January is Thyroid Awareness month and I missed the designated week this year due to unexpected travel and catch up. However, I didn’t want the month to go by without sharing how such a tiny gland has such a big impact on our family.
According to nahypothyroidism.org, there are 300 symptoms associated with a thyroid dysfunction.
The most common are:
- Cold hands/feet (hypothyroidism)
- Dry skin (hypothyroidism)
- Unexplained weight gain (hypothyroidism)
- Unexplained weight loss (hyperthyroidism)
- Loose bowels/diarrhea (hyperthyroidism)
- Vision issues (Graves’ disease)
- Difficulty swallowing (goiter/thyroid nodules)
From the American Thyroid Association, ATA:
Prevalence and Impact of Thyroid Disease
More than 12 percent of the U.S. population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime.
- An estimated 20 million Americans have some form of thyroid disease.
- Up to 60 percent of those with thyroid disease are unaware of their condition.
- Women are five to eight times more likely than men to have thyroid problems.
- One woman in eight will develop a thyroid disorder during her lifetime.
- Most thyroid cancers respond to treatment, although a small percentage can be very aggressive.
- The causes of thyroid problems are largely unknown.
- Undiagnosed thyroid disease may put patients at risk for certain serious conditions, such as cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis and infertility.
- Pregnant women with undiagnosed or inadequately treated hypothyroidism have an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm delivery, and severe developmental problems in their children.
- Most thyroid diseases are life-long conditions that can be managed with medical attention.
Facts about the Thyroid Gland and Thyroid Disease
The thyroid is a hormone-producing gland that regulates the body’s metabolism—the rate at which the body produces energy from nutrients and oxygen—and affects critical body functions, such as energy level and heart rate.
- The thyroid gland is located in the middle of the lower neck.
- Although the thyroid gland is relatively small, it produces a hormone that influences every cell, tissue and organ in the body.
- Hypothyroidism is a condition where the thyroid gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone. Symptoms include extreme fatigue, depression, forgetfulness, and some weight gain.
- Hyperthyroidism, another form of thyroid disease, is a condition causing the gland to produce too much thyroid hormone. Symptoms include irritability, nervousness, muscle weakness, unexplained weight loss, sleep disturbances, vision problems and eye irritation.
- Graves’ disease is a type of hyperthyroidism; it is an autoimmune disorder that is genetic and estimated to affect one percent of the population.
We are dealing with congenital hypothyroidism and Hashimotos in our home. When our daughter was born, she was slightly jaundiced, a sign of hypothyroidism no one told us about. A month later we learned she “failed” her newborn test because of her thyroid, so we were told to re test because it was most likely a false positive. We of course went that same day.
We waited two weeks for the results, and then I ended up calling. The receptionist read the results, something she was not authorized to do. Weeks later we learned at our daughter’s 2 month check that the receptionist not only read the wrong levels, in her own mailbox was a prescription she was to have called us on for proper thyroid meds. We never got that call.
When Early Intervention stepped in, the first thing they told me was to prepare us for mental retardation. That is how important a functioning thyroid is, and we missed 8 critical weeks of medications. The praise is our daughter is not that diagnosis. There are delays that include short term memory, sequencing and comprehension. This year especially has been tough as we see that play out. She is tired all the time.
When we talked to the doctor overseeing endocrinology in our state back in the day, he did a great job explaining what hypothyroidism meant. He told us to think of the thyroid like a furnace. It kicks on or off depending on what needs to happen. For our daughter, it doesn’t kick on without help. The whole “house” gets cold, even with her meds. Every system in her is slowed. Every. On the flip, a hyperthyroid person would have the furnace running all the time. That helped me a lot.
It boggles my mind such a tiny gland does so much and I grieve how it wreaks such havoc on our child. But we are determined as a family this is just part of who she is—I monitor her health, meds, lab work and advocate for her in school and with doctors. But, she is so much more than that. She’s bling, dance, song, jokes, scarves, pink, romantic, joy, compassionate and crafty.
I hope this gives you a glimpse about the thyroid and why it’s important to be aware of what it does.
Transforming for a Life Worth Living
By Sue A. Fairchild
When I chose to quit my office job back in 2014, I thought it was simply because God wanted me to be a writer and an editor, not an insurance agent. I longed to read words all day long, not ponder over legal documents and settle claims. What I didn’t expect was how God would use the next several years of my life to transform me into a completely new being.
