If you know me, you probably know that remembering to take daily supplements or medications is next to impossible. I am so bad at it, it’s funny. As a life long allergy sufferer, I have suffered more than not because I simply can’t remember to take the medicine that actually makes me feel human. When I was required to take prenatal supplements I forgot unless David reminded me.
I am so bad at pill taking.
But now… Now it has to change. Now it isn’t just a funny quirk of mine that’s really not that big of a deal.
Now I have Graves’ Disease. Now I have to take anti thyroid medicine, or undergo treatment that will destroy or remove my thyroid all together. Now everything is different.
This is just the first step in trying to manage my disease. If it doesn’t work, then I may have to be open to the other, more drastic, treatments. But we’re still on step one, so I’m not thinking about steps 15 or 40 or whatever, I’m focusing on remembering to take my medicine everyday at 5’o’clock.
So I have Graves’ disease. What does that mean? Essentially, it means that my body is attacking my thyroid (which means this is an autoimmune disorder) and causing it to make too much thyroid hormone (which means I am hyperthyroid). If you want the whys and hows you’ll have to look it up, but that is the gist.
Hyperthyroidism=bad. It can lead to weakened heart muscles, loss of bone density, infertility, and…other stuff that I can’t remember but that aren’t good.
Graves’ disease=bad. Aside from the ways in which hyperthyroidism can affect you, GD can also lead to severe eye issues.
And none of that includes the foul symptoms that can accompany both. Fatigue, joint pain, weight loss, brittle nails, hair loss, tremors, heightened heart race or palpitations….just to name a few.
So the goal is to cause my thyroid to make less of the hormone that is making me sick. There are three ways this can be done: medication, radioactive iodine therapy, removal of the thyroid.
Medication should cause my thyroid to make less of the hormone. This is the path we’ve decided on first. The goal is to find a dosage that causes my thyroid to produce only normal amounts of hormone. Once we do that, we hope that my Graves’ will go into remission (either long or short term, one never knows) and I can be slowly weaned from the drug. It’s a balancing act of dosages and blood tests and praying. There is no true measure of how long this can take as every person responds differently.
Radioactive Iodine therapy is the next possible step, if medication doesn’t work for me. It is a much quicker and more final solution than medication, but it also destroys your thyroid…and I would prefer not to do that unless I absolutely have to.
Thyroidectomy is the removal of your thyroid…again, I don’t want to do that if I don’t have to. Both of these typically lead to hypOthyroidism…and that’s not really better than hypERthyroidism (though can be managed through hormone replacement therapy). The goal is normalthyroidism.
So this is why I itch. And that is why I visited an allergist. And that is how I was eventually diagnosed with Graves’ disease.
In a month we will check my thyroid levels to see how the medication is working. Then we’ll take the next step, whatever it is.
Whatever is going on with me, it doesn’t really concern me or scare me… While autoimmune disorders are a drag, I’m no stranger to them. And aside from the Type 1 diabetes of my brother and various autoimmune issues with my mom…I grew up with a mother who actually has no thyroid. I trust my doctors.
And above all, I trust my God. I’m even grateful that He caused me to itch and seek help before the more debilitating symptoms could show up. (Though, now that I’m diagnosed, I wouldn’t mind if He could just take the itching away…) Now we will work on getting me healthy, praying that my disease goes into remission, knowing that God already has this all figured out for me and I only have to concern myself with today.
Today His plan is for me to be diagnosed with Graves’ Disease.
Today His plan is for me to begin taking 10mg of methimazole a day.
Today I will still be itchy, and fatigued, and yucky feeling.
Today I will be thankful that Graves’ Disease isn’t what is in control: God is.
I’m not concerned about tomorrow when today still has so much joy to discover.
…also, my doctor is Dr. Georgitis. Win.