Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Slightly Annoyed

The news is Oprah has gained weight again. Now that doesn't bother or surprise me in the slightest. What does bother me about this latest media frenzy over her weight is that she's got a thyroid condition. Which one, I'm not sure. It's pretty well known that having a "thyroid condition" can be a euphemism for being fat.

But you know what? I've got a thyroid condition too, Graves' Disease.

Last year, there was a period during my treatment that I was essentially being over-medicated, so I fell into hypothyroidism. All I wanted to do was sleep and that's pretty much all I did. I'd go to class or go to work, but my free time? Yeah, I was out cold.

It occurred to me that something was off when I saw a news report. They were talking about a female golfer and how she'd made some achievement. I can't even remember what her achievement was, but I felt a flash of happiness for her and then started shedding tears of joy for her. I cried! Now, there is nothing wrong with crying, but yeah, that's a bit extreme. I got online, did some research and started analyzing my lab numbers.

It ends up I was being kept on the low end of the "normal" range. I told my doctor firmly to cut it out, roll back the meds and since then, things have been much better. I'm also simply much more aggressive when it comes to changes. If I feel a certain way, I don't let my doctor dismiss it. I stress that I'm the one who has to go home and try to live with this. Therefore, how I feel is just as important as those numbers on my chart.

Initially, I was annoyed with Oprah, because I felt she wasn't putting the emphasis in the right place. The right place, I feel, is diagnosis and treatment. It's also just with talking about it and sharing with people who have thyroid disorders. I learned more about this disease on forums talking to others dealing with it than I have anywhere else. However, I realized that I haven't heard her say anything. I've not read the essay that will be published in next month's O magazine, and I've not read any quotes or statements from her.

Realizing this, I ran a search and saw some ridiculous titles:

What's up with the meanness? This is NOT just about yo-yo dieting. We all know that's a huge thing with her, but this is more than that.

Thyroid disorders are serious and they're hard to treat because it's a balancing act. That's the case if you undergo radiation treatment, which means you're on hormones until you die, or if you're on some other sort of treatment. The goal is to get your hormone levels into an optimal balance. I've gone from not being able to sleep at all, to sleeping way too much. It has affected my weight. I hate it, but I find it's much, much harder...not impossible, but harder to try to regulate my weight. That ranges from exercise to food.

Also, people suffering from thyroid disorders, like those who suffer from diabetes and other diseases aren't really noticeable. You look normal. People think you're perfectly healthy but maybe just a little fat. Or, like with diabetes, you can be in the middle of a serious insulin reaction and the people around you think you're drunk or sleepy. It's frustrating, infuriating and, when serious stuff happens, dangerous.

This seems to be a more reasonable approach:6 Reasons Why Oprah Winfrey Doesn't Have to Weigh 200 Pounds. Granted, she's hawking a diet book, but that's better than being an ass about it.

Anyway, I definitely empathize with Oprah this time. I think the people being rude about it need to just shut it. They also need to maybe, just maybe, try to understand that thyroid conditions are difficult. It's probably not surprising that someone who has a history of weight issues can easily gain weight in this situation.

I'll be curious to see what the article in next month's O has to say on it.

I hope she stops the yo-yo dieting, accepts her body and aims for a healthy body. There is nothing wrong with not being skinny as long as you're in shape.

Huffington Post: Officially Obese: What Does that Mean for You?

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