Thank you to so many of you who have followed this blog, and this journey in my life with a chronic unseen illness. When we left off,  I had been to MANY doctors in a row, gone through countless tests, racked up ridiculous medical bills and was NO closer to a diagnosis or any kind of a treatment.  I had heard that I must be depressed, that I just needed to eat less (I was already on 1200 calories a day), that maybe I should try walking (I was already working out an hour a day) and my personal favorite: “Well, don’t be so negative! Try THINKING positively Trisha. If you think harder “I am not tired” then you WON’T be tired.”

I THINK if I had punched that guy, that Jesus would have said, “That’s understandable Trish”.

Out of desperation, I began doing my OWN research.  Because when you are dealing with a chronic illness, many times your choices are: A. Give up and let life pass  B. Keep fighting a frustrating battle for a doctor who will listen and is qualified to help you find a diagnosis and treatment that may help (not cure).  Thanks to my amazing friends and family, I chose B.  And I KEEP choosing B. On a daily, and sometimes hourly basis. And “A” has seemed pretty appealing at times….But I have found that HOPE is worth the wait and the fight.

So here are the steps I took BEFORE getting any help or a diagnosis:

1. I did a LOT of reading.  It’s a free country, and now more than EVER, you have access to information on just about every subject known to man (and woman).  I read up about my symptoms, I read about possible treatments, I read lists of doctors in my state that specialized in treating these symptoms.

2. I talked, live and online, with patients who were being treated for symptoms similar to mine. I LISTENED to them- what was working, what didn’t work, what doctors they saw, what tests they recommended.  This community interaction was priceless.

3. I asked to see my own test results and I ASKED to have certain tests done.  Did you know you could do that? Usually, you will not receive a copy of your own blood test results and you may not even know which are being done and why.  But here’s the thing: my doctor doesn’t have to wake up and function in this body.  I DO. 

BOTTOM LINE: My health is NOT my doctor’s responsiblity.  Ultimately, the health of MY body is MY responsibility.

I got a copy of my test results, and then learned how to interpret them. It was eye opening and explained a LOT.  I then asked for certain other tests to be done, and then again, looked at the results.  Then I asked to be referred to a specialist that I had heard may have some insights in what I suspected I had (hypothyroidism).  I got a lot of raised eyebrows, but in the end I got the appointment I wanted. I also had backup plans, doctors, if this specialist wouldn’t listen either.  But he did. At first he thought I was just a tired mom, but when I asked to see test results, he seemed to know I was serious. And THIS time, FINALLY the test results showed a slightly elevated TSH.  But more importantly, I tested positive for an antibody that showed that my own body was attacking its thyroid gland. And that same week, I started on thyroid medication.

4. I decided to research and try out what treatment was best for MY body.  Our bodies are different and are the treatments that make us better.  I personally believe that dessicated thyroid is a GREAT option and many times helps much more than T1 therapy only.  I have been getting treatment now for only 4 months.  And I feel better than I have in 2 years…..

My eyebrows grew back, some of my eyelashes, all other symptoms have improved….I feel like the fog has lifted and I can get back to LIVING.  It will never be “solved” or “over”- I will have to continue to eat right, exercise, go in for blood work, see my doctor, reevaluate etc. etc. etc.

BUT. This journey, this fight has been so worth it all.  Knowing what I am battling, and that there is hope has made all the difference.  And I am really glad I didn’t give up. PLEASE do not give up.  Keep knocking til that door gives way. It’s your body and your life.  Take it back.  Thank you Mom for teaching me to hang on….

LOVE Trisha 🙂  (The picture is of me sending out copies of my first book, published this fall on “Your Children’s MInistry from Scratch.”)