Hello, Mr. Hashimoto? I’ve Got Something That Belongs To You

So I had some blood drawn a little while back and sent off to a laboratory to see if there was anything funky hanging out in my veins and arteries. I got the results back today and it turns out that instead of having Raynaud's Disease, like I've thought I had since I was sixteen, I actually have Hashimoto's Thyroiditis.

Uh huh. Who is this Hashimoto and why did he give me his thyroid? It's not like I asked for it. Furthermore, I am Irish—well, at least .0000005799999 % of me is, which gives me permission to own it. I feel green, my friends—So why isn't this condition called O' Brien's Thyroiditis, or McGuire's Thyroiditis. It would make more sense for me, if we're going to use the possessive tense. Nothing against Mr. Hashimoto.

Weird thing is, even though I've known I had this little disorder for most of my life, and even though I still have it but it's called by a different name (and explains a WHOLE LOT about my life and personality), and even though it now gives me a great card I can play for everything, from having dirty bathrooms to my voice cracking in the middle of a performance ("Hey! It's Hashimoto's! It's ain't my fault!"), I'm a little freaked out by it.

Once again, it's always been there. It's just been a rose by another name. No reason to get my glands all in a bunch. 

Funny how our brains work. We can get comfortable with a certain frame of reference, feel fine about it, deal with whatever is attached to it. But the minute something new periscopes up out of it—something we weren't expecting—our comfort zone evaporates. We feel lost at sea in a dinky dingy, and frantically cast about for anything familiar to anchor ourselves to again. The change doesn't even have to be terribly dramatic. If it's new, it's freaky.

There are people—actual real live ones—who walk around in life openly embracing new concepts, thoughts, experiences. Actively seeking to broaden their horizons, learn new things, and immerse themselves in paradigms entirely unfamiliar to themselves. Like, these people go do stuff, freaked out or not.

I'd kind of like to be like that.

I have a kid who, when she was twelve, went with a church group to Lava Hot Springs (a little resort north of here in Spud-land, built up around—wait for it—a hot spring.) She decided to see what it was like to fling her terrified self off of the 30 foot platform into the swimming pool, and dragged her dad along behind her for moral support. My huz followed his pocket-sized daughter up the ladder—passing people who had changed their minds and were on their way back down. He spent a moment orienting her to what they were going to do, peered down at the postage-stamp-sized puddle below, then watched in astonishment as his kid made the jump before he even had time to reach for her hand to help her through it. (Which also meant there was no backing out for him; she'd gone. He had to. Preservation of his macho-hood and all that.)

Flash-forward almost a decade, and this child has turned into someone who punches fear in the face and then walks right along her way. It doesn't mean she ain't nervous; it means she's not willing to be cowed by it. She rolls her eyes, steels herself, and pushes through it, flicking it away like so much dust. It reminds me of that quote from Robert Frost: "The best way out is always through."

So, it's not like my Hashimoto's is the worst thing in the world. It isn't–I think. But with all these amazing people I have hanging around me—both in and out of my family—the least I can do is learn about this disorder. Then I can grin right in it's auto-immuned face. What've I got to lose? At least it ain't no 30 foot platform. And it's not in front of all the cute boys in my youth group. It's in my veins. And I've had those for years.

Maybe next year I'll go skydiving.

I said MAYBE.

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About Janiel 432 Articles
I have managed to keep the same husband for nearly three decades, and the same four children for almost that long - although one or two of them say it has been much longer. I have been writing since I learned to hold a pencil, and trying to make people laugh even longer. I hope to do some good in the world before I go the way of it. And if not, I'd better at least get to visit Ireland.

12 Comments

    • Dude! I’m going to have to hear this story. That’s pretty horrifying. I’ve apparently been misdiagnosed most of my life. And Hashimoto’s explains a lot about how I’ve felt for years. Thought I was just a wimp. Nice to know its real name!

    • Yeah. I thought it funny to have a possessive in the name. “It’s MY disease! I discovered it!”

      Thank you, Mrs. Welcoming Committee. So embarrassing to find out I’ve been hanging out at the wrong party all these years.

  1. Hang in there Janiel! How is this treated? HRT? I have another friend with this malady as well…he does HRT and it seems to be doing the job! Fear not! And your kid? Holy cow! Jumping off the edge of the pool was something I could never do. A 30 ft. platform? Where do people come by this kind of courage/fearlessness/idiocy? 🙂 Please tell me you’re not going to jump out of a perfectly good airplane..please!

    • Murph! Thanks! I’m being treated with two kinds of thyroid meds: synthroid and something else. Within an hour of my first dose I was jamming on the ceiling. It was AWESOME. Truly. I had no idea how wasted and dragged out I’ve felt for, like, ever. Is this what regular people feel like? I always thought I was just lame and lazy because I was sooooo tired. But I’m naturally hyper at the same time, so it’s been hard to tell what was going on. Weird. But I am most grateful now.

      • Yeah. I pretty much have no intention of jumping out of a perfectly good anything that’s sitting higher than 3 feet off the ground. For reals.

  2. I’m glad you finally have the right diagnosis! So frustrating! I’m also glad there are meds to help. Yay, modern medicine! Every once in a while, it stumbles over an answer! (just kidding; I have great respect for medical researchers, especially those who experiment on themselves first…)

    • Hey there, Janiel! I just wandered over from Rurification (was looking up the cantaloupe jam) and found you.

      And, yes, that thyroid-hormone-in-a-bottle is something of a miracle. I have Hashimoto’s, too, and the first time I filled my prescription, I looked at the little pills in my hand and marveled. It’s amazing, when you think about it. But also sobering when they tell you you’re going to take this for the rest of your life. I’ve been on it for about 15 years now, and if you had to choose an autoimmune disorder to have, it’s definitely one of the easier ones.

      So welcome to the club. Some of the coolest people are members. 😉

      • Hey STH! Thanks for popping over! I’m amazed by the number of Hashimoto’s peeps who have come out of the woodwork since I posted this. Auto Immune diseases are bizarre and far too common. But, I completely agree that this is the one to have if you’re going to have one. Can you imagine having it in the days when they didn’t know what Auto Immune diseases were and couldn’t treat them?

        And yeah, I’ve noticed that we’re all totally cool. 🙂

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