If we don’t know what a thyroid is, or what it does, much less where it’s located in our bodies, how can we possibly know if we have an autoimmune thyroid disorder, a thyroid disease or thyroid cancer? Similarly, because there is little to no funding for thyroid education or awareness, how can we determine that our thyroid needs to be tested or that an ultrasound needs to be ordered?
Exacerbating the issue, when we see our MD’s for annual physicals, most, not all, don’t check our thyroid function as part of an overall blood work-up, nor do they order an ultrasound of our thyroids to check for swelling, goiters or tumors. Worse (it gets worse? Of course, welcome to new millennium health care.), if our functions (blood tests include: TSH, T3, T4 and Parathyroid), are slightly abnormal; again, not all doctors, but far too many, will not treat us, even though we’re experiencing severe physical and mental manifestations of autoimmune thyroid diseases, hypothyroidism, and hyperthyroidism. Additionally, if we have a growth on our thyroid, though we feel like our thyroid is choking the life out of us, often patients have to plead with their doctors for an ultrasound of their thyroid, for thyroid cancers and certain thyroid diseases.
Finally, thyroid diseases and thyroid cancers affect women of all ages, including teens and children, as well as men. Nobody is immune to a life in the Gland Canyon.
Don’t panic. We have a plan. We’re a thyamily (family). For new potential inductees into the Jacked Thyroid Club, here’s the dish: Our thyroids are glands shaped like butterflies, located in our necks. Our Parathyroid’s are also glands that surround our thyroid—when they are normal, they nest beautifully, until they become demonic wing flitting butterflies. While thyroids and parathyroid’s are part of the endocrine system, really, they are viewed by popular culture and doctors as the step-child of the endocrine system, or as Cinderella. The key to the glass slipper is in our ability to educate and empower ourselves and demand that our doctors correctly test and treat us.
Here are some links to get you started: What is a Thyroid? What is a Parathyroid? “Thyroid Disease Symptoms - - Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism” (Mary Shomon, Thyroid Patient Advocate and member of 'Krappa Krappa Glanda'). What are “Thyroid Cancer Symptoms” (Mary Shomon)? What is a goiter (Goiticon and the half blood princess')? What are “Key Thyroid Function Tests” (Mary Shomon)?
Finally, why is thyroid disease awareness so important? "Full Lips, Curvy Breasts And The Tightest Little Thyroid You’ve Ever Seen".