Graves Disease, a personal account
There is nothing wrong with me!!!
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.
- Thyroid.org: Graves\' Disease Brochure
- Graves Disease
Describes Graves disease, an autoimmune disorder and the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States. Explains the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of the disease. Defines Graves ophthalmopathy and includes a section on eye care.
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.