It’s Halloween! There are many scary things out there tonight. Don’t let a thyroid disorder diagnosis be one of them. No matter what you or your children are going through, you don’t have to be scared! Thyroid disorders don’t have to be scary. If you or your child have just been diagnosed with a thyroid disorder, here are some things you should do right now:
1) Do your research. Take the time to learn what you can about Congenital Hypothyroidism or your specific thyroid disorder. There are many great books out there, including Mary Shomon’s Living Well with Hypothyroidism, Why Do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When My Lab Tests Are Normal? by Dr. Datis Kharrazian, and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis Root Cause by Dr. Izabella Wentz. There are many great, helpful websites also. My website, www.thyroidmom.com, has many resources for parents of children with thyroid disorders. Most Wednesdays, I post articles that I have found in the news relating to thyroid disorders. Sign up for my email distribution list so you don’t miss those thyroid news updates. On my Facebook page, you can connect with other people and other parents who are going through a similar experience and can offer advice and support. NIH also has helpful information, as does the MAGIC Foundation for parent of children with thyroid disorders.
2) Write it down. If you are interested, I can send you a sample spreadsheet that will help you track which tests your endocrinologist orders, the date, the results (with ranges) and a place for notes. Just contact me here or send me a message on www.facebook.com/thyroidmom. You don’t have to use this spreadsheet, though, you can simply jot it down in a notebook. Whatever method you choose, this is a great way for you to begin tracking health information. As far as notes, you will want to include what the doctor says about adjusting your dose and when your doctor wants to check your labs again. If you are a parent of a child with thyroid disorders, you should also keep track of growth information and anything else discussed at appointments. When you go to appointments, bring your notebook or spreadsheet with you.
3) Begin to understand the symptoms. Once you begin taking thyroid medication, your levels can fluctuate between hypothyroid and hyperthyroid. Pay attention to your own body’s cues and signals. This is another way that tracking labs and symptoms can be helpful. Over time, you will begin to notice at what levels you feel your best, both mentally and physically. For more about specific symptoms of hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, read this post.
4) Take care of yourself. Eat a well, drink plenty of water, exercise regularly, allow time for relaxation (meditation, massage, etc.), and be sure to get enough sleep. Those are all things you have heard before, but you must do them. Read my post about running on empty.
5) Find a good doctor. A good endocrinologist or pediatric endocrinologist treats the patient and doesn’t rely solely on lab results. Your symptoms should be as important to your doctor as your lab results. Thyroid Change has a great database of recommended doctors. I also have a list of recommended pediatric endocrinologists and endocrinologists. If you have a question about finding a good doctor in your area, please feel free to message me or contact me here.
Getting a diagnosis of hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or finding out that your child has a thyroid disorder can be scary. You are not alone. This is manageable. Start by taking a few of these basic steps and you will find that overtime, it will become easier.