The Ugly Truth of life after Thyroid Cancer…

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Did you know there are 300 different side effects and symptoms of hypothyroidism… YES 300… The past year has been one of the most difficult years of my life to say the least and not to cut Bobby short, I’m sure this year hasn’t been his most favorite either. Never the less, he has been a trooper through it all.

The plan was never originally for me to ride that hypo line. I had a long discussion with my doctor about how I was OVER being tired, sad and angry all the time (and that was just barely scratching the surface of how I felt.) I wanted to have too much energy, be extremely happy and never have anxiety again… Unfortunately that is not how this works. They can give me a higher dosage of Levothyroxine but over time my body will adjust leaving me just below that hyper line and into hypo territory. The only way to fix it is to keep upping my dosage but eventually that will lead me to taking a fist full of pills instead of the microscopic one pill I have to take every morning at 6 am. (Did I mention I have to take this pill to remain as human as possible? I probably won’t die if I stop taking it but my body will stop functioning maybe leading to a slow death or extreme obesity) So I shall ride the Hypo line which means I face a good chunk of these 300 symptoms every day:

I have highlighted the particular symptoms I face regularly to give you an example of how common these side effects are. 

Energy Level and Sleep:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Less stamina than others
  • Long recovery period after any activity
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Sleep apnea
  • Snoring
  • Insomnia
  • Need naps in the afternoon
  • Weakness
  • Wake feeling tired
  • Frequently oversleep

Weight:

  • Weight gain
  • Inability to lose weight
  • Ascites (abdominal fluid accumulation)
  • Metabolic Syndrome
  • Weight loss
  • Anorexia
  • Heightened appetite
  • Diminished appetite
  • Obesity

Body Temperature:

  • Cold extremities
  • Cold sweats
  • Night sweats
  • Heat intolerance
  • Cold intolerance
  • Internal shivering
  • Hypothermia
  • Cold hands
  • Clammy palms
  • Cold feet
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Little perspiration
  • Low basal body temperature (below 97.8 degrees Fahrenheit)

Slowness:

  • Slow movements
  • Slowed Achilles reflex
  • Diminished reflexes
  • Slow speech

Infections:

  • Frequent infections
  • Chronic illness
  • Low immune system
  • Frequent colds
  • Frequent flus
  • Susceptibility to bronchitis
  • Hard time recovering from infections
  • Recurrent sinus infections
  • Recurrent skin infections
  • Recurrent ear infections
  • Recurrent nose infections
  • Recurrent throat infections
  • Candida (yeast)
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Repeated urinary tract infections
  • Upper respiratory tract infections

Related Autoimmune or Endocrine Diseases:

  • Hashimoto’s Disease
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Type 2 Diabetes
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Addison’s disease
  • Cushing’s disease
  • Pernicious Anemia
  • Premature ovarian decline
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Alopecia
  • Reynaud’s syndrome
  • Sjögren’s syndrome
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sarcoidosis
  • Scleroderma
  • Vitiligo
  • Psoriasis

Swelling and Thickened Skin of:

  • Eyes
  • Face
  • Lips
  • Neck
  • Hands
  • Arms
  • Legs
  • Feet
  • Ankles
  • Lymphedema
  • Lipodema

Mouth and Throat:

  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sensation of lump in throat
  • Sensation of pressure on throat
  • Pain and tenderness in neck and/or thyroid area
  • Difficulty taking deep breath
  • Goiter
  • Thyroid nodule
  • Burning sensation in throat
  • Sore throats
  • Swollen tongue
  • Choking fits
  • Distorted sense of taste (Dysgeusia)
  • Salt cravings
  • Sweet cravings
  • Speech problems
  • Dry mouth
  • Halitosis (bad breath)
  • Propensity for cavities
  • Propensity for gum disease
  • Low, husky, hoarse voice
  • Bleeding gums
  • Receding gums
  • Irritated gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Persistent teeth clenching
  • TMJ

Ears:

  • Oversensitive hearing
  • Noises in ears (hissing, ringing)
  • Deafness
  • Tinnitus
  • Internal itching of ears
  • Dry, scaly ear canal
  • Excess earwax
  • Vertigo

