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Your Journey Is Right On Time

I am so honored to introduce you to Kelly Shadix, thyroid warrior.  Kelly is an integral part of our amazing thyroid community on Twitter, always supporting the rest of us with kindness and positivity.  Kelly’s openness in relaying her experience is inspiring and I am grateful that she has shared her thyroid story with us.  Follow Kelly on Twitter @ShadixKelly.

Sometimes what you’re most afraid of doing is the very thing that will set you free”

 

Kelly

My name is Kelly Shadix.  I’m 42, will be 43 in March.  A mother of two and married almost 20 years.

This is my Thyroid Story:

I was 37 years old when I first noticed a change in my body.  At first I thought it was new stress from leaving my job, which by the way I was very unhappy with for a long time.  It wasn’t till later that I realized Hashimoto’s is brought on by stress.  My body seemed to start breaking down, muscle weakness, extreme fatigue, hair loss, mood swings, anxiety, weight gain, and last but not least and this is a big one – zero focus!  My mind is all over the place like the quote “My brain has too many tabs open”.  Yep, that’s me all the time!

It wasn’t until a dry (constant) cough that started and never went away did I start to realize something was wrong.  At first of course I tried to play it down to friends & family “it’s no big deal-just a cough it will go away”… well it didn’t.  I became so self-conscious of my cough when I was out running errands, son’s baseball games, at the movies, shopping.  I was constantly popping honey cough drops everywhere I went to sooth my throat.

I remember one day talking to my mom over the phone and she said “Kelly, why do you keep coughing?”  And of course I said many excuses to her, its nothing, no big deal!  I will go see a doctor soon. I said this just to pacify her, so she wouldn’t worry.  But I did worry!  It’s funny how talking to my mom made me realize my cough could be something more!?  Moms always seem to know when something is not right.

I began so many cough/combination and over-the-counter allergy medications and doctor visits, only to say, “This is not working either” over two years.  It was starting to wear me down.  Finally, my doctor recommended for me to see an allergist to get tested.  All came back negative for indoor/outdoor allergies but we tried a new medication(s) just in case something might work.  Well, it didn’t…I can’t even remember all the different trial-runs of medications I went through; it’s all a blur to me now.

I got a referral to see an ENT.  Okay, so this is where my Thyroid Journey truly begins.  This moment will stay with me for as long as I live.  My ENT doctor, who I call Dr. B, sat me down in his office to begin an exam of my neck.  He barely touched my throat and stopped to press in, as if he found what he was looking for, then stood back and calmly said, “You have a nodule”.  I remember just sitting there not realizing what his words meant.  A nodule?  What is a nodule and why is it in my throat?  Dr. B was so patient with me, explained that we can have it biopsied and not to worry, that its chances of being cancerous were very slim.  He went on to explain percentages and biopsy procedures, but it all went over my head. My mind was stuck on the word “cancer”.  What?  How can this be happening to me?

After leaving the doctor’s office my mind shifted from worry to detective.  I guess this is when I became my own advocate, although it never occurred to me at the time that was what I was doing.  I called my mom ASAP!  When I told her about my nodule, she said she had a nodule for as long as she could remember and doctors just told her to get it checked every so often to make sure it wasn’t growing.  I was stunned!  She then told me about my great-grandmother dying from thyroid cancer.  Apparently, before she died her goiter or nodule got so big that it was hard for her to lay down flat without feeling like she was choking and couldn’t breathe.

At my next scheduled appointment with Dr. B I told him my family history and that I wanted to skip the biopsy and go straight to surgery!  I wanted the nodule removed.  Surprisingly he agreed to my request to have the nodule removed and get it tested during surgery.  Dr. B also felt the nodule was pressing against my vocal cords and that could be causing my cough.  I wanted it done immediately!  The cough was not my worries anymore, if anything it was my body trying to tell me something was wrong!  In August of 2011, I had a partial-thyroidectomy. The good news was the nodule was benign.  The bad news was they found another nodule on the right side which was too small to remove.  In recovery, I felt like I was hit by train.  Thankfully, one of my good friends is a nurse who helped me with the bandages and told me what to what to expect with my recovery.

During this time, my twin-sister Penny went to get her thyroid checked.  She also had nodules and had a biopsy done.  The biopsy came back inconclusive.  Penny decides to have a total-thyroidectomy and they find capillary cancer.  The doctors said she was extremely lucky, because the cancer spread to her lymph nodes, which they removed nine of.  Following her surgery she had to do radiation.  As of today she is “cancer free” and doing well, but is having a hard time adjusting without her thyroid.

