MY GRAVES' DISEASE STORY
When I had active Graves’ Disease, I had energy to spare. By the time I realized I had the disease, most of my symptoms were gone and, clinically, I only had a subclinical disorder. Subclinical hyperthyroidism is usually not treated since it typically resolves on its own. By the time of my diagnosis, the hypertension I was diagnosed with in my twenties had disappeared.
In retrospect, I realize that my symptoms peaked in my mid-twenties, after the birth of my children. Then, at 5'8" I weighed 115 lbs in spite of eating all the time. After being diagnosed with hypertension in my late twenties, I changed my lifestyle by quitting smoking and starting aerobics. By my late thirties, when I was diagnosed with Graves' disease, my blood pressure was normal and I weighed 135 lbs. I was in excellent health except for occasional problems with allergies.
I was inadvertently diagnosed with GD shortly before I turned 40 when my allergist noticed my thyroid was enlarged. Working in a hospital laboratory, I ran my own lab tests and discovered that I had a low TSH indicating subclinical hyperthyroidism. Despite having no worrisome symptoms, save some irritability and impulsiveness, I got caught up in the drama of having a disease.
In fact, I was living a dynamic life, working full-time, attending graduate school, raising a family, doing aerobics, and volunteering at a nursing home. Considering my mild symptoms, I should have waited before leaping into a more invasive treatment plan. However, the attention that accompanies a medical diagnosis prompted me to find a quick solution. Consequently, I rushed into having radioiodine ablation (RAI). Since RAI, I've never felt as good as before. I have severe hypothyroidism and pretibial myxedema. In addition, in 2007, an ultrasound showed a solitary nodule, which I'll need regular follow-ups for. I've since learned that nodules and adenomas are common occurrences in remaining thyroid tissue.
In retrospect, I likely had Graves' disease since early childhood. My predominant symptoms changed over time and I managed to keep them in line naturally without knowing what caused these symptoms. Up to a third of all GD patients go into spontaneous remission each year. I could have been one of them. ♦
Elaine Moore is the author of about a dozen health-related books, including "Graves' Disease: A Practical Guide" and “Advances in Graves’ and other Hyperthyroid Disorders”
Ms. Moore, a member of the Writer's Guild, accepted the position of Series Editor for McFarland Health Topics (McFarland and Co., Inc.) in 2010. In this role, Moore recruits new authors and helps with their manuscript preparation. Volumes in the series include “The Amphetamine Debate”, “Living with HIV: A Patient’s Guide”, and “CCSVI as the Cause of Multiple Sclerosis.” If you are a writer and interested in having a health book published, send a message to Elaine Moore.
Elaine is a Medical Technologist, MT, CLS (ASCP), with more than 30 years experience in immunology and working in hospital laboratories. She earned her degree in medical technology from the University of Toledo and attended the University of Colorado for her graduate work. Over the years, Elaine helped develop numerous laboratory procedures as a medical laboratory scientist.
Elaine is the mother of two, has two grandchildren, and lives with her husband in the mountains of Colorado. Besides an interest in medicine, she also has a passion for music, reading, writing fiction, and her Boxer dogs.
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