2.24.2011

and I'm thirsty anyway...

I've always been a big hair loser.
Well, fine, not always.  I had thick hair until I was a teenager, and then it mysteriously started falling out.

When I was thirteen or so my mom took me to the doctor to have some tests done. (This is the ONLY doctor visit I had before my marriage, save a few to have warts burned off.  No lie.)  I kept finding bruises without knowing where they came from and I lost hair in such quantities, I was convinced I had leukemia or some life-threatening blood disease.  (Dramatic much?)  The tests, unfortunately, came back normal.

"Your blood vessels are just really close to the skin," the Dr. said, "and you probably don't lose as much hair as you think. It's just long, so you notice it more."

I heard that same thing - "it's long, so you notice it more" - many times over the next decade, when hairdressers noticed it piling up on the comb, or when I mentioned it to other people.  I got it, I got it.  Everyone loses about 100 hairs a day.  And they used to recommend women brush their hair 100 strokes a day, until studies showed that brushing too much makes hair brittle.
Normal, but don't brush too much.
Fast forward.

One thing I loved about pregnancy was that my hair was at least three times the usual thickness, shiny and lovely and growing.  Until the Great Post-Partum Hair Loss, that is.  Still, everyone said it was normal, and that some women even get bald spots.  Mine never got that bad.

So a couple months ago, when my hair started coming out in handfuls every time I showered, blow-dried, or brushed my hair, I didn't worry too much at first.  Blame it on the hormones! Hormones! Hormones!  Surely it's normal! Normal! Normal!

Sorry about that .... anyway.

The hair loss was annoying, but the dizziness was worrying.  And still it took a full-blown UTI* to get me in the clinic to take care of it.  More blood work done; thyroid levels checked.  Sure enough, my thyroid isn't functioning the way it should, (high TSH and low t3, t4,) but we won't know exactly what to do until I get a few more tests done.  Just what we need right now.

Now I know that I'm not crazy.  About the hair loss, at least.

*"Bring on the Rain," or something.  I've had a broken wrist, two different infections requiring antibiotics, and a diagnosis of a lifelong thyroid problem within the past 10 weeks.  And you thought I was joking about funding the hospital!

4 comments:

Fig said...

I'm glad you have a diagnosis, but so sorry about it all. Please let me know if I can help with anything at all in the midst of your rain storm.

Megan said...

Rachel, this is Angie's friend from highschool, Megan. I read your blog every now and then, and noticed a post or two ago you mentioning your symptoms. I knew then and there what you had. I have it too. Some thyroid diseases are more serious than others, but most are as simple as an inexpensive pill a day. It will all be better and your hair will stop falling out. You'll probably notice that the weight doesn't just fall off either anymore. It's worth it to be healthy. Good luck with it all.

Tyson and Dani Todd said...

Welcome to my world!! About 6 months ago, it was happening to me too! Additionally, I felt like a train hit me every day and I didn't have the strength to do anything. I was actually seeing the doctor for a different reason, but while I was there I mentioned how I was feeling and asked about my Thyroid. They tested my blood and told me it was the 2nd worst case they have ever seen. NICE!! Just what I wanted to hear. Anyway, they've got it figured out now and I feel so much better! My hair is still really dry comparatively, but I can deal with it.

p.s. It will depend on your insurance- -Synthroid (which is the pill you WILL be taking) cost me $10 with the insurance I had last year (even though it's not a generic, the company preferred it over generic so I paid the generic price). I changed insurances at the beginning of this year and they didn't consider it a generic, so it was going to cost $30 instead. In that case, I switched to generic, which not all doctors allow (you'll find out why) but mine did, and it only costs $7! So that's just a little FYI.

Now you know your diagnosis, you'll be surprised how many people you find have problems with their thyroids. Quite common. My new insurance didn't even count it against me, which was a relief.

I'm done now =0)

Jean said...

Thank you all! I consider myself fortunate to know several people with thyroid problems - so when the symptoms surfaced, I was pretty certain I knew what the problem was. Much better than having no idea and needing a bunch of tests to figure it out.
Also, it should be an easy (and relatively inexpensive) fix! Could be so much worse.