Six months following my partial-thyroidectomy surgery, I had a follow-up with Dr. B and found out that the nodule on my right side was growing.  I requested Penny’s medical records for my doctor to review.   We discussed my options to continue monitoring my nodule or go ahead with a total-thyroidectomy.  I opted for a total-thyroidectomy.  Benign or NOT, I wanted to be pro-active and not take any chances!   My intuition told me to get it done!  This was my choice.  My doctor thankfully agreed with me.  Aside from experiencing low-calcium levels right after surgery, all went well.  No cancer!  My sister, mom and I agreed that “my cough” and persistent follow-ups potentially saved my sister’s life.  Listening to your body is so important!  Little things could turn out to be big things!

I don’t think I could have ever imagined how hard I would struggle without my thyroid.  I thought after my surgery the worst would be over, little did I realize the hardest struggle of my life had just begun.  Diagnosed with Hashimoto’s and hypothyroid.  All I knew was to take my thyroid meds every day at the same time and get blood work done every three months.  Four months after my surgery and taking Synthroid, I knew it was not working for me.  Brain-fog, skin irritation, irritable, no energy!  It was just the beginning.  I thought I was losing my mind, and didn’t know what was wrong with me.  I finally went to my doctor and my TSH was 7.11 – it was high!  No wonder I felt like a ZOMBIE.  I requested to switch my Synthroid to Armour, but my doctor would not do it.  I knew Synthroid was not the right medication for me.

So, during this time I continued to get worse and gain weight no matter how much I exercised or ate.  I even had a trainer work with me.  I wasn’t aware at the time how important gluten-free was, or adrenal fatigue.  I became a different person seemingly overnight!  I knew if I was going to get better I had to accept where I was at that moment and move forward.  I let myself get stuck and depressed.  I had to start healing myself from the inside before I could even think about my hair falling out, weight gain, mood swings, brain fog etc.  Changing my attitude was important.  I got lost in the anger and not realizing what was happening to my body.  Also, during this time, the stress of my health put a strain on my family and relationships.

I knew to get healthy I had to find answers…

I began to search the web.  I came across so many great thyroid advocates on Facebook.  But the one that stood out and gave me hope was Dana, a.k.a. Hypothyroid Mom.  I read Dana’s blog and I literally felt compelled to contact her immediately!  I had no idea what to say at that time, except thank you.  I know that seems crazy, but her words touched me, and I knew from that day on it was going to be okay!   Getting off Synthroid was my first priority. I did a year on Tirosint/Cytomel and I was JUST okay for a while.  After three doctors, I finally found one who had no problem putting me on Armour.  I began to feel better almost immediately.  I feel so bad that so many women are taking Synthroid only, or “T4 Hell” I like to call it.  I’m still a work in progress.  I plan to get my hormones checked and a saliva test for adrenal fatigue.  Weight is my #1 issue that I know will always be a challenge for me.  It is going to take time and patience.  I realized that many things will not be the way they used to be and I’m okay with that now.

My hope by telling my story is that it will give someone hope to know that you can overcome this disease.  It will always be day-to-day with what your body can do.  Most days, I feel like I can do it all, some days just enough and there are days I don’t want to get out of bed.  What worked for me might not work for you.  And don’t give up if you think something is wrong!  The hardest part for me was to get the ball rolling and find a doctor who will listen.  I’m thankful for Dr. B and for all that he has done for me.

And last but not least, Mikelle.   I am so thankful to have found you on Twitter and what a great friend and inspiration you are to me.  I was truly honored to be your first guest post.  Thank you for getting me started with meditation.  You are such a beautiful person and so helpful on easing my fears about writing my story.  I love following you on Twitter and on your blog www.zenthyroid.com.  I can relate too many of your struggles on thyroid issues.  I love your perspective and how you overcome by having such a positive outlook on life.

 

“YOUR JOURNEY…

Has molded you for the greater good it was exactly what it needed to be.  Don’t think you’ve lost time.  It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now

                                                                         IS RIGHT ON TIME”      -ASHA TYSON

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.zenthyroid.com/2014/02/25/journey-right-time/

18 comments

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  1. Miss Diagnoses

    Amazing story and great new website design! Are you WordPress.org now? It looks beautiful. I just started Armour myself, although I am a bit worried about the buyout of Forest Labs.

    1. Mikelle

      I agree, Kelly’s story is amazing and I am so grateful that she chose to share it here. Thanks for the words on the new look. You are so kind! I have been on wp.org but was using a free theme that I couldn’t figure out before. Now I am using a paid theme that I still can’t figure out but at least it does most of the work for you :) I hope all will be well with Forest Labs. I will visit your great blog to get updates on how you are feeling on Armour. Love your latest post on meditation!

