What is this strange word?
Sounds fun and exotic almost doesn’t it?
This word was said to me at a doctor’s office while on my journey to trying to monitor my thyroid. You see, I was born in Ukraine and was still there when Chernobyl blew up. I knew that this made me more susceptible to thyroid conditions, even thyroid cancer, more so than the typical individual. So after pulling teeth for a year for a referral for an endocrinologist, I finally got my wish.
I am a research fanatic, so my endocrinologist was highly rated by his patients and a likeable fella. He explained to me that according to the ultrasound, my thyroid was “highly indicative of Hashimoto’s” to which I replied, “Hashi-wha-wha?”
We joked about how fun it was to say and he tried to tell me that he wished it was a good thing. Oh how far from grips I was during that appointment.
As I found out later, Mr. Hakaru Hashimoto was a Japanese Doctor who discovered the world’s first autoimmune disease. Meaning instead of fighting off viruses and bacteria to protect itself, the body turns on itself and becomes the villain. It attacks the thyroid (but can also attack other organs and tissues). This is what was happening in my body.
The reason it came as a somewhat surprise was that my disease was not extremely advanced. After all, my weight hadn’t ballooned exponentially, nor did most of my hair fall out like happens to a lot of women. It has been simmering for years, possibly decades until it got kicked in by a trigger event. That trigger event for me, was over exercising. And once the Hashimotos gene is turned on, it cannot be turned off. Only the response of the immune system can be lessened, God willing.
I left the office that day with medicine in hand, which I made my Doctor give me. He tried to tell me that I was borderline and that my thyroid blood test results were technically “normal”. But..but…but…what about this thing? Hashi-something? Don’t I need medicine for it?
And although I felt better that day knowing that I had caught this malady proactively and I had medicine in hand to “fix” it, I had no idea what was in store for me.