I received an email that asked, “Is your thyroid making you fat?” Well of course it is! Don’t fool yourself into believing that it is the Little Debbie Cakes and the deep-fried foods – oh, no it’s that pesky thyroid upsetting the apple cart – or conversely, turning me into a pear.
About seven years ago I was convinced that I had a thyroid issue when I kept putting on weight. Of course I went through the regular self-check on this front, namely confirming or denying pregnancy. My feelings to the answer were mixed. First I thought, “Whew, no pregnancy, hallelujah for that!” Then I thought, “What, no pregnancy, why am I gaining weight then?” That is when I became convinced that a medical mystery may be involved.
Now, I don’t know what you have heard about thyroids but they can really muck up your life. Whether it is hypothyroidism (too slow) or hyperthyroidism (too fast) it is nothing to joke about. That pesky thyroid can have a powerful impact on your life. I think more folks are familiar with hypothyroidism which is a notorious culprit for unexplained weight gain (among other things), but slow or fast the thyroid can wreak havoc on your health.
I have always fancied myself as an excellent “self-diagnoser” (yes, I made up that word and yes I know it sounds a bit derogatory and filthy – a name you might attach to someone despicable – but it works for me so please go with it). I am fascinated with the way the body works and all the systems interact. Prior to the days of internet, I had a collection of the big medical dictionaries that I would use to ferret out a diagnosis. Then I would go to the doctor to see if my brilliance was on point. A hearty success rate with this approach cemented in my mind the fact that I was an excellent “self-diagnoser”.
I so enjoy the puzzle of diagnostics that I have often thought I should have been a doctor, but the blood and guts part has always held me back. The best I could hope for is to play a doctor on T.V. My agent has not called – so, in the meantime I have spent years honing my diagnostic talents at home.
As such, it was no surprise that I self-diagnosed my thyroid condition. I spent hours researching my symptoms (weight gain and sluggishness) and learning about the potential causes and I came to the conclusion that I had hypothyroidism. Having successfully self-diagnosed I set up an appointment with a doctor to confirm my diagnosis. I was not pensive when I met with the doctor about something being wrong with me – oh, no I went right to the point and said I believe I have hypothyroidism (no need for him to waste time diagnosing given my skills as a “self-diagnoser”).
As he sent me off to the lab I could detect a slight smirk on his face and I thought to myself, “He is getting a kick out of how great a “self-diagnoser” I am.” So I completed the lab work and waited. Now, I happened to know one of the nurses that worked at Meritcare (we both lived in Kindred at the time) and wouldn’t you know it – she was working that day when I lugged my sluggish, gaining weight body in to confirm my diagnosis. Confident in my diagnosis, I shared with her my thoughts about the pending confirmation of my hypothyroidism diagnosis.
Well, you have probably already guessed by now that upon the doctor’s review of the lab tests it was concluded that I did not have hypothyroidism. The doctor was gracious enough to offer that it was probably just my metabolism slowing with age and suggested that I try diet and exercise. Ugggh – the indignity of it all.
As I was walking out of my meeting with the doctor I had to own up to the nurse I knew from Kindred that my diagnosis was wrong. She told me that I was not alone in my misdiagnosis on this front. She told me that many women my age think they have thyroid issues when they start gaining weight. In one fell swoop I went from excellent “self-diagnoser” to just another middle-aged woman in need of diet and exercise. Lovely.
So years later when I get the email asking, “Is your thyroid making you fat?” – I am reminded that all I can attribute to my thyroid is confirmation of my own stupidity.
“Is your thyroid making you fat?”…well take it from an excellent “self-diagnoser” – cut out the Little Debbie Cakes and the deep-fried foods and take a few walks around the block before you go see the doctor. That is, of course, unless you could possibly be pregnant. In that case don’t do anything until you know for sure – no need to move to drastic measures (such as giving up Little Debbie Cakes and the deep-fried foods and taking up exercise) unless absolutely necessary. Trust me on this…I am not a doctor, but some day I hope to play one on T.V.
Day thirty-two of the new forty – obla di obla da