      1. Miss Diagnoses

        Thank you, Mikelle! I’m still figuring out my WordPress theme and I’m using the default 2011 theme. I’m so NOT a computer person LOL… I hope I am still subscribed to you because it didn’t say “following” when I clicked here. I’m following you with my other email address just to be safe. :-) The Armour seems good so far… hopefully I will hear back soon about the dosage issue.

        1. Mikelle

          SO happy to hear that the transition to NDT has been smooth so far. Definitely let me know what your doc says! Hope your weekend is wonderful :)

  2. Elaine Gorman

    Kelly,
    Your story is truly inspirational. You are brave and beautiful. You are a role model for other readers, your sister, and your children. Mikelle was spot on to have you be the first story on zenthyroid. May all that you wish for be half of what you receive.

    Warmly, Mikelle’s mom

  3. Dana Trentini

    What a powerful article written by my friend Kelly Shadix. How amazing to have two of my favorite people together here Kelly and Mikelle. Thank you for including me in this beautiful piece.
    Dana Trentini recently posted…Are you having a hypothyroid freak out? 10 ways to push the reset buttonMy Profile

    1. Mikelle

      Thank you so much for your comment Dana. Kelly’s post is truly beautiful and written as if you are listening to a friend tell her story. Your inclusion in her story is one that I know many can relate to – you have inspired us, supported us, educated us, united us and given hope to our thyroid tribe. You have helped so many of us find our voice.

  4. Lela Seagle

    Thank you so much for sharing, I have had 3 Dr’s refuse to change my meds because my levels are “normal”!! I am seeing a new Dr. on March 4th and praying for better results.

    1. Mikelle

      Hi Lela~ It is beyond frustrating to have symptoms, feel terrible and have doctors do nothing. Good for you for making the choice to change docs again! Best of luck with your new doc and definitely let me know how things go, if you feel so inclined. I hope you will be tested at the very least for free T3, free T4 and antibodies, along with TSH. Would be wonderful if your new doc also tested your Vitamin D, ferritin and hormones. I will be thinking of you and sending love your way.

  5. Pat

    Thank you so much for being so brave. You are doing exactly what I aspire to. I have to get a bit better before I can, but I’m not finished yet!

    1. Mikelle

      I agree with you completely Pat…Kelly’s courageousness is a quality I aspire to have as well! You let me know when you are ready :) Thank you for always being such a supportive member of our thyroid tribe on Twitter @RNPat

  6. caroline smith

    Hi I was Born without a Thyroid Gland I was born in 1960 and they did not find out till I was 13 months old when the damage was already done. I Could not even Sit up on my own and my Tongue was too Big for my Mouth and my Bones was not growing and I was not Sleeping very well that my Mum and Dad had to take turns doing Night Shifs. And my Mum was not very happy so she got to see her Doctor and then sent me to Hospital and did all kinds of Tests and that is when the Specialist found out that I was Born without a Thyroid Gland and the damage was done by then. I have a bit of Brain Damage. And the Doctor Kendell said I really should be Dead and that it is very Rare not to be born without a Thyroid and I had to start taking Thyroxine Tablets all my Life. I still have a lot of problems like feeling really Cold.and get very Depressed and a few other problems. I have got 2 Grown up Children and they are both ok the Doctors said that I might not be able to have any Babies but proof them wrong there. I also have got Oste Arthritis and Asthma now and I am in so much server pain all the time.and so very Tired. I have got a so called friend who keeps saying that there is nothing wrong with me and it is all in my Bloody Mind and that I do not even need my Tablets and said they are doing me more harm than good. So last year I stop taking my Thyroxine Tablets for over 3 months and I nearly Died from Heart Failure. And my GP went mad and she said the the Hell does she think she is. And I told her that she thinks she knows it all and that she is right. And she keeps saying that I am wasting the Doctors time and I am costing the N.H.S. A lot of money and that I love all the attention from the Doctors and Nurses and I love being in Hospital it is a Holiday for me and my second Home. And she keeps saying that its all in my Mind and I need to see a Head Shrink and I really need a good Kick up my Backside. And when my Mum was alive she explained to her about what was wrong but she still would not have it one bit. And she as been telling People total strangers on the Bus or Street that there is nothing wrong with me and she said that I am not Disabled and that I do not even need my Crutches to get out with. And I have had total Strangers coming up to me being really nasty to me saying that I do not need my Crutches and that there is nothing wrong with me. And I said hell do they know what is wrong with me because I have not got a broken Arm or Leg in Plaster they think that you are putting it all on and I get a lot of abuse from Strangers because of my so called Friend. And because it is inside my Body they cannot see it. And it really gets me Down that I feel I wish I was Dead and I never asked to be Born this way and I really wished I had Died when I was Born as I would be really better off Dead.

