I first started exhibiting symptoms as a teenager, but my hypothyroidism would not be diagnosed for 10 more years. I went to give blood at 17 and was turned away for low iron (anaemia). I also started having trouble swallowing and went to an allergy specialist who told me to watch what I was eating and try to identify the cause of the allergy. The allergy was never identified. Instead I had to drink lots of water with meals and be very careful to chew everything thoroughly.

Over the next 10 years the symptoms started to pile up: sensitivity to cold, thinning hair (my hairdresser asked if I was pregnant because my hair was falling out) and slow hair and nail growth. My skin also changed: first acne, which I had escaped as a teenager, and then dry skin. I had a very hard time just maintaining weight let alone losing it. This was despite jogging daily and watching my diet. I felt like I was getting old, sleeping and napping more than I ever had before. Eventually I started having trouble breathing and went to bed at night wondering if I would wake up. That may sound extreme but despite all these symptoms, it just wasn’t obvious what was wrong with me.

Then I got a throat infection and 10 days of antibiotics did not get rid of it. I will forever be grateful to my doctor. Instead of just writing me another prescription, he sat me down with a medical history form and ordered a comprehensive blood test. My thyroid numbers were off the charts and I was put on levothyroxine immediately.

Over a period of a few months I emerged as a new person. I had light in my previously tired eyes and a spring in my step. My brain was clearer, my energy higher, and I didn’t have to worry about choking on dinner or asphyxiating in my sleep.

I joked with my husband that he is a lucky man to marry a woman that gets thinner and fitter with age. I was able to get pregnant. With careful monitoring of my thyroid throughout pregnancy I now have two healthy children. Yes, I have to take a pill every morning, but that is a very small price to pay for a new life.

To find out more about hypothyroidism see our information leaflet