Graves Disease, a personal account

There is nothing wrong with me!!!

Please hurry up, get out of the way, I'll do it
Please hurry up, get out of the way, I'll do it

How it all began

It was the winter of 2001/2002 and I was fine, brilliant in fact I felt great. It was the rest of the world that had a problem, not me. What was up with everyone, for goodness sake, hurry up say what you got to say, hurry up, get out of my way, you are taking too long. Come on , get a move on, honestly a snail would be quicker, let me do it for goodness sake, I can't bear it, better let me do it. The world was driving me crazy, OK, so my hands were shaking and my hair was like wire and turning rapidly gray, but it was everyone else that had a problem. My problems were nothing, so get out of my way and let me get on. For the first time in my life I was on top of everything, so I didn't go to bed until 1or 2 am and was up again at 5 or 6 am, at least I feel great. Another question that bothered me was 'why was everyone so rude? What do you mean I talk fast? I asked a friend. ' You're gabbling,' she replied, 'slow down I can't keep up with what you're saying.' A shop assistant had said the same thing the day before, and so had my husband and my mother, frequently over the previous months, but that was just the way of the world, rude. Do I complain when they take so long to speak? No, I patiently wait or finish their sentences for them.

Life goes on

That was me for the whole of that winter. Christmas, no problem, catered for eight for lunch alone. New year party for 30, organized it alone, one hand behind my back. I didn't need help, no-one worked quick enough, So I'll do it. People were still being rude though, but now it was that I was staring at them. Me staring? Can't anyone just look anymore? Well the world is getting paranoid. Though I did kind of wondered what had happened to my period, I don't think I've had one recently, or have I?  Well, with all that's going on how am I suppose to know. Anyway, my husband told me something funny, he said I was sleeping with my eyes open. Made me laugh, how can you sleep with your eyes open? He's going mad. Mind you, he did say it scared him, I expect he was still half asleep himself. Poor love, he should get more rest. Another laugh we had the other day, was me trying to thread a needle. Oh my goodness the more I tried, the more my hands shook. He did it in the end, and the sewing as I was still shaking with laughter. Though,thinking about it, it wasn't that funny.

A lot of funny things are happening, I nearly lost my skirt walking to work the other morning. It just slipped down . I expect the skirt is old, or am I loosing weight? Great! I feel fine and loosing weight, without dieting. Life couldn't be better

March 2002 and the doctor

March 2002 and it was our 25th wedding anniversary. So I had organized a get together for around 50 of our friends and relatives. I catered all of it alone. While getting ready I noticed my necklace seemed shorter. The chain was tighter around my neck, still never mind. While the evening was in full swing, my daughter asked me ' What's that swelling in your neck?' Nothing I replied and changed the subject. It was a great evening, I laughed and danced all evening. So what if I could feel my heart racing. That's what happens when you're having fun. There were lots of photographs taken and everyone said how much they enjoyed it.

About two weeks later, my husband was waiting for me outside of where I worked. ' What had happened? Had he been made redundant again? I was shaking all over as I got in the car. 'What's happened?' I eagerly asked

'Nothing,' he answered, 'I took a half day holiday. To go to the doctors.' He started the car and we drove away. 'Why, whats wrong with you? I asked

'Not for me, for you,' he calmly replied.'I understand you have a swelling in your neck.'

Our daughter had obviously told him about my neck, I was furious, how dare they talk about me behind my back. My heart was thumping like a drum in my ears. I let my feelings known to my husband in no uncertain manner as he calmly went on driving. 'There is nothing wrong with me!' I yelled.

'Good he said, pulling up outside the doctor's surgery 'then this won't take long.' I was shown straight into see the doctor. After gabbling on for about five minutes about how fine I was. the doctor took my pulse, 142. He then did an eye exam and talked to my husband about a lag in my eye movements as I followed his pencil up and down. Then he looked at the lump in my neck, took some blood and booked me in to go to the hospital. The doctor then got very serious and told me off for not coming to him earlier, as the raised heart rate could have led to heart failure. He prescribed Beta Blockers and told me he was pretty certain I had Graves disease, an auto immune diseases which, among other things stimulates the thyroid and makes the neck swells. 'Oh like my aunt's goiter,' I replied.

Foggy memories

I have problems remembering
I have problems remembering

The after effects

Well, the doctor and the rest of the world was right, there was something wrong with me. It was Graves disease as the doctor suspected. I was treated for 22 months with a tablet to shut down my thyroid and pills of thyroxine to replace what the thyroid should have produced. Everything is back to normal, the house is a mess and I am overweight. I am sleeping better but it has taken a long time to get my sleeping pattern back, though I can go through patches of insomnia even now. The big thing that bothers me is my memory. The Christmas of 2001 and the New years party, can't remember a thing, only what others have told me. Our anniversary party, vague images, and the photographs, can't bear to look at them. A small wizened woman, bulging eyes and hair like a burst mattress. How could I ever had thought there was nothing wrong! I asked my husband how come that he loves Star Wars films we had never seen Attack of the Clones. He told me we had, in May 2002 as soon as it came out. I have no memory of it, what so ever. I could go on and on about things I can't remember from this time. The doctor doesn't think it has anything to do with Graves Disease, but I would beg to differ. So why did I write this hub? If you recognize any of these symptoms in yourself or anyone you know, get to the doctors before it is too late. You might just save someone's life, like my husband and daughter did. God bless them both.

