I Have a Goiter

A lump in my throat, the size of a boulder*

jd-and-her-goiter3.jpg

Goiters! They’re not just for old ladies anymore.

Actually goiters are pretty common, especially among women. I’ve been the proud owner of a goiter since I was about 26.

At that time, I was diagnosed with Graves’ Disease, or hyperactive thyroid, which is characterized by shakiness, heart palpitations, weight loss, and an increase in appetite. Yup, increased appetite and weight loss. Those were good, good, unhealthy times. Sadly, as is often the case, my Graves’ turned into Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, which is hypothyroidism. Low energy, weight gain, and—so unfair!—no decrease in appetite!

Goiter is just another way of saying “enlarged thyroid gland.” My thyroid is about 4 times bigger than normal. That sounds huge, but believe me, there are WAY more huge goiters out there. If you’re curious, just Google-image “goiter” and then see if you can swallow normally for the next 15 minutes.

I take a pill to keep my goiter from getting any bigger and also to regulate my thyroid function. I’d love to blame my excess weight on my slow thyroid, but I just ate 4 donuts in one sitting, so maybe I’m partly responsible.

Speaking of food, have you ever heard of goitrogenic foods? If you think you may have thyroid problems, you’d best be avoiding rutabagas, millet, and turnips.

A goiter, tho lumpy, doesn’t fall into the category of “lovely lady lumps,” I’m sorry to say. I don’t think it’s that noticeable, but my doctor does, and he would love to slice open my neck and scoop it out. However, it’s really not causing me any problems (other than having to chew my food for 10 minutes so I can swallow without choking and dying).

You know, I kind of like my goiter. I think I’ll keep it.

Did You Know?
  • Your thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly (aww, pretty!)
  • Thyroid disease is an auto-immune disease, which is medical jargon for “We don’t know what causes it!”
  • George H.W. Bush, his wife, Barbara, and their DOG, Millie, all had thyroid problems

If you think you may have a goiter:

  • Don’t panic! They’re common and treatable. Get your big bulging neck to an endocrinologist, who can perform some simple and painless tests
  • Visit Mary Shomon’s site for all things goiterous and thyroidian
  • Consider purchasing some of these attractive neck-wear items to hide that disgusting bulge in your throat:

Please check back for what I’m sure will be an exciting update on my thyroid after I have a suspicious nodule biopsied in October!

Today’s lyrics are courtesy of Dream Theater.

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23 Comments


23 Responses to “I Have a Goiter”

  1. 1 Miki

    aw, i am with you: i don’t think your goiter is at all that noticeable…unless accompanied by a diagrammed photo with lovely arrows for those of us who actually though of “gaiter” and wondered what a photo of someone’s throat was doing up here when we should be looking at legs.

    and how did all the Bushs, including their dog, get thryoid problems? Maybe it was some sort of osmosis?

  2. 2 Joanne

    I love the humorous blog theme you’ve got going here. And, haha…the arrow pointing to “pre-cancerous freckles” made me laugh out loud!!

  3. 3 JD

    Thanks, Joanne! Hey, I’ve read about you in a certain Pirate Story, haven’t I? I’ve checked out your blog a few times–it’s really good. And curly-haired women RULE!

  4. 4 JD

    Thanks, Miki. Yeah, I usually don’t walk around with a giant arrow pointing to it. How many people even know the word “gaiter”?? That’s so funny.

    I didn’t think thyroiditis was contagious; maybe it was something in the water? Not enough salt? WEIRD!

  5. 5 Kimberly

    Dang. I did this too. If I had know you had already done it… I wouldn’t have?!?!?

  6. 6 JD

    Kimberly: Maybe this is one of those things you had to do, even tho I did it so you didn’t have to…? I hope yours went well and you got good results. Dang, indeed!

    JD’s last blog post..I Love the 80s so you don’t have to

  7. 7 mary

    so what is the best solution for goiter? and how it will be prevented? what if its from heredity? it can be treatment or not?

  8. 8 JD

    Mary: I’m no expert, but if a goiter is big enough, a doctor will prescribe medication to keep it from getting any bigger. Then it’s usually just monitored. Thyroid disease is definitely hereditary (tho not always). I’m not sure if it’s possible to prevent a goiter, but the treatment, like I said, is usually thyroid replacement medication that you take for the rest of your life.

    Hope this was of some help!

  9. 9 Mark

    It looks like “madam’s” apple

  10. 10 JD

    Mark: All right, now that is just damn funny. Why haven’t I thought of that before? HA! I’m stealing it . . .

  11. 11 O.T.

    If your thyroid has simple cyst in it, the PEI treatment can shrink the cyst, making the goiter less noticeable

  12. 12 JD

    O.T.: Thanks, O.T. But mine isn’t simple, so I have to keep having it tested. One of these days I’ll just have the whole thing ripped out.

