes, even while breastfeeding -- send critical emails to mindyourown@itcouldbeworse.org). But without the coffee, I was still shaking like the last autumn leaf left on the tree.

Time for medical intervention. Turns out I had Graves Disease, a form of hyperactive thyroid disease. It was completely treatable, and after being on medication for a few months (it took awhile), my hands stopped shaking and my eating habits returned to normal.

What do I miss about Graves? Never needing to sleep. I could use that particular malady right about now. Eating an entire box of chocolate biscuits in one sitting. Eating 2 super burritos in one sitting. Eating pretty much everything in sight, and losing weight anyway.

It didn't occur to me until being diagnosed that the amount of energy I had was not normal. That zipping around on 3 or 4 hours of sleep was not just "baby-high." I think Graves Disease is the biggest reason why the 12-hour road trip we took to Portland when Lola was 2.5 weeks old went so smoothly. Not needing to sleep frees up an amazing amount of time you otherwise waste; I got phenomenal amounts of stuff done.

Which leads to my current nostalgia for my days of disease. Given that homework, dinner, and the evening routine took me until 9:55 tonight, I found myself wistfully wishing for my hyperthyroid to return. Just think how much I could get done!

There are alternatives: I could become a meth-mom. I hear they plow through their to-do lists like wacked-out Energizer bunnies. But then I'd have meth-mouth, and that's just gross. I could "just say no" and shorten the to do list, but then the kids would wear dirty socks, people wouldn't eat, and the nice electricity man might find our address on his job list for the day. He would be bringing his big clippers. I could GET ORGANIZED.

I dunno, it seems so much easier to just get a disease that allows me to eat endlessly, never gain weight, and stay up all night.

When I got pregnant with Elizabeth, my doctor told me that the Graves disease would take a little hiatus until after I delivered, but then would likely come back. This was supposed to be a life-long condition. No such luck. It never came back. I am stuck having a regular old need for sleep, gobbling up precious hours of my day.

But here's hoping it returns someday! I will enjoy those days before the meds kick in to their fullest.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Thank you so much. My husband and I both laughed out loud and trust me, it was much needed today.

I absolutely love mindyourown@noneofyourbusiness.org

I will steal it.