Yesterday, I had an appointment with my endocrinologist to discuss my recent blood work – a 6-week check in. Because the blood was drawn last week, I saw the numbers in my online chart 36 hours before I met with my doc. Believe this when I tell you – I was waiting for those numbers like some people wait for Star Wars movies (which, I don’t get and probably never will, but that was the magnitude with which I was anxious).
I woke up Wednesday morning (1/17) to see a notification from the medical app that tests results were available and at 5.40 am, I opened them as soon as I swung my legs over my bed. I scrolled through and at first blush, it looked like the results showed my thyroid hormones had plummeted (to the point of being considered HyPOthyroid – the opposite of what I have been for the last year). Like someone might check their lottery numbers (I’ve heard), I went to my laptop and pulled up the same charts to see them there, and was able to do a side-by-side comparison which confirmed the numbers had dropped.
Then I became a mathematician/scientist. “Okay, December tests are in micrograms but this is nanograms, so what’s the conversion? [pulls up google conversion app] Now, 505 compared to <25, is that less than 25 or greater than 25. Shit, which direction means what? Carry the 1.”
What I came to was: the numbers dropped. And if I was right, that would explain the inexplicable weight gain I’ve had which has rendered 30% of my wardrobe unwearable (including some yoga clothes) and required me to buy new bras because, well, I had no choice. It also explains the going to bed at 8 pm (sometimes even 7:30, which I left out of my previous post because it’s embarrassing). It further explains why I feel like I am mentally slogging through mud.
I relayed this information about the labs to a few friends like this: I could be wrong and I was absent on thyroid day in med school, but I think my numbers look like they’ve dropped significantly! Not wanting to get my hopes up, I said it once and only once to each person (Armenian superstition is alive and well in my body).
A very truncated version of my doctor appointment (after arriving 35 min early):
Doc: So your numbers are veerrrrry low. You’re hypo now.
Me: So I read them right? [vindicated in my math] I COULD KISS YOU.
Doc: Okay great, so I want you to stop your current medication because your body is now fighting it. And within 3-4 days you’ll feel a definite difference in your clarity, your sleep, and your metabolism.
Me: Is it possible that I won’t have to go back on meds at all?
Doc: Yes, but we have to monitor this for some time, with blood work every three weeks. We won’t know for sure until we do that for a bit.
Me: [lifting mental middle finger to my original doctor who dismissed me, and who by the way somehow ended up in my feed in a dating app I manage to stay on. ICK, ICK, ICK. REMOVE]
The weight that lifted from my shoulders in that moment was glacial.
Over the long weekend, I got very clear on how much stress I have been carrying around about this. How? Because it came rushing out of me uncontrollably, starting in meditation class, moving into yoga class, continuing through acupuncture and culminating at a new private practice, integrative MD I saw (who was wonderful and super helpful). When I went to acupuncture , I just cried on the table after she left the room. I had 25 min of dim-lit, silent crying. It all came out.
We have a piece of methodology in Baptiste Yoga (the practice in which I’m trained) that says: Be willing to come apart.
I was not willing because I wasn’t aware I needed to be. I was too stressed and “taking action” to notice. I have been checking my boxes: Medications. Supps. Sleep. Meditation. Exercise. Food. Hulu. I am doing the things. Eventually though, if I’m not willing to come apart, I will be forced to. I got forced to over the weekend.
By the way big love to Karen for leading the meditation, Emily for teaching yoga, Sarah for her needles and Jamie NP-extraordinaire for asking me how I felt emotionally that opened the door to coming apart.
The stress has been crushing me and likely perpetuating the shit way I felt from the newly-developed Hypothyroid issues. Sadly, I wasn’t aware of it. Physically, my hips had locked up and walking has been slow and labored (though I try to pretend it’s not). I have been feeling that I’m operating at 50%, mentally. I attributed it to <15 degree temps (see what I did there?). I attributed it to working out too much. I attributed it to, I don’t know, the stupid subway conductor who talks too much and annoys me and the obnoxious 5 yr old boy who lives above me. I was making excuses and creating reasons again for why I was feeling so badly, not understanding that again, it was my body just going through something new and me compounding it with stress.
I don’t know about you, but when I am feeling stress, it’s like I am clutching onto the stress in secret, quietly sinking back into a corner, holding so tightly that my body feels like it’s caving in on itself. My yoga practice has been stupid. I’m aware that statement is so un-yoga like, but it is – just stupid. I’m willing to bet I look like a curled-in rolly-polly bug in brightly colored spandex. Amazing. The stress then brings up all other kinds of emotions which become heightened and catastrophic because I can’t see the end in sight; I can’t see anything really. And, you can’t tell me anything, either. I’m just convinced of the thing that stresses me and that’s that. Period.
Now that I see the positive changes in my hyper/hypo/schizothyroidism, much of the stress has dissipated and I’m left with the question – WHY DO I DO THAT TO MYSELF? Where the hell does that come from? That is the question I want to answer. What drives that intense approach, the punitive approach I have with myself? Look, being hard on ourselves is pretty much a universal, human way of being. I know of very few people who truly default to a compassionate way of being with themselves and not have to push out the “I f-ed this up, I failed” monologue from their minds. I’m really curious about what causes this in me. So it’s a question I’m asking, and writing about nearly daily hoping that stream of conscience will reveal the answer. Maybe if I know, I won’t do it anymore. Maybe.