Hashimoto's Disease--such an explanatory name isn't it? As of yesterday that is what I have been diagnosed with.
I'll explain what I understand (and you want an official website, I thought this one was good). Hashimoto's is actually an autoimmune disease, meaning the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. (So my body is attacking my own thyroid. Um, body, what's up with that?) This interferes with the thyroid making the hormone in is supposed to. Which leads to hypothyroidism, meaning it is not making enough hormone for the body. It also can cause the thyroid to enlarge, which did happen in my case and is how my doctor was able to catch it. (It is called a goiter, which I think is one of the ugliest words ever...)
I actually don't have any symptoms that made me suspect anything. I just had a routine physical and my doctor noticed that my thyroid was enlarged so she ordered some bloodwork. Then I got one of those "your somethingorother levels are extremely elevated; you need to come in for further testing as soon as possible" calls. Just enough information to kind of freak me out... Now I actually understand it. Your thyroid hormone production is actually regulated by your pituitary gland which tells your thyroid how much it needs to make. This is called TSH, and your level is supposed to be under 5. Mine is 9.62. They also checked for thyroid antibodies, which you really aren't supposed to have any of because your body is supposed to get along with itself, but under 9 is just fine. Mine is over 900. Why does my body have to be such a drama queen?
Then I had an ultrasound of my thyroid. (which is as weird as it sounds and an ultrasound for anything other than a baby just isn't cool) It did show some "nodules" have formed, but they should go away over a couple months. (And I REALLY hope they do, otherwise the next step would be to stick a needle in them, which sounds like one of the least fun things ever.)
The good thing is that this is easily treatable. It means taking a pill every day to replace the hormone that my thyroid isn't making enough of, probably for the rest of my life. But hey, that is a pretty easy fix in my book. When my doctor came in at this appointment she said, "We are very excited about your thyroid!" I said, "We are?" She said that yes, because we found it now and it is so easily treatable we are excited. I'll go with that. And I haven't actually felt sick or anything from it. One of the main symptoms is fatigue. Am I tired? Um, have you ever met my kid? Yes, I am tired. So maybe I will get all kinds of energy from this; that would be cool.
Hashimoto's is actually the most common form of hypothyroidism in the US. It is way more common in women and usually starts between 40 and 60. Way to go me for being an overachiever and get started early... Since I have started mentioning it, it is amazing how many people I have learned have some sort of thyroid issue.
So bottom line, I am really not freaked out at all and I really trust my doctor to handle the treatment.
From the research I did in the waiting/freaking out period, I learned that Hashimoto's can cause preeclampsia. Which actually made me a little bit excited and thought maybe this would solve the mystery of my severe preeclampsia and be the golden ticket to a future healthy pregnancy. Unfortunately not quite. There is nothing on record of what my TSH was before or during my pregnancy with Noah, so there is no way to know if that is actually what caused it. Rats. It is managable during pregancy though. My doctor, who absolutely rocks, is going to do research and see exactly what we would be looking at. She said it would be foolish for her to assume that this would rule out preeclampsia again though. Double rats. It does make me feel better though.
At the physical where all this thyroid stuff started is also the first time I really asked about what another pregnancy could involve. I would for sure be considered "high risk" and in fact they would treat it as expecting for severe preeclampsia to happen again and then be happy if it didn't. She said if she had to give a percentage for the likelihood of it reoccuring it would be over 50%. Not great odds. So that was pretty hard to hear. The truth is, I would like to have another baby and actually do things like experience the third trimester and get to bring my baby home with me from the hospital... But it is also true that if it ends up being just the 3 of us, I am really okay with that too.
Now I am thinking about how blessed I am to have people in my life who care about me so much and want to know all these kinds of things and will read a long and rambling blog post about a disease they never even knew existed. Thank you everyone for your love and prayers!!