Eyes:

  • Poor focusing
  • Double vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Gritty eyes
  • Achy eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Drooping eyelids
  • Sensitive to light
  • Frequent tics in the eyes
  • Spasms of the eyelids
  • Bulging of the eyeballs
  • Red inflamed eyes
  • Dark rings under eyes
  • Puffiness around the eyes
  • Rapidly shifting gaze making you feel dizzy
  • Problems with night vision
  • Glaucoma
  • Cataracts

Hair:

  • Hair loss
  • Dry hair
  • Frizzy hair
  • Brittle hair
  • Coarse hair
  • Finer hair
  • Premature baldness
  • Premature gray hair
  • Change in hair texture
  • Body hair loss
  • Eyelash loss
  • Facial hair in women
  • Thinning or loss of outside third of eyebrows

Nails:

  • Brittle
  • Pale
  • Soft
  • Yellowish
  • Ridged
  • Striated
  • Thickened
  • Ingrown toenails

Skin:

  • Dry skin
  • Dry itchy scalp
  • Flaky skin
  • Cracked heels
  • Coarse patches
  • Yellowish or amber tint to their skin
  • Dry mucous membranes
  • Pale skin
  • Pale lips
  • Boils
  • Pigmentation in skin creases
  • Rashes
  • Skin tags
  • Dermographia (wheals)
  • Eczema
  • Impetigo
  • Cellulitis
  • Easy bruising
  • Tendency to form blood clots
  • Slow wound healing
  • Hemophilia
  • Bumps on legs
  • Acne
  • Breakout on chest and arms
  • Raynaud’s Phenomenon (discoloration of digits)
  • Chronic itching
  • Varicose veins
  • Premature aging
  • Melasma
  • Parchment-like fine wrinkles
  • Red butterfly patch over cheeks and nose
  • Absence or diminished perspiration
  • Moles and warty growths
  • Lichen Sclerosus
  • Vitiligo
  • Allergies
  • Hives

Numbness and Tingling:

  • Legs
  • Feet
  • Arms
  • Hands
  • Back
  • Face

Pain:

  • Migraines
  • Chronic headaches
  • Chronic back and loin pain
  • Wrist pain
  • Muscles and joint pain
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (hands or forearms)
  • Tarsal Tunnel syndrome (legs)
  • Joint stiffness
  • Tendonitis
  • Heel spur
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Arthritis
  • Gout
  • Painful soles of feet
  • Muscle cramps
  • Aching bones
  • Aching muscles
  • Joint pain
  • Fibromyalgia

Digestion:

  • Constipation
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Hard stools
  • Loss of appetite
  • Food allergy
  • Food sensitivity
  • Alcohol intolerance
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Lactose intolerance
  • Celiac Disease
  • Gluten Sensitivity/Intolerance
  • Colitis
  • Abdominal distention
  • Weight gain in abdominal area
  • Protruding abdomen in children
  • Diverticulosis
  • Excess gas
  • Flatulence
  • Nausea
  • Ulcers
  • Acid Reflux
  • Excessive belching
  • GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)

Menstrual Disorders:

  • Cessation of periods (amenorrhoea)
  • Scanty (light) periods (oligomenorrhoea)
  • Heavy periods (menorrhagia)
  • Irregular periods
  • Very short cycles
  • Very long cycles
  • Severe cramping
  • Failure to ovulate
  • Constant bleeding
  • Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
  • Premenstrual tension (PMT)
  • Extreme bloating and water retention
  • Premature or delayed puberty
  • Premature or delayed menopause
  • Difficult menopause
  • Hysterectomy
  • Endometriosis
  • Ovarian fibroids
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Reproductive Disorders and Pregnancy:

