Hello reader. It is a pleasure to meet you. I am Viv and I have been a sufferer of a thyroid disorder for over 15 years. What began as an undiagnosed case of Grave’s disease under the pretext of “oh, it’s just stress” quickly became the one thing that my focus would shift to as “just stress” could no longer explain why I would pass out in the middle of the day almost unconscious and completely drained, or why my temper was so quick to switch, or why my hair was falling out or why I would feel like it was 100 degrees in a comfortable 78 degree setting, etc.
After what was about 6-7 years of going from one endocrinologist to the next, my family finally had had enough and they gave me an ultimatum… did I tell you that the people who are supposed to love you the most actually are forced to hate you as you suffer with a hyperthyroid disorder?! It’s due to no fault of theirs actually. I became so unbearable with constant mood swings and continuous fits of anger where not only was I becoming an unpleasant stranger to my closest family but I was also beginning to resent myself. It is also almost impossible to treat Grave’s disease. I know your doctors will probably tell you propyl is a safe drug, but please do your own research and understand the side effects associated with the drug. It made me sick each and every time and I hardly ever took it. I was left with one option, attack the thyroid gland with radioactive iodine therapy. It is a pretty large risk to take but had to be done or else I could stand to lose everything: my partner, my job, my friends and alienate the rest of my family. I went for it…welcome to the next year of my life.
The next chapter of my life with an autoimmune disease had new surprises in store for me. As the months went on and with no way to tell how much of the radioactive iodine was absorbed by my thyroid gland, after all the prednisone use in order to help my thyroid ophthalmopathy (hello weight gain!), I was beginning to exhibit similar symptoms as before the treatment except for some of them which were polar opposites. Sure enough, my thyroid gland had absorbed more of the radioactive iodine than was needed, because it really is not an exact science and the worst case scenario was unfolding right in front of me – I was now becoming HYPOTHYROID – huh?! how?! and why?! WHY ME???
So here I was after what I had thought was a life changing step to only be setting up and embarking on a whole new battle with a whole new set of symptoms to endure and combat. No fun, certainly no time in between to enjoy being symptom free. It was very discouraging but however difficult I must admit, a hypothyroid disorder is a lot easier to keep under control from it’s opposite of the spectrum twin. So now here I am having gone through the past 8 years with an under-active thyroid and honestly it was not the end of the world.
It took me a while to realize how lucky I was to have been touched by an autoimmune disease in my mid-20s and to still be suffering by one. As much as it takes away from your identity, especially as woman via deformed facial features, constant hair and muscle loss, deteriorating skin and nails, weight loss/gain and it robs you from enjoying time with loved ones and it reduces your ability to learn via lack of focus and decreased memory, I still consider my autoimmune disease to be a blessing in disguise. Had it not been for this disease I would have taken a lot for granted, I would have not been so diligent about the foods I ate, the supplements I took and the care I took for my mind and body and honestly would have probably aged a lot differently than I have. I am thankful because being a sufferer has kept me on my toes and helped me be thorough about researching everything, staying on top of my physical health and mental strength. I am a healthier woman because of my autoimmune disease.