I didn’t know what an autoimmune disease was until I was told that I have Graves Disease. I didn’t know a body could get so confused that it would start attacking perfectly good organs.
A few years ago I was feeling really crummy. I was sweating a lot. A LOT. My heart raced for no reason. I couldn’t sleep and I felt anxious all the time. My stomach always felt empty and I had constant heartburn. I was jittery and wanted to crawl right out of my own skin. I was so exhausted that getting through the day was like swimming through a deep pool of mud. At first I thought I was just getting old and hormonal so I tried to ignore it. But the longer it went on, the more I knew that something was horribly wrong with me. After months and months of doctors and blood draws, I was told that I have Graves Disease. My body was attacking my thyroid.
I was put on a drug called Methamizole. This was to calm my thyroid down and hopefully send me into remission. I started to feel a bit better. Some of my symptoms subsided. But then other ones took their place. And I never went into remission.
A close friend of Graves Disease is Thyroid Eye Disease. I found this out when my body started attacking my eye muscles. This caused my eyes to bug out of my head. Now I hate looking into mirrors because I look like a frightened frog. My eyes are always dry and burning, sunshine and headlights are painful, and it’s starting to affect my vision.
This Summer I had my thyroid removed and soon I’ll have surgery on my eyes. There’s no cure for Graves so I guess there’ll always be something I’ll have to do or fix because of it.
I’m an annoyingly upbeat person but it gets to me sometimes. I feel like somewhere along the way I’ve lost the person that I was before all this started. Like I see myself as two people now; Anna BG (before Graves) and Anna AG (after Graves). Anna BG had lots of energy. Everyone told her she had beautiful eyes and she hardly ever got sick. Anna AG is struggling to get her energy back. She looks freaky and she never feels quite right.
I don’t let myself wallow in it though because I know there are a lot of worse things I could have. I know I’m lucky that Graves is at least treatable. And who knows, maybe Anna BG will show up again one day. I catch a glimpse of her now and then so maybe she isn’t really gone for good…
To learn more about Graves Disease please visit, https://www.thyroid.org/graves-disease/