To Fight or Not to Fight - That has become the question
Friday, July 28, 2017
Just recently, I have been diagnosed with Grave's Disease. This little gem right here:
Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease that leads to a generalized overactivity of the entire thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). It is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States. It is named after Robert Graves, an Irish physician, who described this form of hyperthyroidism about 150 years ago. It is 7-8 times more common in women than men.
Signs & Symptoms:
The majority of symptoms of Graves’ disease are caused by the excessive production of thyroid hormones by the thyroid gland (see Hyperthyroidism brochure). These may include, but are not limited to, racing heartbeat, hand tremors, trouble sleeping, weight loss, muscle weakness, neuropsychiatric symptoms and heat intolerance.
Graves’ disease is the only kind of hyperthyroidism that can be associated with inflammation of the eyes, swelling of the tissues around the eyes and bulging of the eyes (called Graves’ ophthalmopathy or orbitopathy). Overall, a third of patients with Graves’ disease develop some signs and symptoms of Graves’ eye disease but only 5% have moderate-to-severe inflammation of the eye tissues to cause serious or permanent vision trouble. Patients who have any suggestion of eye symptoms should seek an evaluation with an eye doctor (an ophthalmologist) as well as their endocrinologist.
Eye symptoms most often begin about six months before or after the diagnosis of Graves’ disease has been made. Seldom do eye problems occur long after the disease has been treated. In some patients with eye symptoms, hyperthyroidism never develops and, rarely, patients may be hypothyroid. The severity of the eye symptoms is not related to the severity of the hyperthyroidism.
Early signs of trouble might be red or inflamed eyes, a bulging of the eyes due to inflammation of the tissues behind the eyeball or double vision. Diminished vision or double vision are rare problems that usually occur later, if at all. We do not know why, but problems with the eyes occur much more often and are more severe in people with Graves’ disease who smoke cigarettes.
Rarely, patients with Graves’ disease develop a lumpy reddish thickening of the skin in front of the shins known as pretibial myxedema (called Graves’ dermopathy). This skin condition is usually painless and relatively mild, but it can be painful for some. Like the eye trouble of Graves’ disease, the skin problem does not necessarily begin precisely when the hyperthyroidism starts. Its severity is not related to the level of thyroid hormone.
I was told by the endocrinologist that I fell into the 10% of patients that gain weight with the untreated hyperthyroidism (Great!) and only 30% patients go into remission while the other 70% is split between killing the thyroid with Radioactive Iodine, surgically removing the thyroid or leave it untreated. T
I have been sad, depressed, upset, in pain, stressed, frustrated, annoyed, etc the list goes on and on.
If you see me, I don't look sick but, boy, do I feel it - in my head, chest, legs, arms, back, stomach, etc. I rage at the drop of a hat; it hurts to walk, move; I constantly feel like my heart is coming thru my chest. My arms and legs feel like they are heavy and weak all at the same time.
And the doctor tells me in order reach remission, it won't only take time, but low to no stress - what is that? I am on a Beta Blocker and Antithyroid that I cannot remember to take without setting at least 1 alarm. I am writing notes in 3 different places to just remember to do things! And I have the appetite of a 15 year old boy that is only worse because I feel like I do! I have a disease that uses my body to kick its own ass! ARGH!!!!!
I have said all that to say this - I am waffling between feeling sorry for myself & getting out of my own way to taking over and kicking this thing; being part of that 30% that goes into remission and doing it my way. I have spent the evening doing more research on using Autoimmune Protocol. Yes, I have tried that several times and found it very hard to stick with it since it's so restrictive, but at this point, I really only have myself to blame if I don't do all that I can. So - I will again use Spark People to track everything. Wish me luck!