After I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease, I became so obsessed with my labs that I forgot to celebrate the non-lab signs my thyroid was healthier.
I’ll be the first to admit, as thyroid autoimmune warriors we can become really good at tracking the tiny changes in our thyroid hormone blood work.
Which hormone went up?
Which went down?
What did I do differently between blood draws?
Looking back, one thing I realized is that my lab work didn’t always line up with how I was feeling in my body.
The more laser focused I was on the numbers, the more I lost sight of how I was actually feeling.
I’m a huge believer in the idea that our body is constantly communicating with us. And just like it can show us signs of dis-ease, it can show us signs of healing.
I wanted to share some things that for me, were encouraging signs my thyroid was improving— even when my labs didn’t show huge changes.
I HAD MORE ENERGY
We know that the most common signs and symptoms of hyperthyroidism can be debilitating.
For me, one of the biggest struggles I was having before I knew I was actually dealing with Grave’s, was a feeling of chronic fatigue that I’d never felt before.
No matter how much sleep I got or what time of the day it was, I just felt tired.
But when my energy level shifted and I stopped struggling with extreme exhaustion, I knew things were getting better.
Even when my thyroid levels were slow to come down, I eventually started waking up feeling good. I could make it through my entire day without the feeling I was dragging a five hundred pound rock around.
MY HAIR STOPPED SHEDDING
Hair. This is a tough one.
I hate that I ever put so much of my identity and self-esteem into my hair.
But I had always had a lot of it.
Even when I spent too much time with the curling iron or the time I decided I wanted caramel ‘streaks’ (and those streaks fell out), I had never dealt with significant hair loss.
However for most, Grave’s and hair loss go hand in hand and I was no exception. I lost a lot of hair.
However, I knew my thyroid levels were improving when I could put my hair in a ponytail without the elastic randomly sliding off.
MY GOITER WENT DOWN
Not everyone with hyperthyroidism and Grave’s develops an enlarged thyroid but I did.
As a result, it was hard for me to swallow foods and I had developed this chronic cough. As strange as it may sound, even when I found myself choking on certain foods, I never stopped to actually examine my throat.
When my enlarged thyroid started to become less noticeable; when it no longer was the first thing I noticed about myself in mirror, I knew that meant progress.
It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the numbers.
I was obsessed with my thyroid lab numbers for nearly four years. But there came a point when I decided to only focus on what I could control. And tune into my body more for signs my thyroid was improving.
I was staying committed and consistent in doing all that I could to help my body heal. For me, that’s what mattered most.
The truth is: in the same way that we look to our bodies for signs of illness, I believe it’s really important to look to our body for signs of healing and hope.
Curious about my personal journey with thyroid disease? I share more in this blog post.
non-lab signs my thyroid was healthier
May 20, 2021