  13. 13 Colby

    People too weak to give a shit about their body sicken me. If you want to fix your problem and influence others positively, take this page down and eat healthier foods. In fact, fast for a week, then eat healthier foods. Stop seeing your doctor. Take kelp and seaweed supplements regularly. Drink raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar twice a day (two shots — normal shot volume), eat raw vegetables and fruits, drink 10-20 glasses of water a day, stop taking your “medicine (drugs),” and generally stop acting like a disgusting zombie.

    That is, if you want to stop being ugly and unhealthy… the world is better off without such a pathetic hindrance. Also, anyone who breeds with this filthy example of a human being should expect a nice little retarded baby. My trash bags at home are less sickening than this page.

  14. 14 Pita

    Could you pls change the color of the comments below? I can't read them, but since I have Graves Disease, I am interested in them.

    Thanks!

  15. 15 JD at I Do Things

    Hi, Pita!

    I'm working on fixing the color of the comments section. Until then,
    here's a copy and paste. Hope you find it helpful! (The comment that
    appears first is kind of nasty, but I kept it, just to prove I'm not
    bothered by such things.)

    *
    Colby [Moderator] 1 week ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    People too weak to give a shit about their body sicken me. If you
    want to fix your problem and influence others positively, take
    this page down and eat healthier foods. In fact, fast for a week,
    then eat healthier foods. Stop seeing your doctor. Take kelp and
    seaweed supplements regularly. Drink raw, unfiltered apple cider
    vinegar twice a day (two shots — normal shot volume), eat raw
    vegetables and fruits, drink 10-20 glasses of water a day, stop
    taking your “medicine (drugs),” and generally stop acting like a
    disgusting zombie.

    That is, if you want to stop being ugly and unhealthy… the world
    is better off without such a pathetic hindrance. Also, anyone who
    breeds with this filthy example of a human being should expect a
    nice little retarded baby. My trash bags at home are less
    sickening than this page.
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/f85ab020d1286cd7e378983…> JD
    <http://idothings.info/> [Moderator] 1 year ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    *O.T.:* Thanks, O.T. But mine isn't simple, so I have to keep
    having it tested. One of these days I'll just have the whole thing
    ripped out.
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/eb420d02436f31413946882…> O.T.
    [Moderator] 1 year ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    If your thyroid has simple cyst in it, the PEI treatment can
    shrink the cyst, making the goiter less noticeable
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/f85ab020d1286cd7e378983…> JD
    <http://idothings.info/> [Moderator] 1 year ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    *Mark:* All right, now that is just damn funny. Why haven't I
    thought of that before? HA! I'm stealing it . . .
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/e3e87653ba251ad660173ec…> Mark
    [Moderator] 1 year ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    It looks like “madam's” apple
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/f85ab020d1286cd7e378983…> JD
    <http://idothings.info/> [Moderator] 2 years ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    *Mary:* I'm no expert, but if a goiter is big enough, a doctor
    will prescribe medication to keep it from getting any bigger. Then
    it's usually just monitored. Thyroid disease is definitely
    hereditary (tho not always). I'm not sure if it's possible to
    prevent a goiter, but the treatment, like I said, is usually
    thyroid replacement medication that you take for the rest of your
    life.

    Hope this was of some help!
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/c255e9419d976d03fc696d7…> mary
    [Moderator] 2 years ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    so what is the best solution for goiter? and how it will be
    prevented? what if its from heredity? it can be treatment or not?
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/9e944c9082708fbe9d1fa3e…> JD
    <http://idothings.info/> [Moderator] 2 years ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    *Kimberly:* Maybe this is one of those things you had to do, even
    tho I did it so you didn't have to…? I hope yours went well and
    you got good results. Dang, indeed!

    /JD's last blog post..I Love the 80s so you don’t have to
    <http://feeds.feedburner.com/%7Er/idothings/%7E3
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/5bec37f4f13eab30b74185d…>
    Kimberly <http://keepsmelaughing.com/> [Moderator] 2 years ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    Dang. I did this too. If I had know you had already done it… I
    wouldn't have?!?!?
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/9e944c9082708fbe9d1fa3e…> JD
    <http://idothings.info/> [Moderator] 2 years ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    Thanks, Miki. Yeah, I usually don't walk around with a giant arrow
    pointing to it. How many people even know the word “gaiter”??
    That's so funny.

    I didn't think thyroiditis was contagious; maybe it was something
    in the water? Not enough salt? WEIRD!
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/9e944c9082708fbe9d1fa3e…> JD
    <http://idothings.info/> [Moderator] 2 years ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    Thanks, Joanne! Hey, I've read about you in a certain *Pirate
    Story* <http://www.dcrblogs.com/2007/08/29/pirate-links/>, haven't
    I? I've checked out your blog a few times–it's really good. And
    curly-haired women RULE!
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/12884f44a288477d3d47fd9…>
    Joanne <http://j-amusement.blogspot.com/> [Moderator] 2 years ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    I love the humorous blog theme you've got going here. And,
    haha…the arrow pointing to “pre-cancerous freckles” made me
    laugh out loud!!
    Moderate
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>
    LikeReply Reply
    *
    <http://disqus.com/guest/09e6be827aa78998d1a2384…> Miki
    <http://domestitchery.com/> [Moderator] 2 years ago
    <http://idothings.info/i-have-a-goiter-so-you-do…>

    aw, i am with you: i don't think your goiter is at all that
    noticeable…unless accompanied by a diagrammed photo with lovely
    arrows for those of us who actually though of “gaiter” and
    wondered what a photo of someone's throat was doing up here when
    we should be looking at legs.

    and how did all the Bushs, including their dog, get thryoid
    problems? Maybe it was some sort of osmosis?

