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Jan’s story: I can concentrate and study again

I was on the waiting list for a total hysterectomy, aged 42, five years after giving birth to my son. The doctor said it would solve the problem of my very heavy periods, bad PMT, depression, exhaustion and mood swings.

I then became very ill with pleurisy and the doctor thought I had an overactive thyroid because my heart was beating so fast. In fact, the thyroid test revealed an underactive thyroid as the cause of all my symptoms. I actually had autoimmune thyroid disease and once I had researched it years later, on Thyroid UK, my whole life made sense. I had a history of bad neck pain, starting at age 8 and a strange pulling sensation in my thyroid area. I had collapsed after winning a race at school.  At age 13, I suffered crippling pains in my legs and total exhaustion and had months off school. My friends used to carry me home! Then recurrent tonsillitis began and antibiotics every 2 weeks, culminating in a tonsillectomy during my mock A levels. I managed to get to university but ended up in the health centre with pneumonia.  I left university.

Then followed years of bad chest infections and glandular fever. My jobs were always part-time.  I just never knew why I had so much less energy than everyone else.  I also suffered from depression.

My journey has been a long one.  Diana Holmes’ book, ‘Tears Behind Closed Doors’ inspired me to seek out Dr Skinner in 1998 and I have been on Armour ever since.

I suffer from a very rare type of arthritis in my knees called synovialosteochondromatosis which has caused me to have six operations, including a knee replacement age 54. I am due for a second one on the other knee. I feel that so many operations have stressed my body so much that my thyroid recovery is incomplete. I still get ‘poorly’ days and can’t tolerate stress.

My late father was also diagnosed with hypothyroidism as an old man, after years of suffering and misdiagnosis.  He was not able to enjoy his retirement due to his ill health.  Hypothyroidism has badly affected my family and other members also have it.


I have successfully completed level 1 of Open University, showing that my ability to concentrate and study has returned at last.  I am an artist and work from home selling greetings cards and prints of my paintings.  My second knee replacement still hangs over me though, as I know that even more surgery will upset my balance.

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