I feel awake! That is a new feeling

I am not tired. Well I am at this precise moment but that is because I worked a full shift today and it is time for bed. In general though, not so much. To say that is a big deal for me because of my endocrine problems, all of which cause tiredness. The biggest guilty party is of course my underactive thyroid. It is another piece of my body guilty for not producing all the hormones I need and so means I have to replace them manually. 75mg tablets are apparently too much of a hassle to manufacture so I take two pills a day to make up for that tiny gland of fun. Seriously though, that whole idea of not being tired is weird. I feel more awake these days than I have in about ten.

My thyroid packed in way before anyone realised. It just happened that when I was nineteen it got way worse and more tests were done. Basically I got prodded with even more needles. I was the odd one, of course as I always am when it comes to my health, in that the levels showing on the tests never reached what should be termed a diagnosis but after a lot of arguing Doctors realised I had the symptoms. I had the disease. I was just one of the rare ones that has it hide on the blood work. With caution and a lot of angry emails from my endocrinologist, who happens to be a specialist in thyroidism in diabetics, my GP prescribed me tablets. I spent the next six months as a pin cushion lab rat as they watched the THS and whatever else levels and the amount of levothyroxin tablets I was taken and then of course how I was as a human. Awake was the word I like to use.

It was like coming out of a haze. After needing 13 or 14 hours sleep I now ‘only’ needed 12 or 11! Sure when I was awake I was too ill to do anything but STILL. I was UP. It was a really big deal. After the first six months my levels settled. To give me any more of my medication would make me ‘overactive’ and cause all sorts of other problems so I now manage things the best that I can. For a couple of years I did need that 11 or 12 hours sleep and then slowly it became 10 and since I started uni again in January 2015 I battled it down to 9 by May and now I am back to needing 8 hours sleep before work. On my days off I take the 9 or 10 but I find that the balance works for me right now.

To go to work on the average amount of sleep is huge for me. It is something I never thought I would be able to do again. I really thought that I would always need around the 10 hour mark to function properly and I accepted I would give up free time to work. To have these extended hours when I come home at night is amazing. Sure I travel an hour in and an hour back but don’t most? I feel normal. I thought my contract would be 15 hours but it turns out to be zero hours and most weeks I hit at least 30 and yet I am managing. Blinking burning eyes from four pm and barely finding the strength to get dressed have transformed to a woman reading the history of the Celts to and from work and not getting in till near eight. It is quite the transformation. It is like a phoenix rising that I have tattooed on my arm.

I do like my job. It can be stressful when there is a busload of small children that don’t have enough money for their goods but also rewarding when I’m laughing in the stockroom with my girls or spending time making a display look good. I love to hear people gushing about how they enjoyed their day, even if I’m still one of the ones that would rather hear them talk than prod a conversation. I used to worry about ending up in hospital if my insulin did not work or never being able to work because I was so tired. Now I worry that there is no soft toys being sent up and if out partner C is ok, given we are all hassling them to get the stock to us faster.

That is a pretty good life to be to be honest.

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