Tag Archives: Grave’s Disease

It’s My Hormones …

hormonesIt’s not much fun being fat curvaceous yet existing on a diet of chia balls and raw carrots with a single square of dark chocolate to brighten the dull evenings.

Ever since MS treatment played havoc with my thyroid, it’s swung between being over-active and under-active.

When it was over-active, the weight loss was quite spectacular (sigh), dampened only by ending up in hospital with severe heart palpitations and an inability to sit still for one minute.

Now it’s under-active (and then some), it’s dire. After gaining a pound every single day with my usual eating habits, I knew I needed to take drastic action, hence the carrot sticks.

So, after chomping my way through mounds of vegetables, getting to know my spiralizer (courgette spaghetti, yum), working out what farro is and how to make a lunch out of it and generally becoming a food bore, I haven’t gained a pound. But I haven’t lost any weight either. The unfairness of this is breathtaking.

Anyway, it was with much excitement that I went back for yet another endocrinology appointment last week. Would they reduce the medication, perhaps allowing me a glimmer of hope that I could wear a jolly sweater at Christmas without looking like a bauble? Could I increase my chocolate intake to two squares a night?

First up, the humiliating weigh-in. I tried balancing on one foot, but the nurse caught me out. ‘It’s my hormones’, I told her, ‘honestly‘. She looked at me with pity and waved me back to the waiting room, where I pulled out my never-ending Book Club book – only 1100 pages to go.

Finally, I was called and ushered into a tiny room. The doctor ran through a lot of numbers and letters, pausing every now and again to check some details. ‘You do know your thyroid is now rather under-active?’ Um, yes? Then she said the magic words, ‘I think we’ll halve your medication.’

‘Fabulous! Can I start today? Please?’

She gave me one of those huge hospital prescriptions and told me to take it to my GP, who would then convert it to a normal prescription and then pass it on to the chemist I have a repeat prescription with. Which could take a month. But I had a cunning plan.

On the way home I stopped at a pharmacy and asked if they had a pill-cutter.

‘You’re in luck, this is the last one.’

I drove home, emptied out all the tablets and neatly guillotined them in half.

That evening, I had three squares of chocolate.

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Fat, And Then Some

thyroidThere’s short straws. Then there’s short, fat straws.

The Alemtuzumab treatment I had for MS gave me odds of 1 in 3 that I would develop Grave’s Disease, a thyroid problem.

I was the 1.

At first, it was wonderful, as my loopy thyroid helped me shed pounds effortlessly. I was buoyed up with an incredible amount of energy (the Holy Grail for any MSer) and I sighed with sheer bliss as yet another pair of jeans were consigned to the growing Fat Pile, tucked away at the bottom of my wardrobe.

Enter the endocrinologist who took one look at my thyroid levels and immediately put a stop to my fun, effectively reversing then decelerating my over-active thyroid into a sluggish, bored, tired under-active thyroid.

I cried when I stepped on the scales. I snivelled when I rummaged around my Fat Pile. Every single day I gained a pound. I banished carbs and chocolate (gah) from my diet. I sipped green tea and swirled cinnamon sticks in my natural yoghurt.

I have a fairly physical job, so hoped against hope that this would offset the rapid weight gain. Nope. My Duracell-Bunny hyperactivity had morphed into slow-mo.

At my last meeting with the size-six endocrinologist, I’m not afraid to say I begged. I pleaded and put my case forward: the meds I was taking were of course sorting out the thyroid, but were ruining my life on two levels:

  • Relentless weight gain. I am now a blob of my former self.
  • Extreme lethargy and fatigue. Commonly known as, well, common MS symptoms, so I was having a double-whammy.

She had no mercy and told me I might be on them for a year. A year. At my current rate of weight-gain, I will be dressing in tents with holes cut in them for my head and arms.

It’s getting harder to keep going at work, as weight gain plus fatigue means it takes me hours to recover after just half a day in work. Never before has my nickname, ‘Half-Shift’ been more appropriate. My body and mind shut down at a certain point and I slump onto a pile of bricks, head in hands.

On the plus-side (lol), I am yet again radically over-hauling my diet in a desperate bit to put a stop to the pounds piling on even more than they already are. I have dusted off my kettle-bell. It’s still a door-stop, but I live in hope.

For now, I am experimenting with black clothes and dramatic scarves. Perhaps I should start wearing my heavy, black-rimmed reading glasses again, to draw attention away from my triple-choc muffin top.

And I will have insane pleasure in saying, ‘oh the fat? It’s my thyroid. Honest.’

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