  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage
  • Still birth
  • In vitro fertilization failure
  • Donor egg failure
  • Abnormal estrogen levels
  • Abnormal progesterone levels
  • Abnormal testosterone levels
  • Drop in sperm count
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of libido
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Painful sex
  • Breasts leaking milk (but not lactating or breastfeeding)
  • Fibrocystic breast disease
  • Maternal anemia
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Pre-eclampsia
  • Placental abruption
  • Postpartum hemorrhage
  • Prolonged labor
  • Inability to dilate
  • Poor wound healing
  • Pain in and around c-section scar
  • Difficulty breast-feeding
  • Low breast milk supply
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Long gestation
  • High birth weight
  • Newborn with deficits in intellectual development
  • Newborns with jaundice
  • Autism
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Birth defects

Emotional:

  • Tension
  • Irritability
  • Wanting to be solitary
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Personality changes
  • Feelings of resentment
  • Jumpy
  • Easily startled
  • Lack of confidence
  • Nervousness

Other Related Conditions:

  • Adrenal Fatigue
  • Anemia
  • Hyponatremia (low blood sodium)
  • Lack of coordination
  • Clumsiness
  • Tendency to fall
  • Dizziness
  • Fainting episodes
  • Tremor
  • Growth disturbances in children
  • Chronic allergies
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Restless Leg Syndrome
  • Rhabdomyolysis (destruction of skeletal muscle)
  • Scoliosis
  • Osteoporosis
  • Hernia

Brain:

  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Memory loss
  • Confusion
  • Brain fog
  • Mental sluggishness
  • Poor concentration
  • Noises and/or voices in head
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Mania
  • Phobias
  • Obsessions
  • Alcohol & substance abuse
  • Rage
  • Loss of drive
  • Personality disorders
  • Schizophrenia
  • Postpartum Depression
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
  • Nightmares
  • Bipolar
  • Suicide
  • ADHD
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Parkinson’s Disease

Kidney and Bladder:

  • Albuminuria (protein in urine)
  • Urinary incontinence
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Decreased output of urine
  • Interstitial cystitis (chronic bladder problems)
  • Urinary incontinence while sleeping
  • Kidney stones
  • Recurrent kidney infections
  • Recurrent bladder infections
  • Irritable bladder syndrome
  • Chronic kidney failure

Gallbladder:

  • Gallbladder Disease
  • Gallstones

Liver:

  • Liver tenderness and enlargement
  • Congestion of the liver
  • Elevated liver enzymes
  • Hypoglycemia

Lungs:

  • Asthma
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Air hunger
  • Pleural effusion (fluid around the lung)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tightness in chest
  • Pneumonia

Heart:

  • High blood pressure
  • Low blood pressure
  • Slow/weak pulse (under 60 bpm)
  • Fast pulse (over 90 bpm at rest)
  • Arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat)
  • Skipped beats
  • Heart flutters
  • Heart palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • High cholesterol
  • High triglycerides
  • High LDL (“bad”) cholesterol
  • Mitral Valve Prolapse
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Elevated C-Reactive Protein
  • Fibrillations
  • Plaque buildup
  • Fluid retention
  • Poor circulation
  • Enlarged heart
  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack

Cancer:

  • Skin Cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Prostate Cancer
  • Endocrine Cancers
  • Lung Cancer
  • Breast Cancer

If you skimmed through that I don’t blame you. It’s annoying that there are even that many symptoms and side effects to start with. What’s even more annoying then that? Waking up each morning not knowing which of these symptoms are going to effect me through out the day or how to combat them. The good news is some of these symptoms won’t show their ugly face for weeks at a time, the bad news, some of these symptoms never leave… I blame my fear of leaving the house on getting sick, because yes every time I go out I get a cold, sore throat, ear infection or the flu but at the end of the day the depression, anxiety and mental fog I am always in keeps me home the most. So yes, I may have had the “easy cancer” but these are the things I am going to have to deal with the rest of my life. So while I sit here on March 31, 2017 one year after surgery to remove that terrible disease, waiting for my final testing to come back to find out if all the cancer is gone, you might be surprised to find out that is the furthest thing from my mind. To me, at the end of the day, these LONG TERM, REST OF MY LIFE side effects are worse then the actual cancer that caused them or maybe it’s just a package deal?

Thanks for reading.

XOXO,
Ashley

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