Monday, November 16, 2009

Graves Disease

Okay, so I got a call from my endocrinologist today and she told me that I have Graves Disease. I did not expect this and was somewhat upset by this news. It's not terrible. It's just that it lasts a whole lot longer than what I had first been diagnosed with, potentially my whole life. Originally, if `just' Post Partum Thyroiditis, I would likely be 100% within 6 months. Now, I will be on my meds (PTU and beta blockers) for 2 years and then may be in remission for 6 months to life. It also has the added lovely physical characteristics of bulging eyes and goiters. Fortunately, my goiter is small, you can't even tell I have one. I don't think my eyes stick out, they just look different from the weight loss. I only have minor muscle pain around my eyes so that's fine with me.

For anyone that has had thryoid issues, you know how confusing it can be. How it takes on so many forms. How symptoms are always changing. How frustrating it is. I think I'm going to let myself feel sorry for myself today and then I will figure out how to best get better. I meet with a naturopath next week, as well as my doctor. I get to go see my endocrinologist again in a couple of months (LOVE SPECIALISTS!!). Fortunately, my thyroid hormone levels are approaching normal (as indicated by my blood tests and 7lb weight gain this week alone! :) The only new symptom that is bothering me is what my endocrinologist said was due to coronary artery basically feels like angina or an anxiety attack. Squeezing in my chest. Apparently it's okay as long as no other crazy symptoms occur with it. I just feel really bad putting my body through all of this, I'm sure the long term consequences will not be good. Although, I had no problem smoking as teenager:)

What causes it? There may be an inherited risk ( mom was always thin but she always had low heart rate and blood pressure so I doubt she had it). Also, one of the major stressors that may cause it is loss of a loved one. Seriously, that is the one stressor that every site quotes. Now, not sure why it would occur 3.5 years after the death of my mom, but that could be a contributor. Maybe it is somewhat related to my dad getting married and the finality of dealing with my mom's death. I asked my endocrinologist what causes it to reoccur and she said it could be stress so I will do all I can to live a life that is as stress free as possible (yes, I do try to control everything). I do have to say though, that truly, everything does happen for a reason. I'm just so thankful that I do not have cancer. I have something that can be controlled by meds and allows me to live an almost 100% normal life. So what if I may never run a half marathon again, I never really enjoyed them that much anyway:)

PS I do want to say that I recognize that my Graves Disease is nothing serious in the big picture. My best friend (Lynette) has a brother, George, who is awaiting his double lung transplant for his Cystic Fibrosis. He has been waiting for 11 months now. There is a special on `The Passionate Eye' tonight called `65 roses' which documents a young woman's journey of a double lung transplant in the same hospital as his, similar journey, and he knows her. I'll def. be watching it. I could write so much on Lynette's family and the journey they have been on, her family is truly inspirational and I just pray for a happily, healthy ever after for their family. Appreciate your health, people!!

PS If you have Graves, or know someone who does, can you leave me a comment? I would love to email with others that have it!


  1. Lynette's family is definately amazing!! Her brother and his wife are so strong. I hope that your thyroid issue goes into remission fast!

  2. Louise, that sucks that it's Graves but I'm amazed at your ability to still see the positive:)

  3. I sure remember all the emotions of finally having a "label" to many symptoms. Though it's not ideal and I wish it were otherwise, I am amazed at "normal" taking daily meds and putting up with symptoms can become- to the point I don't even think about it that often. May the Lord give you much wisdom in how to continue to adjust things so they are less stressful. It's something we should all be thinking about. Continuing to pray. . .

  4. I'm amazed at your positive attitude and mature perspective, it inspires me to be more that way! I've certainly met hundreds of people in my life and work who have worse events or medical conditions than what I deal with, and it would be good if I remembered that more often. Not that I should celebrate that my life is better, but just that I should be a little more open eyed and humble about life circumstances in general, you know?
    Thanks for being inspiring, you.

    I'll pray for remission, soon! Long lasting remission!
    And I've seen those bulging eyes, and you do NOT have them. It's quite pronounced.

    You made me laugh pretty hard with the "Yes, I try to control everything" and the "I never really enjoyed half marathons anyways." Ya, they're not much fun. You're admirably authentic and self depricating, on top of admirably positive about your diagnosis.

    Sooooo interesting about the emotional loss component of hyperthyroidism, and the stress components. I never knew! Possibly the death of your mom plus the physical/emotional stress of having kids?? Though you may be right about your dad. It makes your mom's loss more complete somehow, right?
    Big hugs.

  5. I sometimes find relief in knowing there is actually a word for whatever is going on. People can relate to it, there are oodles of resources and you can really try to understand it/come to grips with it.
    I am amazed at your attitude, Louise. A positive outlook will take you a long way (especially towards a total recovery!). But do feel free to sulk when you need to :)

  6. Sorry to hear that! :( But I guess knowledge is good?!? I admire that you're taking a heads-on approach and exploring all your options! Good luck to you!

  7. sorry to hear it's Graves, but wow, you are wonderfully positive! :)
    as soon as you mentioned 'loss of a loved one' i immediately thought about your dad getting married...then read that you suspected that.
    just on my way to watch the passionate eye online...WOW. i was a co-worker with George's cousin, Erin, when she passed away from her CF. HARD disease.

  8. e Passionate Eye' tonight called `65 roses was amazing. I cried lots.