The About.com Thyroid site came on the scene in early 1997, and about that time, I started my journey as a thyroid patient advocate, a journey that has continued through this first decade of the 21st century! Since 2000, we've seen significant growth in thyroid patient empowerment. Thyroid disease began the decade as a little known, poorly understood, often overlooked, underdiagnosed, and mistreated condition. While we still face significant challenges, things are improving. The reason? Knowledgeable patients are challenging the status quo, and are actively fighting back against the influence of drug companies and dogmatic endocrinologists.
Patient empowerment in the thyroid arena has given rise to an increasing demand for treatments that work, for the pushback by hyperthyroid patients against the "Rush to RAI", for information about thyroid treatment options beyond levothyroxine, and even the formation of the Save Natural Thyroid Coalition, a patient movement to help legitimize and protect the rights to natural desiccated thyroid drugs. Thyroid patients have connected across the globe through online thyroid forums, thyroid support listservs, new interactive sites like DearThyroid and even in thyroid-related communities at the newest online social media sites like Facebook and Twitter.
While this decade saw the demise of the only "patient-specific" group for thyroid disease -- the Thyroid Foundation of America -- the Thyroid Cancer Survivor's Association and the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association have grown, helping promote awareness of thyroid cancer and autoimmune conditions.
As we come to the end of the decade, thyroid patients are far more knowledgeable than ever before, and becoming more so every day!