Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thyroid Challenges in the Life of Diabetes

I had hoped to write more frequently about diabetes and how it affects my life and the life of my children.  We have adjusted over the years (both were diagnosed in 2006), but it seems there are still bumps in the road.  We've had a real struggle over the past several months.  Our oldest with diabetes, now 16, has had positive antibodies for his thyroid for several years.  Apparently people with diabetes are at higher risk for other autoimmune problems, one of which is thyroid.

So my son's antibody levels were at 8052, with normal being less than 25!  So we've been watching for the symptoms for over a year (fatigue, irritability, moodiness, changes in appetite, weight changes) and with a teenager it is extremely hard to tell what's what.  Is it normal teenage mood swings and moodiness, or is it the thyroid? 

Well, this last time his thyroid levels were checked, it showed up as being off, so he was started on thyroid meds.  What a struggle it has been for the last few months.  I never realized how much your thyroid does.  We have had to deal with his being so tired, (he says, "No matter how much sleep I get, I'm exhausted."), which results in being late for school, falling asleep during school, etc.  So we are having to deal with problems with school, which is a first for us, as he's always made A's and B's without trying.  And dealing with his mood swings is a challenge in itself.  I try to remember there is more going on inside of him than just normal teen mood swings, and it's hard for him to regulate it right now, but it doesn't make living with it any easier!  Some days I feel like I walk on eggshells trying not to upset him!

But, like diabetes, as his medicine gets adjusted, things are getting better.  Interesting though, since he started on his thyroid meds, his bloodwork has gotten worse.  So they are now having to work on adjusting his dose. The school nurse told me it may take six months to get it all adjusted! 

I wish he didn't have to deal with extra stuff on top of diabetes, as dealing with diabetes as a teen is tough enough, and now he has to remember to take another med each day.  But he's a trooper, as all kids with diabetes seem to be, and goes on with life the best he can.  And we learn new things each day, and I certainly have more compassion for those with thyroid issues, and can see first hand how much it can regulate things in life!

If you have any tips on dealing with thyroid stuff, please leave me a comment!  I didn't realize it was so hard just to remember to take a pill each day!


  1. I can't imagine how difficult this is to deal with in a teen. My husband, whom has had t1d for 20 yrs now, was just diagnosed with Graves Disease and for the past year he's been a bear to live with...absolutely horrible actually. He's lost 30lbs, been very moody, falls asleep at the drop of a hat, has an insatiable appetite, dry skin, easily fatigued legs, and is just CRANKY.
    So, that said he's started meds and we're seeing some improvement, but like you know they don't know if it'll work fully and how long it will take. So, we're in it for the long haul but some days it feels more difficult than others.
    Know you're not alone and I am thinking of you and your son as you go through this.
    Take care and Happy Thanksgiving.

  2. Thanks Sarah, It's good to know I'm not crazy for blaming his moods on his thyroid, though I know it's a combination of teen hormones also. Hope your husband gets better too! Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving too!