  16. 16 Laura

    Hey JD…quite late to this post I know.

    Found you through Kathy (The Junk Drawer) and I’ve been reading backwards through your blog for the past week or so and quite enjoying myself. Sorry you got hit with the idiot up there who has no concept of thyroid conditions or auto-immune disorders.

    I actually have Hashimoto’s myself…although my dr caught it very early on and I haven’t had as many of the side effects as most people deal with; although I did have a lovely panic attack (or “what-if” syndrome) as one of my main ‘markers’. I know that tends to be a hyper symptom but what can I say…I don’t do things right way round.

    I was wondering what they have you on…natural or synthetic replacement. We tried synthetic on me at first but most of my symptoms didn’t clear up so my Dr switched my to Armour (until the lovely FDA debacle with that) so now I get to pay through the nose for compounding so I can get the meds that work (vs the ones that don’t)

    ANYway…just wanted to let you know how much I’m enjoying reading (and passing along) your blog.

    Aloha
    .-= Laura´s last blog ..A little Epiphany =-.

  17. 17 JD

    Laura: Hi, Laura — and welcome! Any friend of Kathy’s, etc., etc.

    You know, I used to have pretty bad panic attacks, but I really don’t think they were related to thyroid issues. But who knows. It’s a weird disease. I haven’t always reacted “normally” to either the medication or the condition itself. I’ve always taken Synthroid and done well on it. I’ve heard about the issues with Armour, and it sucks. Why do insurance companies and government agencies make it so hard for us to get the drugs we need?

    Well, thanks again for reading and for chiming in. Very nice to “meet” you!

  18. 18 Mike

    I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism at 13 years old (eight years ago). I had my labs done once or twice, though I’m unaware of the specific levels. The word “Hashimoto’s” was never mentioned – just “hypothyroidism”. I briefly went on Synthroid (200mcg, IIRC), but we didn’t have insurance, and often ran out of money when it was time to refill the prescription. So after being on and off for about two years, I decided it was not a good thing to do and remained off it since. I started taking Kelp supplements recently (325 mcg, daily), but after researching that too much kelp can worsen the conditions, I replaced the kelp with two servings of table salt daily (about 90% DV, plus whatever is in the other foods I eat).

    I do not have any of the symptoms of hypthyroidism – just a bit of weight, which I am not concerned about. My goiter isn’t a bulge, but it is visible. I am 22 years old, and I eat healthy-ish; I’m not a raw-food or vegan nazi like Colby, but I simply try to eat lean, drink water exclusively (8-10 glasses, daily), and eat no junk food at all. If I continue like this untreated, is there a chance my goiter could grow (specifically to the size of those which turn up in Google searches)? It hasn’t seemed to grow at all, to me. Yes, I know I should see a doctor, but I am extremely agoraphobic and would rather be asphyxiated to death by my condition than entertain a stay to the doctor’s office, to put it bluntly. Additionally, I am averse to doctors and physicians as they seem more motivated by paychecks and climbing the ladder than actual health concerns, in my experience.

    I understand you are not a doctor, but could you tell me the rate of growth for your goiter? I’m not so much concerned about it getting big as I am about having a nightmarish stay in a hospital to get it removed. Thanks.

  19. 19 TB

    I wish there was a cure for this stupid disease.

    I’ve heard of recent research that is leaning towards the idea that hypothyroidism and has its root in immune system issues. We’ve known for a long time that the immune system in some cases reads the thyroid gland as an enemy and attacks it, but this study seems to indicate that it is involved in a larger way in the other forms then we previously thought.

    I also read an interview recently with a Chinese Herbalist who talked about hypothyroidism. In the Chinese system diseases and food are divided into hot/cold….kind of like Yin/Yang. (this isn’t cooked/uncooked but refers to the foods basic nature). Hypothyroidism is a cold disease so one of the things she recommends is to eat warm/hot foods to balance ones system out.

    peace.

  20. 20 JD

    TB: Yeah, me too. Very interesting information. I might look into the Chinese system of hot/cold. It couldn’t hurt. I recently started doing Bikram yoga (for back issues), and I overheard another student say that by going to Bikram 3-4 times a week, she was able to ditch her thyroid meds and feels better than she has in years!

  21. 21 TB

    JD,

    That’s awsome. I’ve heard good things about Bikram Yoga. In the interview I referred to earlier they also mentioned Chi-Gong as being helpful.

    If the yoga works for you too I’d love to read about it.

    Good Luck

  1. 1   I Have a Goiter so you don’t have to by Health Tips
  2. 2 RDoctor Medical

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