Justify yourself…

The symptoms…

The past few months I have been really down.  Emotionally, financially, and physically.  My dog’s medical bills are weighing on me.  I feel constant stress over it.  I picked up another job so now I have three 10-12 hour work days to pay for her care.  I’m exhausted.  I justified that exhaustion to my new work schedule combined with physical therapy.  Trying to recover from two injuries has been exhausting.  On the weekends, all I do is sleep.  I don’t just sleep in late.  I get up early to give the dog her insulin and time outside.  I eat breakfast, then I go back to sleep around 8 or 9 am.  I sometimes sleep until 1, 2, or 3 pm on Saturdays and still feel tired.  Then I walk downstairs, see my messy house and feel depressed because I slept the day away instead of cleaning it up.  Again, I chalked this all up to my busy schedule and I even threw in Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) because the weather was cold, damp, rainy, and the gray skies did nothing to help me feel perky.

I gained about 15 pounds which I blamed on my broken foot and not being able to walk for over 3 months. I cried over commercials, books, songs, and sometimes….I cried over nothing at all. I blamed that on the stress of life.  I blamed peri-menopause.  Or menopause, as I haven’t had a period in months.  I turned down social outings, avoided talking to people, and put on a happy face only when I needed to do so.  I couldn’t even read a book.  Focusing on the words was too hard.  So I’ve been listening to audible books when I can.  I thought my eyesight was getting worse.  I’ve been miserable. Then my hair started falling out.  Not a little bit…. A LOT.  It started out slowly, so I thought it was just regular….but it is coming out in huge clumps.  Even my physical therapist is constantly pulling hair off of my clothing.  I pull my hair out of my ponytail and a clump comes out with it every time.  I couldn’t justify the hair loss, so I finally went for blood work.

Then I got the call….

My rheumatologist called and said all was well except for my thyroid levels.  Last time my blood work was checked, I was hyperthyroid (mildly) in the fall.  This time, I’m mega HYPOthyroid.  Double digit hypo. Yikes.  It explained my exhaustion, weight gain, depression, brain fog, and hair loss.  It justified my symptoms.  I almost congratulated myself for not being lazy, depressed, and fat without a reason. (Although seriously, this is so depressing.)   I’ve been through all this before, but I kept ignoring the signs because of my injury.  I battled Graves disease almost 19 years ago and have been battling to keep my thyroid levels stable with medication ever since.  Lately, it was just too hard to get to the blood lab (seriously, their hours are horrible) after work my crazy hours on a broken foot.  (Excuses, excuses)

I met with my endocrinologist who asked a zillion questions to try to identify the cause of this shift.  Still not sure what caused this, but I have a new plan moving forward.  I’ll get a blood recheck in two months.  I even told Alexa to remind me to go get my blood drawn.  My thyroid has been sneaking up on me a lot lately.  I need to do better for my health and my sanity.

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Kelly holds masters degrees in both Special Education and Speech-Language Pathology. She works full-time as a speech-language pathologist in both a public school setting and as an adjunct faculty member at a university, in Philadelphia, PA. She specializes in both autism and augmentative/alternative communication and took her skills to Uganda, Africa to start a special needs program for disabled children living in an orphanage in 2011. Kelly began experiencing symptoms of autoimmune arthritis in 1984 (while in her teens) but wasn’t officially diagnosed with autoimmune arthritis until 2001. Her first diagnosis was Sjogren’s syndrome. Eventually her diagnosis was changed to sero-negative RA and now Polyarticular Spondlyoarthropathy. She also manages thyroid disease (resulting from Graves Disease), fibromyalgia, renin-deficient hypertension, and disseminated superficial actinic porokeratosis (DSAP) on a daily basis. Kelly connected with other autoimmune arthritis patients via social media in 2008. She began volunteering with the “Buckle Me UP! Movement”, which evolved into the International Autoimmune Arthritis Movement (IAAM) beginning in 2009. Then became a cofounder of IFAA in 2013. She has represented the ACR on Capitol Hill as an Advocate for Arthritis, was a finalist in Wego Health’s Health Activist Hero awards in 2014, and speaks at various healthcare conferences as a patient advocate in the Philadelphia area.

4 thoughts on “Justify yourself…

  1. Hey kuddos to you for taking on the 3 jobs. You deserve a medal of honor for that alone. The rest. Well just let it be the rest….. cuddle your dog. That’s what the dog wants. Dogs just want their packs anyway. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

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