Living with Hypothyroidism
Anyone with an underactive (or non existent) thyroid knows how challenging it can be to get through the ickiness of hypothyroidism. There’s a reason people call it “hypo-hell”. It is really hard to rise above the fatigue, dizziness, discomfort, muscle pain, inability to concentrate, memory loss, depressive mood and various other symptoms that come with going off your medication for treatment purposes.
Personally I had to go off my medication twice to prepare for doses of radioactive iodine to treat my thyroid cancer.
Just because my thyroid (or lack thereof) isn’t working doesn’t mean I don’t have to, so I need to keep going despite my thyroid levels being in the toilet.
Continuing to live a positive and healthy life without a #thyroid Click To Tweet
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or health care professional. I am only trying to help my fellow thyroid condition peeps with some tips that have worked for me. Please do not implement any dietary or lifestyle changes without speaking to your own health care professional first.
Please note this post contains affiliate links. If you purchase one of the affiliate items I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more information please see my Disclaimer page.
What are Hypothyroidism Symptoms?
Personally, I know I have an under active thyroid because I don’t have a thyroid at all! But, if you’re concerned that you may have hypothyroidism the first thing you should do is go to your doctor. Only he or she can diagnose you with an under active thyroid and give you the right way to treat hypothyroidism.
Some people who suffer with hypothyroidism do experience the following hypothyroid symptoms:
- Difficulty loosing weight or gaining weight
- Hair loss
- Cold intolerance
- Frequent muscle aches and cramps
- Dry skin and hair (Source)
Once you’ve been properly diagnosed with hypothyroidism you’ll likely be put on thyroid replacement medication. While obviously necessary, in my own personal experience (everyone is different), I still encounter hypothyroid symptoms so I’ve come up with a few ways to make coping with hypothyroidism a bit easier.
Strategies for Living with Hypothyroidism
Here are a few strategies I use to deal with my hypothyroidism symptoms:
Don’t be too hard on yourself
I don’t know about you but on most days I run around like a chicken without a head. Between school drop off and pick up there’s work, grocery shopping, trying to fit in a gym class, laundry, keeping the house clean etc. The list goes on and on.
When I’m off my medication and completely drained I have to let some of it go (cue Elsa). I might get less done at work, leave the laundry in the basket a bit longer and let R watch more tv than usual.
I have to remember that I’m missing a vital organ and the medication used to keep that part of my body working despite missing the organ has been depleted by taking thyrogen shots and going off my meds for radioactive iodine treatment. I can’t expect myself to feel my version of “normal” and need to remember not to be too hard on myself for not doing everything I can usually do. I also need to remember that it takes approximately 4 to 6 weeks for my levels to normalize a bit.
It helps to have an amazing husband and an extended family around to pick up some of the slack. Don’t be shy – ask for help.
If you need help with your kids and live in the Greater Toronto Area you can reach out to The Nanny Angel Network whose Angels can help you with free childcare.
This is a toughy. It is so difficult to keep a positive attitude in the face of all of the junk life throws at you sometimes. Every once in awhile when I’m faced with the hypothyroid ickies I just feel completely depleted, which leads to negativity and sadness.
I try to remember that the really awful symptoms of hypothyroidism are temporary. Once my medicine gets back on track I will be able to remember my son’s middle name and I will be able to keep my eyes open past 8:30 p.m. It just takes time.
In addition to reminding myself of the temporary nature of all of this, I also try to stay grateful. If it’s a beautiful day I go outside. If I’m not up for a walk then I’ll sit and take in the sun. I’ll listen to R sing, laugh and play with his toys and remember that in a couple of weeks I’ll be up to playing more with him.
Remember that you do have positive things in your life. Whether it’s a best friend who makes you smile, a pet that licks your nose or a hobby that you love – hold on to these things and remember that soon enough you’ll feel better.Stay positive! Tips on Living with Hypothyroidism #thyroidcancer Click To Tweet
I am a classic snowballer. When one thing bothers me or upsets me I feel like the whole world has turned against me. Unfortunately when I’m having hypothyroid ickies I get bothered and upset more often than I’d like. To keep these feelings at bay I distract myself. I’ve started listening to inspirational podcasts (you can find a list of my faves here).
I love listening to various podcasts when I’m commuting to work (I just play them on my phone on really loud so I’m not using earphones while driving), food shopping and doing housework. By listening to a different podcasts I learn new things and stay entertained. I choose positive and inspirational people to listen to, or programs that discuss things that I might know nothing about.
At home when I have some time to chill out I love colouring. I bought some “grown up” colouring books, fine tipped markers and colour away. It’s sort of creative, doesn’t take much effort and isn’t very expensive. R has taken to colouring with me on the weekend which is fun and a relaxing way to spend time together.
Wear comfy clothing
Between having my son, stress and thyroid cancer, my weight is not exactly where it should be. In keeping with my first tip, I have to cut myself some slack. When I’m facing fewer symptoms of hypothyroidism and back on track with my medication, I can work on losing the 30 pounds that need to go. Until then, I have to be kind to myself and be comfortable. If getting out of the house to run errands is easier in lululemon pants then so be it!
I’m a yoga pant wearing mom (who occasionally goes to yoga) and that’s ok.
Try to maintain a healthy diet
I have a lot of trouble with this one on most days. I find myself too tired to make healthy food and in a pinch reach for processed and sugary substitutes. I also have a problem with coffee. I find it comforting so I like to always have a mug in my hand.
I’m hoping that by working on this blog and including healthy recipes I can improve my diet which will hopefully give me more energy and need to rely less on coffee and sugar.Work on improving your diet and include lots of fruits and veggies! Tips on Living with #Hypothyroidism Click To Tweet
My happy lamp
I use light therapy on grey days to help with my mood and energy levels. I use it at work when I sit down at my desk. I typically put it on for 30 minutes. I find it helps and it certainly doesn’t have any bad side effects (that I’ve experienced) since the light is UV free. I bought mine at Costco a few years back but you can find them at different stores.Light therapy is very helpful in the dreary winter months! Tips for Living with Hypothyroidism Click To Tweet
Again, I am not a health care professional so if you decide to make any changes please seek professional assistance. I am only setting out what I have done that helps me personally.
I’ve started to take a whole food vitamin supplement based on my doctor’s recommendations. The bottle suggests taking one at each meal but I only take one per day. I don’t want to overload my body with too much plus I’ve been told to wait 4 hours after having my synthroid before I can take any vitamins.
I also take a teaspoon of omega 3 fish oil with vitamin D, one teaspoon of magnesium and a probiotic. I hope the omega 3 helps with my mind and memory while the magnesium helps with the muscle pain I’ve been experiencing lately.
This might sound totally weird but when I’m tired I need cold air to keep me awake and alert when I’m exhausted. I find keeping the AC on in the car (even when it’s cold out) and in the office helps me stay up and get through my day.
I hope you find some of these helpful and please let me know what tips you have for getting through the hypo ickies…
If you found this post helpful, please feel free to check out some of these and my Thyroid Cancer Resources page:
- Being Diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer
- Living with Thyroid Cancer
- Thyroid Cancer Awareness: Check your Neck!
- What is the Low Iodine Diet?
- How to Help a Friend with Cancer