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Crisis and Turning Point: Terribly Ill With No Explanation & The First Step to Feeling Better

3:03pm, June 26th, 2010
I’m rolling on the granite floor in the house because it feels like one of those rare summer afternoons where it is absolutely scorching at 100+ degrees. The thing is, I’m in the mild-weathered San Francisco peninsula. According to today’s weather forecast, it’s actually 80 degrees outside.
In addition to heat intolerance, anything under 70 degrees feels like winter, and gives me the shivers.
I’ve been gaining weight at a staggering rate of 2.5 pounds per week, dreading but disbelieving the scale at the same time as it has inched up from 105lbs to 120 lbs over the last month. I think 2.5 isn’t super staggering but just my opinion..maybe talk about your normal body weight gain?
Later, emotional issues. Always known as the calm and emotionally stable one, both in my family and among friends, I caught myself with a raised voice, snapping at my mother for purchasing the wrong brand of fruit juice from the grocery store.
It’s 4 weeks into summer, and I cannot, for the life of me, figure out the cause of these troubles.
After all, just a few months ago, I had completed 27 units of schoolwork, double that of the typical college student, and finished 11 months of 20 hours-per-week triathlon training. Because of that, I had decent fitness, nutrition, and sleep that rendered an alarm unnecessary.
What could possibly be causing all these problems to crop up all of a sudden?
The First Step of the Journey
Given the framework of “diagnosis before treatment” faintly remembered from the professor in undergraduate biology class, I was determined to find the diagnosis and underlying cause of this suboptimal state of being.
Having been raised in a middle-class, college-educated household in the 90’s and 00’s meant that I am generally prone to researching anything and everything on the internet. lolTherefore, in addition to consulting the professional advice of a doctor. conducting pre-appointment research seemed the natural approach.
What I learned in the research was interesting.
I started by searching some obvious things like, “low energy” and “temperature regulation”. Soon, some of the signs pointed to one word: Thyroid.
More internet browser tabs open onto thyroid related issues. A patient forum warns fellow thyroid patients against seeing doctors who only order the thyroid-stimulating hormone (TSH) lab test to diagnose thyroid dysfunction, the reason being something along the lines of, “because they don’t know what they are talking about”.
The more technical explanation is that "TSH is not secreted by the thyroid gland itself, but rather is a function of the pituitary gland in the brain."
"The thyroid actually secretes the hormones T3 and T4, and therefore they are more informative measures of thyroid health"
...and on and on.
But, what I learned in the doctor’s office was even more interesting…
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