My parents have this thing where they don’t tell me a certain disease or inclination runs in our family until I get it. When I had my first panic attack, my mother looked at me like I was crazy and blamed it on drinking too much. (Ok, fair enough.) When I had my second, an attack that had me running to the hospital, I told her the doctor thought I’d had, not a heart attack like I thought, but a panic attack. I mentioned this three for four times over the course of a week before Mom said:
“Oh yeah. Your father gets those. Me too.”
“Couldn’t you have mentioned that the first time I couldn’t breath and started shaking uncontrollably?” I asked.
Mom shrugged. “I do think you drink too much.”
So, it didn’t come as a surprise when I had lunch with them the other day and I mentioned that even though I’d been dieting and exercising, I just couldn’t lose weight. This was not the first time I’d moaned about this phenomenon. Not by a long shot.
“Maybe it’s your thyroid,” said Mom.
“Why would it be my thyroid?” I asked.
“We have hypothyroidism in the family,” she said.
“And it looks like you have a goiter on your neck.”
I dropped my fork and my chin fell to the table. I grasped my neck and looked around the restaurant, expecting to see children pointing at me in horror.
“Did you just casually tell me I have some sort of disgusting lump protruding from my throat? When were you going to mention that? Did I have to bring up weight loss to get you to point out the undeveloped twin I have growing from the side of my neck?”
“It’s just that’s how I found out about mine,” said Mom. “Someone pointed out my swollen throat.”
“So this is revenge?” I asked.
I turned to my Dad. “Do I look like I have a huge throbbing goiter on my neck?”
Dad rolled his eyes. “No,” he said.
Thank goodness. Dad would be the voice of reason. My mother was nuts.
“What you have there,” he continued. “would disappear if you lost some weight.”
“Son of a…”
So I left lunch thinking my mother saw me as some sort of lagoon creature and my father called me ‘fatty’ behind my back. Great. Great lunch guys. Thanks for picking up the check, it was totally worth it.
But when I went home I started thinking. What if I did have hypothyroidism? I looked up the symptoms and I had just about every one to some degree or another. Maybe that was why I was so slow to lose weight? Hurrah! I could have hypothyroidism!
I hadn’t been so excited since the last time Cadbury Eggs were released. I wrote my doctor and demanded a blood test. I started shopping for the skinny clothes I would wear as soon as I got the magic pill that stopped hypothyroidism and I instantly dropped twenty pounds.
I got the blood panel back a day later. Totally normal. I’m healthy as an ox.
Turns out I’m just “hungry” and “unmotivated” and have a lust for “life.” (and by life I mean chocolate and wine and anything meat related, emphasis on bacon.)
“Shit,” I said. “Shit, shit shit.”
“Oh, we get that too,” said Mom.
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