Graves Disease / Graves Eye Disease
In May 2004, shortly after I started a new drafting assignment, I began to feel unwell. I thought it was the flue. I was achey, short of breath and tired, but after 12 days it was time to go to the walk-in clinic. The doctor sent me for bloodwork and my doctor called me in to tell me I had Graves disease. I had heard of it but did not remember what it was. I did not realize that it was the same disease my grandmother contracted in her 80's. I later learned it is an autoimmune disease caused when the body detects a garden variety virus, but then produced t-cells or lymphocytes with the wrong code. Instead of attacking the virus, one kind attacked the protein on the surface of my thyroid, the other kind went after the fatty tissue behind my eyes. The doctor notice I was having trouble breathing and clammy so she sent me straight to emergency. They call it a thyroid storm. It felt like I had to jump out of my own skin. I was shaking so hard, I nearly fell off the bed. They gave me some IV drugs to slow down my heart (150+/min) and kept me for two days. I was anxious to go home, though, so I left at first opportunity with a few prescriptions. This was a mistake. I was very weak, could barely get to the washroom and Paul and Quinn had to care for me for a few days. I was in bed most of the time for 3 months, only out long enough to get water, fruit, yoghurt and use the washroom. I suffered constant nausea. I lost a lot of weight, most of it muscle. This photo was taken in July. I managed to sit up long enough to celebrate my parent's 50th anniversary. I was off work for about 6 months and had my thyroid killed with radioactive iodine 11 months ago. Now I am on synthoid to regulate my metabolic functions, but my bloodwork shows I am still not stabilized. I am having corrective plastic surgery on my eyes this summer. I think my condition may have something to do with the big weight gain last week. Everyone I have spoken to about it says it is a mystery. Any ideas out there?