Daniel was diagnosed with hypothyroidism when he was eight years old. He and his mother, Debby, tell us about it.
Debby: 'They told us at Great Ormond Street Hospital that my eight-year-old son, Daniel, had hypothyroidism. The paediatric endocrinologist said, "Daniel has a chronic medical condition, and, if you have to have a chronic medical condition, this is the one that you want to have because it is so treatable." We were relieved after living so long with an ill child but were shocked and didn’t understand.
'It had been a long struggle and taken several years to get to this diagnosis.
'It had also been a very difficult time for my whole family. During one week, when I was accused of being an ‘overprotective mother’ and of ‘medicalising’ my child, it nearly became too much. Yet, I still had to maintain good relationships with everyone to benefit Daniel’s treatment.
'At Great Ormond Street Hospital we were given a leaflet from the Child Growth Foundation who put me in touch with someone who had a child with hypothyroidism, which in turn, led me to the British Thyroid Foundation. It has been the most important number I have in my address book. It was so wonderful to speak to another mum, a non-medical person, who shared her own experience with me. It was obviously not going to be a quick fix, so it's been wonderful to not feel alone with it.
'Daniel is now a happy teenager. He takes his levothyroxine every day and lives a very full, energetic life. Daniel has travelled on overnight school trips, is involved in leadership groups, excelled in gymnastics, is a novice caver, and does well academically in school.'
Daniel: 'I am now in my teens, and I am hypothyroid. I struggled greatly and have come out the other side and overcome my difficulties. I write this for all the children who are in the position I was in, and to tell them they are not alone.
'Looking back on the past, things have seemed frightening, frustrating and sometimes overwhelming, but here I sit writing this article eight years from when it started.
'I was eight when we first found I had a thyroid disorder but the problem had started at least a year before that. I suffered severe mood swings, severe frustration and growth issues. One event which made my parents worried was when we went to Spain. This was before we knew what was wrong and I would walk around in the blazing heat with jumpers and coats on, still feeling cold.
'Since my diagnosis I have been on medication and require annual blood tests which was my next hurdle as I have a fear of needles. But this, as well, I have overcome in later years.
'Finally, I would just like to say that no matter how hard things seem for both children and parents, you can overcome anything with strength, determination, and belief in yourself and those around you.'