In pictures of me over the last couple of years I noticed a few different, very upsetting things. One, my arms that have always looked slim and muscular from constant work and workouts, got really flabby. Two, my abdomen that I have been secretly pretty proud of got poochy. Three, my neck seemed to get more manly. I have always been kind of "athletically built" as one person put it. I'm not curvy and busty, I have been pretty long and flat my entire life. Like an adolescent boy. So for me to look at a picture and see I was getting a manly neck to me was just a part of getting older and one more bit of evidence that I was not a girlie girl. This is how I framed it.
This year I quit soda (More like cut back on) and stopped eating sugar and after dinner snacks and started running. I was doing great, running about 2-3 miles to start out with and getting up to 5-6 by mid February. I was on track for the half marathon I committed to run with some friends from High School days. The guys I work with and I were talking about running relays and racing bikes together. I realized how much I missed having that in my life and was looking forward to this summer for these reasons. But I noticed I didn't lose any weight and wasn't putting on any muscle. Instead I was getting muscle twitches. I then (TMI ALERT) had my monthly visit from Aunt Flo. And for many, many months now, I have been having *ahem* unusual circumstances with Aunt Flo. She has gotten aggressive in her old age. (Dudes, I don't blame you if you just...close the browser.) It was less like a typical expected cycle of nature and more like a surprise attack. If regular periods are a kind stranger asking you for a dime at the bus station, what I had going on was a group of drug addicted gang members attempting a home invasion. I had so many issues that once in the middle of a pre-production meeting I had to spend a good amount of time in the bathroom and what was I wearing? White jeans. Someone asked me if I was OK. How do you say, I think I am losing my internal organs? I had to sneak out of the production office while everyone was shaking hands and saying their goodbyes and go and buy new pants to drive home in. You get the idea. So here I was a couple of weeks ago, in this same boat. Getting mugged by Aunt Flo. I forced myself to the gym and ran a mile and a half before I felt like dying. I cried the whole way home. For bout ten days at odd times I felt like all of the blood in my entire body would leave my head and go find something better to do. I almost blacked out while driving, which had happened one other time about six months before. I couldn't even climb the stairs at my house without feeling light headed. I had a rash on my thighs appear. I got a stomach bug. At home, I swept the floor and my hands would not leave the handle. I had to uncurl them slowly and they hurt, from way inside. I would sleep ten hours a night or more if I wasn't working.
So last week I went to see my Doctor in Salt Lake about this rash. I love him, he's been great to my kids and I. I drive up to 3900 S to see him. This love runs that deep. So we talk and catch up. We just talk about running and training and we talk about my rash but it's my other symptoms which he seems to be WAY more interested in. It all comes out in what seems to be casual conversation. He tests me for Strep for the rash and it's negative. He decides to do what he calls "a s___ load of blood tests". He calls me on set the next morning and says that it's my thyroid. I have no idea what this is exactly. I know it's a gland. I go home and look it up on www.tooloffear.com, otherwise known as Web MD, and it all makes so much sense. I mean all the way back through my whole life I can see how I have had these types of hormonal issues and they seem to have been getting out of control over the last two years. Now, I do not mean to make this sound like a lady disease. Along with this comes things like crippling exhaustion, joint pain, irritability, memory loss, cold intolerance, dry skin, hair loss, depression, weight gain, infertility, and the coup de grace, an enlarged neck. I am now totally assured I have Hypothyroidism. Yesterday I went in and had more blood drawn to determine if I have Hyper or Hypothyroidism or something else entirely like Lupus. So we'll see what's what. After hearing last week that a friend who has been fighting with two types of cancers has been back in the hospital with a terrible infection, finding out I have something totally treatable, I'll take it. And I actually feel really proud of myself that I have still been able to accomplish the things I have been able to, and am trying to be kinder to myself about the things I have not been able to. It's kind of a relief, really.
If you or someone you love has a neck that looks like it is smuggling a potato, please see your doctor.