I went to get an ultrasound on my heart when I was around 8 years old. For while, I had been feeling a strange sensation I couldn’t put into words at that age. The ultrasound showed a healthy heart and doctors sent me on my way.
As a teenager, my symptoms got worse. The flutter in my heart was happening much more often, I felt drained all the time, no matter how many hours I had slept, and I often had sweating episodes. In college, just walking from one class to another on campus felt like I walked through a sauna.
After I turned 18, during one of the first regular checkups with my general practitioner, I explained what I had been feeling. (Turns out, the feeling in my heart was heart palpitations.) My doctor drew blood and said he’d check my thyroid, the butterfly-shaped gland in the front of the neck that affects the metabolism, growth, and development. A few days later, he called me to tell me I needed to see an endocrinologist: my thyroid levels weren’t in the normal range. I had thyroid disease.