12-year old Roísín was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at the age of four. Her diagnosis has inspired her to paint a beautiful butterfly, which has been made into a notelet design raising funds for the BTF. Roísín explains about her design inspiration and living with hypothyroidism. 

Could you tell us a little about your card design and what inspired it?

I painted this butterfly at my art class, I chose the design because the shape of the thyroid reminds me of a butterfly, and the colours are some of my favourites. 

When and how was your thyroid condition diagnosed?

I was 4 years old when I was first diagnosed with an underactive thyroid. I hadn't been well for a while and my mam noticed that I was very tired, had stopped growing and wasn't myself. So she took me to the doctors and they eventually discovered my thyroid condition. 

I don't remember much but I remember having to have my blood taken lots, and I found it very hard because I was only little and was scared. I didn't really understand it all because I was so young. But eight years later

 I don't mind getting my bloods taken one bit, I even watch them do it! 

Did your family know much about hypothyroidism before your diagnosis? 

My family didn't really know much about hypothyroidism before I was diagnosed, so they had to learn about it all quite quickly, and we are still learning now. They got lots of sup

port and information from the BTF and it really helped them. 

How long did it take for you to start feeling better after starting medication? Have there been any bumps along the way?

For the first six months, it was really tough because the doctors struggled to get the right level of medication. At one point I was on too much and it made my thyroid overactive and it took a while to get it right. Over the years I have mostly been fine, but there have been times when I have felt very tired. I sometimes get brain fog and struggle to concentrate. I now know which symptoms to look for now and ask for my bloods to be done when I have them. 

How has your diagnosis affected both you and those close to you?

I was diagnosed four days before starting reception so it was a tricky time. When everyone else was just focusing on learning their numbers and phonics I was getting bloods done every week and feeling all over the place. My school was very supportive and made sure I was ok. I'm 12 now and there have been times when it's been difficult. The symptoms can sometimes make me feel a bit rubbish, but I know I can ask for my bloods to be done and my parents and school are really supportive. Most of the time I am absolutely fine though, and almost forget that I have hypothyroidism!

Have you been able to get the information and support you need – from medical professionals, friends & family, your school, the BTF etc?

When I was first diagnosed I was a bit too young to understand everything. As I got older my mam and dad always talked to me about hypothyroidism and we used videos and information from the BTF to help me understand more. My doctors have always been brilliant and my school do everything they can to make me feel supported when I need it.

Do you have a message for anyone who may have recently been diagnosed with a thyroid condition or is currently struggling with their symptoms?

For anyone who has been recently diagnosed with hypothyroidism I'd say not to worry. It can be scary at first but once you are on the right medication things will be absolutely fine. I certainly have never let my hypothyroidism stop me do anything. I go to scouts, stage school and art classes. I love hiking, painting; spending time with my friends and my thyroid never stops me. 

My advice for anyone struggling with their symptoms is to talk to your parents, your friends and your school to make sure you get lots of support. It can be really hard when your symptoms are bad, and it's ok to feel a bit rubbish and sad, but it isn't always going to be bad and it doesn't have to define who you are. 

The cards are £3.99 for a pack of 10 and are available from our online shop or by phoning us on 01423 810093. All proceeds will support our work.

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