What the F**K is a thyroid?

I was sitting in the doctor's office just having completed the "fun" part of my yearly exam when my doctor feels my neck. He then asks me to swallow at which point I realize I can't. Honestly I started to panic. I didn't even know I couldn't swallow on command. The doctor then explained to me that I had a lump on my thyroid. I thought "a what on my what!" I really had no idea what this organ was or where it was for that matter. The doctor then told me I needed an ultrasound, but not to worry because most thyroid growths are benign. I had so many questions, I didn't even know where to start, other then jumping onto the internet. I spent many hours over the 2 plus years researching so I thought I would put some of the best of it here for you.

What is the thyroid?

According to WebMD
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits low on the front of the neck. Your thyroid lies below your Adam’s apple, along the front of the windpipe. The thyroid has two side lobes, connected by a bridge (isthmus) in the middle. When the thyroid is its normal size, you can’t feel it.

Brownish-red in color, the thyroid is rich with blood vessels. Nerves important for voice quality also pass through the thyroid.

The thyroid secretes several hormones, collectively called thyroid hormones. The main hormone is thyroxine, also called T4.

According to Suzy Cohen, RPh the author of Thyroid Healthy the thyroid does the following:

  • Regulates your heartbeat  
  • Warms you up                              
  • Speeds metabolism so you lose weight                                
  • Improves muscle strength          
  • Replenishes dying cells with healthy ones                                  
  • Grows your hair and nails          
  • Gives you regularity                      
  • Improves your ability to conceive
  • Reduces sensations of pain          
  • Makes you feel happy and content

According to WebMD the thyroid: 

*Regulate the rate at which calories are burned, affecting weight loss or weight gain.
*Can slow down or speed up the heartbeat.
*Can raise or lower body temperature.
*Influence the rate at which food moves through the digestive tract.
*Control the way muscles contract.
*Control the rate at which dying cells are replaced.

I think it's safe to say that based on what the thyroid regulates it is VERY IMPORTANT and that losing or killing your thyroid is actually a huge deal! Simply replacing it with a T4 pill like levothyroxine may not be the simple process we are told it is. Would I go back and keep my thyroid? Of course not;  it was covered in cancer! However, it would have been nice if someone had stressed to me how big of a deal this really was. Our thyroid is important and losing it is no walk in the park.

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