    1. Mikelle

      Caroline~ I am glad that you found this site – you are always heard and supported here. It sounds like you have been through so much suffering, dealing with people who do not understand what you are going through. It is hard enough dealing with the struggles of thyroid disease without others not listening to you. If you are on Twitter and Facebook, there is an amazing thyroid community to interact with and get to know. Let me know if you are interested and I can suggest some great people to follow to get you started. Keep fighting and know that you are not alone. With love, Mikelle

  7. Lainey

    I loved Kelly’s story, she hung in there and the end result not only helped her but her sister too! I am 58 Hypo.been on Synthroid forever and never gave it a thought that my feeling so darn lousy with fatigue,massive weight gain and most attractively located right in my abdomen. But in the past two years I have gotten progressively worse with these and many more symptoms. Don’t ask me how it happened but about a month ago I came across Dana’s ThyroidMom site and as I began to read the comments from women (mostly), I literally sat frozen as I continued to soak or lap up additional information from all of the articles. Needless to say I had been telling my mom for two years that something was wrong with me,physically I am a trainwreck and emotionally not far behind it. As per the norm, my physician is really nice but again for two years I haven’t been able to really get her interested in helping me to find out what is going on with me. She will order the usual TSH period, which has come back abnormal twice in four months and continues to increase my Synthroid but my symptoms remain the same.So here’s the bottom line, I have an appt, March 24th with her, I am going in there loaded for bear with my new found Thyroid info/and the medication that I want to try/and to request labs. because I can see that unless I aggressively advocate for myself on this, I’m never going to get better and may get worse. Meanwhile I am also going to try and get an appt. with an Endo.doc. Now that I have blabbed and blabbed, everyone is probably starting to fall asleep…….the most important message I want to convey here is if not for Dana, Mary and all the doctors and their websites and all the women who have been so honest with their comments and misery,I wouldn’t have a plan (at least) and I wouldn’t feel like just maybe there might be hope for me and even if all my tests come back and I’m miserable for some other reason that being Hypo.,I will always be so grateful to Dana. To think that this journey that I am about to begin would never have been possible without Dana and I can’t begin to thank her enough. Thank you Dana,
    Lainey

    1. Mikelle

      Hi Lainey! You sound like one empowered woman and I LOVE IT! I am so excited for you as you advocate for the care that you deserve and would love it if you came back and let me know what your doc says. Also, when searching for a new endo, you may want to be sure that doc will be open to prescribing NDT (NatureThroid or Armour) if necessary. We should have ALL options available to us. If you need resources for finding a doctor, check out this post by Hypothyroid Mom, if you haven’t already. It is chock full of lists compiled by thyroid advocates and patients for recommended providers. Good luck on your journey and thank you so much for taking the time to share a bit about your journey. Stop back by anytime you feel like sharing more!

  8. Vicki

    I am forever grateful to Dana for her article on thyroid disease and ADD. I was diagnosed with ADD years ago, and I never connected it to my thyroid. For a while, I took Adderall, which is chemically similar to speed. I stopped because it kept me up all night and made me have bursts of energy and then crash. When I started taking T3, my ADD symptoms improved. When I started Armour recently, my ability to focus got even better (it’s still bad, because I have fibro and Lyme as well as thyroid disease, but it has improved). I think a lot of us are diagnosed with psych problems such as ADD and depression, and it’s really just our thyroids. Mikelle, this is such a great idea … to create a forum where we can all come and share our stories. Love it so much!

    1. Mikelle

      Vicki~ I have learned SO MUCH by reading your amazing blog. The layers of issues that you are managing is staggering. Thanks for pointing out how the psychological symptoms of thyroid disease are sadly too often misdiagnosed. It is stories like yours that are educating the thyroid community and encouraging patients to dig deeper to find answers. I am really glad that the Armour is helping with your focus and other symptoms as well, another victory for NDT. I encourage everyone reading this to visit Vicki’s site http://missdiagnoses.com/. She is truly a special (and hilarious) voice in our thyroid community!!!!

  9. Vicki

    Thank you so much for saying that! Awww! You are the best! Yeah, I hope my blog can be informative and I’m glad someone gets my goofy sense of humor. Thank you so much for posting the link as well. It is actually http://missdiagnoses.com/ (Miss Diagnoses, plural with an e). There is actually someone else who is Miss Diagnosis with an i….I didn’t realize I had picked such a popular blog name, LOL.
    Vicki recently posted…This Week in Medical LimboMy Profile

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