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Comments 23 comments

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 4 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks for the very kind comment

Mary Kelly Godley 4 years ago

Great article draws you in from the start. Thought I had under active thyroid there for a while but apparently I am just getting older, tireder and my clothes don't fit because of my liking for the finer foods and wines I can't resist (only in Lidl and Tesco's though unfortunately not during my globetrotting lifestyle). Thanks for the follow too.

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 5 years ago from Bristol England Author

The neck swelling is So irratating, I kept wanting to swallow something that wasn't there. However it does pass, so stay possitive.

Chrissy 5 years ago

Bang on with the neck swelling, feels like I'm being choked all the time!

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 5 years ago from Bristol England Author

The shaking and blurry vision is dreadful, it makes you feel like you are loosing control of your own body. I still can't remember Lots of things from this time. Thanks for sharing and remember you are not alone.

fran 5 years ago

im only 24 but i felt like i was 100, shaking and blurry vision, heart going to beat right out of my chest...

I have graves disease too and before i began taking medication i was verrrry tierd and pretty dilusional and just in soo much pain all the time that everything from that time feels like a dream, or fuzzy memories...

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 5 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thank you Quiz Master for the very kind comment, you have made me blush.

The Quiz Master profile image

The Quiz Master 5 years ago from England

I too had never heard of Greaves Disease, what a nightmare you must have gone through.

I commend you for your honesty and most of all sharing this with everyone because you never know when it could happen to you or someone you know.

Thanks to you I know what to look out for.

Glad you're OK now, you seem like such a nice person.

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks for your very inspiring comment. You must be a very strong person to overcome such a devastating illness.

Minnetonka Twin profile image

Minnetonka Twin 6 years ago from Minnesota

Thank you for sharing your story with us. You have such a great sense of humor even with a serious story like this. You did a great job of illustrating the symptoms of graves disease. So glad your family got you into the doctor. I'm a lung cancer survivor (never smoked) and can relate to some of the struggles you had. :)

attemptedhumour profile image

attemptedhumour 6 years ago from Australia

As i found you from the ten greatest football players hub i thought you were talking about Jimmy Greaves syndrome, honestly, ok i'm a plonker. Anyway i read on and i hope things are going well for you and you should give your hubby a medal for being so on the ball, uh ho, football again!

SilverGenes 6 years ago

Graves is something I knew nothing about until your account here. I'm very glad you are feeling better now. We do tend to get into a mindset that whatever is happening is 'fine' and to be expected for any number of reasons. Thank you for this very honest and open view!

CMHypno profile image

CMHypno 6 years ago from Other Side of the Sun

Sorry that you had to go through this horrible experience, jayjay40, and am glad that your husband marched you to the doctor in time. Trouble is that sometimes our health can deteriorate gradually, so that we get used to feeling the way we do and not do anything about it. Thanks for giving us all the heads up on Graves disease

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks very much Jane A, for the very kind comment. I felt I had to share this time of my life very honestly so people could feel the full effects of this condition.

JaneA profile image

JaneA 6 years ago from California

What a funny, moving, heartbreaking story of this terrible piece of luck. This is hubbing at its best - sharing our best and worst moments with honesty and passion. Thank you!

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks wrenfrost for commenting . It was a very strange time of my life and I didn't stay mad at them for long, when I returned to normal. I was very thankful to them both and still am.

wrenfrost56 profile image

wrenfrost56 6 years ago from U.K.

Glad you are feeling better and thanks for writing about graves disease, I had not heard of it before, but I am sure there will be others who read this and will be able to identify with your experience. I'm glad your not mad at your daughter for telling and your husband for dragging you to the doctors! :)

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks reddog for the comment. It's worrying how conditions like this can creep up on you. I hope like you said that my humble piece of writing could save someones life. Thanks for reading

reddog1027 profile image

reddog1027 6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

What a joy to read. A great hub with a very important message. You may have very well saved someones life.

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

Thanks Ethel for commenting, thyroid problems are a common condition, but like you said it's getting it diagnosis. A girl I was at the hospital with, who had an under active thyroid, had been treated for depression for 3 years before her thyroid problem was picked up.

ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Thanks for sharing your journey. I have had thyroid problems since my twenties. Ten years ago I had radio active iodine treatment which has slowed it down for good I think. Tablets for life is no big deal when you think of the alternative.

I can relate to so much of your personal story. However your thyroid problem was so different. Sharing all of our experiences has to help others in similar situations.

After all the right diagnosis is the first step

jayjay40 profile image

jayjay40 6 years ago from Bristol England Author

That's a good description Lynda, it was a roller coaster ride,full of tremendous highs and devastating lows. I sympathize with you and your conditions and hope that your body does not betray you too harshly. Thanks for commenting, it is always appreciated.

lmmartin profile image

lmmartin 6 years ago from Alberta and Florida

This is a fascinating account. As I am also a sufferer of an autoimmune condition (rheumatoid arthritis and pernicious anemia) I can relate to that sense of being betrayed by your own body. I am fine now, but for a while life was a roller coaster ride. Thanks for sharing your story.

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