Last Updated on September 20, 2023 by Anna Baumann
When I Was Told That I Have Graves Disease
When I was told that I have Graves Disease, I didn’t even know what an Autoimmune Disease was. I had no idea that a body could get so confused that it would start attacking itself.
Several years ago, I was feeling crummy, sweaty, and anxious. Sometimes, I was so jittery that I wanted to crawl right out of my skin. My heart raced for no reason, my hands trembled, and I couldn’t sleep. Heartburn and hunger were almost constant, along with other uncomfortable stomach issues. My emotions were also all over the place! One minute, I was a sad and crying mess. The next, I was screaming with anger and rage. And most of the time, my poor brain felt like it was in a fog of confusion and forgetfulness. Dealing with that odd combination of symptoms was so exhausting that living through a day was like swimming against the current in a deep, muddy river.
At first I thought I was just getting old and hormonal so I fluffed it all off and plowed through. But the longer it went on, the more I knew that something was horribly wrong with me. It took several months of doctor visits and wrong turns to discover that I have Graves Disease. My body attacks my thyroid.
Graves Disease Treatment Options
My Endocrinologist prescribed a drug called Methimazole. That was to calm my thyroid down and hope that Graves Disease would go into remission. I started to feel somewhat better. Some symptoms, like my racing heart and trembling hands, subsided. But other ones took their place. And I never went into remission. My doctors were adamant that Methimazole was not a long-term solution. They said I had about 18 months to decide if I wanted my thyroid radiated or removed.
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. Even after lid reduction surgery, my eyes are often dry and burning, and sunshine and headlights are painful.
During the Summer of 2017, I had a total thyroidectomy. I wasn’t comfortable with radioactive idoine. My body went haywire when I wasn’t knowingly doing anything to aggravate it. So I decided not to intentionally injest something that‘s only handled by people wearing HAZMAT. It seems to me like a recipe for causing more problems.
Living with Graves Disease
I don’t regret my thyorid removal. It took a while, but once things leveled out a lot of my exhaustion and anxiety subsided.
There’s no cure for Graves Disease. So I live with a lingering fear that it’s sitting inside of my body waiting for the opportunity to cause more trouble. Coincidentally, (Or not?) since my diagnosis I’ve developed a few other challenging health issues.
I’m an annoyingly upbeat person, but it gets to me sometimes. I feel like somewhere along the way I lost the person that I was. 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 always feels just a little bit off.
Although it’s not curable, I’m very grateful that Graves is treatable. I might never feel 100% well, but I do feel better than I did. 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/
Disclaimer: This post is based on my own personal experience. It is not intended as medical advice. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or medical condition.