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Recently I discovered a Facebook group of fellow Hashimoto’s sufferers. I have been reading with heavy heart the posts from people who are trying to figure out their bodies in light of all of the havoc that this disease introduces. So much frustration, desperation, determination, and defeat tinged with sweet, and sometimes too brief, moments of success.

We were all just ordinary people, living ordinary lives, until stuff started not being quite ordinary. Whether it happened suddenly or gradually, our bodies started slowly attacking.

This disease, it does something more than just attack your body. It attacks your mind, your emotions, your ability to relate to the world and to others the way you used to. It’s an unseen enemy, but you know that it’s lurking, so you are always on guard. You are always overthinking. You are always inside your head wondering what you can do to win the next battle. You find your conversations with others consumed with talking things out, trying to explain to those who can’t possibly understand- though you desperately need someone to.

There is a certain tiredness- a physical, bone-numbing tiredness- that impacts everything you do. There is an almost manic search for solutions- what medications to take or not take, what foods to eat or avoid, what exercise to do. You examine everything- every little bump or bruise is suspect. Every ache, pain, swelling, tummy ache is magnified. You just never know where the enemy is going to wage it’s next attack.

This is a life consuming disease that no one understands completely. Sometimes you think you have a solution, only to discover a year later that solution doesn’t work anymore and you have to start looking for another one.

My experience with this disease- going on twenty-three years of it now- has been so drawn out that I no longer readily know what my symptoms are. Like a child who has grown up in a war zone, I have learned to tune out the gunshots and explosions, and just try to manage the best I can. But still, I search for peace just like everyone else.

I saw this quote, attributed to Tim Keller: “Job never saw why he suffered, but he saw God, and that was enough.”  Through all these years of searching for relief from symptoms, I have chosen to accept this disease as a privilege and not a punishment. God has used this disease as one of the instruments of humility- and thus, grace- in my life. It has kept me turning to Him time and again, and anything that draws me closer to my Savior is a sweet blessing.