At first, I plugged along, seeking work and trying to find my comfort zone in my new career. Editing work came and I found myself suddenly busy, but something still didn’t seem right to me. Something was missing. Days and weeks passed and soon it was Christmas time. I felt excited because I finally had time to do up Christmas right – I decorated, made a plethora of cookies and other treats, and readied my home for guests. It was freeing to not face the 9-5 grind during the holidays, and I felt like I had all the time in the world to accomplish things. My in-laws were visiting as they do each Christmas and I had planned an overabundance of food and activities for their stay.
But, suddenly, plans changed. The day before Christmas my husband became ill with the flu. He spent the next two days in bed sweating and hallucinating while my guests tried to enjoy themselves. I ministered to my husband and tried to play hostess to my guests at the same time. Christmas Day came and I visited with my folks without my husband in tow. I was so exhausted I fell asleep on my parents’ floor and they soon sent me home saying we would celebrate at a later date. The next day, my in-laws decided to head home—two days early. I felt like a hostess failure.
My husband recovered a few days later, but my mother and father had taken on the flu as well. My mom, who suffers from COPD, was admitted to the hospital and spent the next ten days in the ICU. I visited every day. I checked on my father almost every day as well, cooked him food, and made sure he was getting fluids and medications. I asked for prayer from my church.
My husband and I celebrated New Year’s at my mother’s hospital bedside after being called by a nurse because Mom couldn’t breathe. We feared the worst and it was the most awful four hours of my life, but she made it through and eventually came home. I spent the bulk of the time between Christmas and New Year’s tending to houseguests and sick loved ones. When it was over, I suffered a week of migraines and spent some time in the local ER myself. It seemed like the holidays would never end.
But they did and life went back to normal. Once again I immersed myself in my new career and took on new clients. I was beginning to hit my stride, and I felt like my choice to leave my office job had been the right one. This was my calling.
Then, in January of 2016, my father had a heart attack and had to have double bypass surgery. Once again, I found myself tending to a sick loved one. For almost two months, I visited him every day and helped him to recover. Depression hit my father after weeks of being in bed. I prayed for him and almost never left his side. Slowly, he recovered and, once again, I returned to the normalcy of my job.
During those two years, I often commented that if God had not led me away from my 9-5 office job, I wouldn’t have had the time to dedicate to my parents or my husband during their times of illness. If I hadn’t left the security of a weekly paycheck, my parents would have had to face many challenges alone. Although the transition has been a financially difficult one, I can’t help but think that God used that time to transform me not into an editor, but into a caregiver.
Now, when I wake every day, I wonder what God might have in store and how I might be used in the life of another. I see my newfound career for what it is—merely a means to an end. I am placed here without the restraints of a desk job in order that God may use me fully for His purposes. Each and every day I am being transformed into someone whom He can utilize for His greater good. In the end, it was not about the job after all, but about the life.
Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.
Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?
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If people saw less of us and more of Jesus, it would make a radical and significant impact on those around us. Read this exciting perspective on experiencing the sacred in the ordinary and loving others as Jesus loves us.
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Davis’s own life was dramatically altered when he first came face-to-face with Jesus living inside a green-eyed brunette. That encounter started a forty-plus-year journey where Jesus became his best friend. When we see others as God sees us we will love them as God loves us.
Those hurting and weary from worn-out religion are longing for a fresh touch from the living Jesus. By letting Jesus live through us we become a conduit of His love. Authentic Christianity is not about religion but a relationship with Jesus. Davis challenges us to do more than simply receive His grace — we need to allow grace to soften, change, and shape us. As you read this book, you will laugh, cry, and come face-to-face with the living Jesus.
This book definitely had me curious, simply by title. It didn’t take long before I was completely captivated by the author’s story, and the testimonies included. They are all inspiring, but I think the one about the man who was crushed and lost his intestines—wow. That’s all I’m going to say. Wow.
If you aren’t sure what the big deal is about Jesus, or, if you tend to view Him as a stern guy who is mad at you, read this book and realize Jesus is mad FOR you. I loved this book and highly recommend it.
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I received this book in exchange for review.