There was a time when I really hated stairs. I mean really, absolutely, undoubtedly hated stairs.
When my hypothyroidism was so bad that I had to be aided up them or crawl up on my hands and knees, taking a few steps at a time before sitting to rest for a few minutes. I’d usually sit and cry when resting in between steps. It made me so sad to think I couldn’t even get up stairs.
I was 21 and the year before, 2014, I was incredibly active. I’d completed the 5k Race For Life, 5k Color Run, I was running twice a week, going gym 3/4 times a week, walking 4 miles 5 days a week, playing badminton once or twice a week and doing a 2 hour dance session once a week. My weekly schedule rotated around what exercise I was doing. Every day had some form of exercise planned. Then, in September 2014, I started noticing that I was more tired than usual, and it was all the time. It never went away and that concerned me. I also started getting random leg cramps which impeded my running and walking. Between then and April 2015, I got much, much worse, collecting new symptoms as time went on, before eventually being diagnosed in the summer and started on medication.
So sitting on the stairs, unable to climb any higher on my own, I sat and cried while thinking about all of this. I used to have to plan when I needed to go upstairs, to use the bathroom for example, because I could only go up them maybe 3 times a day, max’.
Since switching to NDT, taking a few supplements and working on bringing my adrenal fatigue-inducing high cortisol down, I’ve been feeling much better. I’ve been aware that I’m able to tolerate more exercise, not get sleepy until around 9pm and get up easily in the mornings, as part of my drastic recovery, but this evening, on a walk to the train station with my other half, I unexpectedly sprinted up the stairs to the station bridge. I ran up them, like I used to a couple of years ago, without thinking. My other half shouted “Woah! Take that thyroid!” I reached the top of the stairs and paused for a moment. Did I really just do that?! That was amazing. My other half then joked that it resembled a moment in the film Rocky, so got me to pose for this cringey photo:
I now have optimal thyroid levels, replenished vitamin D, cortisol levels closer to where they should be and am 8.5kg lighter than what I was just a few months ago, after gaining 12.5kg in the 5 months that I was on Levothyroxine, which didn’t help me.
I’m feeling good. I’m proud of where I’ve come and I don’t want you to give up, either. Make sure you get the treatment you need and deserve in order to feel better.
Sitting on the stairs and crying because I couldn’t take myself to bed was a real low point. No one should have to feel like that.
Please remember that if you’re a thyroid patient living with poor mental health or lingering physical symptoms, that you don’t have to live this way. To address why you may still be feeling unwell (often despite being on thyroid medication too), please see this article and go through each suggestion, putting your thyroid jigsaw back together.
Written by Rachel, The Invisible Hypothyroidism
Rachel is a Thyroid Patient Advocate and Expert with Six 2018 WEGO Health Award Nominations. She is a highly ranked writer appearing in the Top Hypothyroidism Websites and Top Thyroid Websites 2018, and is a qualified Diet and Nutritional Advisor, also currently studying for relevant qualifications and certificates in Life Coaching, Motivational Speaking, Reflexology and more. She has worked with The National Academy of Hypothyroidism, The BBC, The Mighty, Dr. Hedberg, Thyroid UK and ThyroidChange, to name just a few. She is well recognised as a trusted and useful contributor to the thyroid community.