I didn’t even know I had a thyroid gland until the consultant told me in no uncertain terms that mine was FUCKED…
“Is that a problem?” I naively asked having received the news.
“Well put it like this” he explained, “the little gland which sits just below your Adam’s apple is not only an amazing piece of kit it is also very important…and I mean VERY important to your well-being. And before you ask, yes, an out of kilter thyroid can be life threating”.
As I was to learn about 2 minutes later (I don’t piss about when my life’s at stake!!), when I googled ‘thyroid gland’ my thyroid is a vitally important hormonal gland that plays a major role in the metabolism, growth and maturation of my body. It helps to regulate many body functions by constantly releasing a steady amount of hormones into the bloodstream. No one can live without a thyroid. I’M A GONER!!
So how did this thyroid problem all start? Well you don’t have to delve too far to discover that one of the principle reasons why thyroid glands get ruined is down to a thing called STRESS. Well I never – that old chestnut. Yep.
I was about 6 months into a new career when I started to feel really strange…especially while driving which was really worrying because my new ‘number’ required me to drive zillions of miles a week, from my home base in Norfolk…was driving STRESSFUL…too bloody right it was STRESSFUL especially through the tractor-laden (and caravan-laden but don’t get me going on that one) dangerous A and B roads that link our rural county to the rest of the UK’s MOTORWAY network.
Anyway I compiled the following list of symptoms to share with my doctor which resulted in the news that I was on my last legs:
- Tunnel vision
- Difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep and waking up
- Mood swings
- Sugar and caffeine cravings
- Irritability or light-headedness between meals
- Eating to relieve fatigue
- Dizziness when moving from sitting or lying to standing
Clearly I survived thanks to the medical profession and for about 18 months I was prescribed a daily course of hormone replacement tablets called thyroxine.
But with my thyroid continuing to play silly buggers eventually a decision was made to remove the little blighter completely…which now means I am reliant on these tablets. That was 10 years ago.
Fast forward to February 2013…I had been struggling to get rid of a throat infection (low immunity) when one evening I started to get terrible pains in my chest…HEART ATTACK!!…well no they concluded, as it turned out after they unplugged me from a number of flashing machines and having shoved things up and down various orifices, they could find nothing wrong with the old ticker. PHEW!!! That was the good news but the bad news was…they couldn’t find the problem…so with the pain persisting I had more tests (actually loads of tests) before they diagnosed a condition call Costochondritis which Google (yep Google again) defines as an inflammation of the junctions where the upper ribs join the costal cartilage that attaches them to the breastbone (sternum).
Costochondritis causes localized chest wall pain and tenderness that can be reproduced by pushing on the involved cartilage in the front of the rib cage. The solution was to take a course of heavyweight anti- inflammatory pills.
And that is when the GUT pains started.
“Stomach ulcers caused by the pills I hear you say”…good call BUT no!!…a colonoscopy found nothing.
During the last 4 years, through sheer desperation, I have spent hours upon hours researching the subject of abdominal pains and virtually every road leads straight back to our old friend STRESS…yes STRESS really screws up our internal digestive system and I will explain in more graphic detail what it did to mine (best to read it on an empty stomach!!) in my next post; and the steps I have taken to try and resolve this horrible painful problem; and introduce you to the specialists I have met along the way who have given me hope.
Interestingly when the MAINSTRESS team met before Christmas for supper, this was the first time we had ever eaten together so it was the first time we learned that all three of us, who have struggled with STRESS related illnesses, had GUT problems…Are you getting the picture here??…
So when your doctor tells you that a painful GUT is all in the mind there is every likelihood that he is right.
Make no mistake STRESS is a GUT wrecker!!!
If you have managed to overcome any severe GUT problem e.g. IBS, SIBO, GERD etc. through conventional or non-conventional therapies please share your story.