I wanted to write this story in January for Thyroid awareness month, however I got sick and it put me out of commission for a bit. Today is the first day that I’m feeling better so here it is.
Soon after I gave birth to my son, I started exhibiting symptoms of hyper thyroid disease, medically termed Grave’s Disease. Unfortunately for me, I was misdiagnosed by my doctor, including various specialists that I was referred to, for four years. By the end of my fourth year, my symptoms were so severe my life was upside down. I had many symptoms too numerous to list, but the hardest was my heart. I was in my early 30s and I had to be carried up to bed, because walking up the stairs would give me major chest pains and difficulty breathing. The heart medication they put me on took forever to work. I finally switched doctors, and he found my disease in my liver enzymes. You see the problem with Thyroid disease is that the only way to monitor your thyroid hormone levels is through a blood test and unfortunately for most, we have symptoms way before it shows up in our blood stream, and they won’t adjust the medications without the verification from a blood test, a vicious cycle.
When they sent me for a radioactive iodine thyroid uptake scan to check my hormone levels, after four hours the normal level is 5-15% I was 68% after 24 hours normal range is 15-35% I was at 90%. The scan technician freaked out when he saw my results. He paced back and forth to the phone numerous times and the look on his face was of horror. Talk about anxiety, this guy was freaking me out. I finally couldn’t take it and asked him what was wrong, he told me that he does this numerous times a day and he has never come across anyone this severe and he needed to speak to my doctor right away, but he was having trouble reaching him, which is the only reason he shared this info with me. He then asked me how I was functioning and I needed to be hospitalized. Well…..that was it for me, as soon as he turned to phone my doctor again I ran out the door and sped home as fast as I could. If only it were that easy, soon after I receive that dreaded phone call from my doctor. She gave my 24 hours to make a decision for treatment and neither of them were good ones. I won’t get into the horrors of that treatment, but I will share with you what I learned from that whole experience.
I learned how precious life is, and how easily it can be taken away from you. How quickly your life can change and how little control we have over it. How when you’re faced with serious issues, you find out whom your real friends are, and how important your family is. The biggest lesson I learned was how important my faith is to me, and it was my faith, that pulled me through a very dark time. I made new friends in the Church, and their prayers & support helped to keep me calm, and hopeful. Their outreach to me, I will treasure in my heart forever.
I’m not certain what awareness I can bring to the cause, since so much of auto immune diseases are a mystery, but what I can tell you is to trust your gut, and be persistent with your Dr. If it feels wrong it probably is. Each moment in life is precious, don’t waste them, give your time to those you love uninterrupted, put your phone or computer aside, and tell them you love them. Words are powerful, use them for good and never give in to what tries to bring you down.