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Composure in a time of Thyroid upheaval

Today’s Guestpost comes from my buddy Naomi… she is one tough cookie, and we can learn a thing or two, from this resilient woman! 

A bad case of the flu, a swollen protruding neck & an ultrasound later, it was determined that I had a tumor on my thyroid gland and it was 6 x 4 cm large.

Excessive sweating that didn’t let up for 2 whole days soon followed.

What.. ?, echoed in my head.

thyroid2The biopsy results were inconclusive. “Cut it out!” or “Monitor for growth” they said. Another doctor said, “Let it be & it might very well be cancer”. There was no way of being sure, so I opted to have it removed.

My immune system caved, the stress caused recurrent shingles and clusters of boils turned up on my body followed by illness.

I decided to be proactive and keep my spirits up by participating in a half-marathon, training kept me focused and made me realize my profound strength; that I was going to beat it at its game.

This sent me on an introspective journey where I tried to understand what caused this to happen within me. I analyzed past lifestyle choices and looked deeper to unearth the true underlying factors that led to this. With the help of a book entitled A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, I was able to identify the role I played in perpetuating unhealthy choices both mental & physical. I learnt to forgive & recognize my true self.

As it turned out, I didn’t have cancer. Hurray!

personal_victory_dayHowever, shortly after the surgery, I gained weight inexplicably and my menses became non-existent. With half of my thyroid removed, it couldn’t produce sufficient hormones and I was prescribed synthetic hormones. Needless to say, finding balance when one’s hormones are all over the place & gaining weight
despite the heavy training can throw anyone into a lonely & confusing abyss. I was utterly lost, I didn’t understand what was wrong with my body or my mind and there were no answers for the myriad of symptoms I experienced.

These symptoms are common for people with hypothyroidism and can be easily diagnosed with frequent thyroid function tests. Click the links to learn more about hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism.

By elimination, we found out that my hormones had gone haywire and by adjusting the dosage I soon found energy and that elusive balance again.

Balance is crucial; I overcame the illness by seeking that.

My tips for striking a balance begins with the mind – here are my tips on how to strike a balance :

Climbing21. Fuel your mind– Use the resources the world has to offer, there are books out there that provide the right support. I chanced upon a book called The Mastery of Love by Don Miguel Ruiz, it served to enlighten me, and helped me deal with the dissatisfaction I felt with my changing body and erratic hormones. I discovered the art of self-love.

2. Practice Contemplation– I found that harnessing discipline is the best way to bring about awareness. This led to increased mindfulness in regard to consumption and the activities I did or the people I chose to be around. Finally I felt at peace and came to know of a union between mind, body and soul.

3. Keep an Active Lifestyle– I ran and rock climbed, with each day and the increased mastery of these activities. I found strength and renewed resolve. I became highly aware of my mind & body connection.

The nature of equilibrium is elusive, thus the search is a constant challenge but Oh! How sweet is the reward!


About this week’s Guest Writer:
Naomi Pereira teaches English and is a trainee exercise instructor. Special mention goes to her husband Tim who provided incomparable support in her time of need.

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