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Monday, January 16, 2006

Grave's Disease

I'm putting this in my blog to hopefully find out more information. The more I bring it up, the more people I'm finding with Hyperthyroidism or Grave's Disease.

I was diagnosed with Grave's Disease in December. It was something I had no idea about. I had gone to the doctor because I had horrible stomach pains. The on-call doctor thought I might have an ulcer. He ordered blood work and a GI Scope. He called me the next day and told me I have hyperthyroid...What? My stomach hurt, I didn't say or think or even know anything was going on with my thyroid. After my scope they ordered and upper GI and then I was diagnosed with esophogitis. Next I went to and endocrinologist and had more labwork done, then and iodine test where I had to take a radioactive iodine pill, leave go back in 4 hours and then again in 24 hours where I laid under this big camera and it could tell how much iodine my thyroid took in from the pill. The test told me that I definitely had Grave's Disease.

My thyroid is producing too much thyroid hormone. There are quite a few symptoms linked to this: nervousness, increased perspiration, insomnia and fatigue, frequency of bowel movements, less frequent menstruation and decreased flow, weakness, hair and weightloss, change in skin thickness, hand tremors, goiter, racing heartbeat, intolerance to heat, bulging eyes, irritability, and itching eyes and skin.

The only ways my doctor says I have 4 options: 1. Do Nothing 2. Surgery 3. Take Medication 4. Radiation

My doctor says he doesn't like the medication because it has side effects (loss of white blood cells and full-body arthritis). He prefers the radioiodineablation (I'll just call it radiation). I have a friend that had the radiation and she is doing fine. I have others tell me how dangerous this is and that years down the road you are more suseptible to other cancers. I already have numerous family members that have had cancer, and three of them have died. So I don't want to add to the already smoldering cancer fire.

At first I didn't think I had any of the symptoms, but the more I research the more I'm realizing. I lost 20 pounds in 3 months by doing nothing. I attributed this to my LapBand and thought my body was ready to lose more weight. I did have this itchy neck after my diagnosis, and have gotten a few rashes. I noticed some weakness after Christmas. I have been "up" for months, not sleeping well and waking up with heartburn acid up my throat and feeling like I was choking to death. I wish my period would decrease, and I'm freezing cold all the time. So I didn't think this Grave's was possible. I could pretty much explain my symptoms away.

I called one of my neighbors last week for a totally unrelated subject and then she told me that her husband had overheard me talking about my hyperthyroid. (See! Talking has some advantages) She told me that she has been living with hyperthyroid for quite some time now. She has been dealing with it herself. The doctor only gave her the option of surgery, due to the large goiter she had growing on her thyroid. Terri explained hyperthyroid to me (the doctor sure didn't) and Terri made sense. As she was talking I was starting to realize I did have a few more symptoms.

Hyperthyroidism usually shows up when you are stressed and haven't been eating right or enough. The pituitary gland tells the thyroid, help me out here, I starving. So the thyroid kicks into high gear making more hormone and speeds up your metabolism. Well, the body doesn't have much food to metabolize so it starts finding it's own nutrients from itself... the body and muscles. Wow! That explains why I have felt weak lately!

After talking to Terri, I figured, taking her approach of vitamins and diet wouldn't be so bad. If that doesn't work I still have other options. So, I went to Wild Oats and talked to Shari. She knew her stuff and this is who Terri met many years previous. I purchased a food-based multi-vitamin and B Vitamins and a Nutional Healing Book, that I'm finding fascinating. I also picked up some acidophilous (to help with digestion, which my Grave's probably has something to do with my esophogitis) and some Pantheonic Acid that is suppose to calm me down and prepare me for bed... of which I didn't take any of last night and that might be why I'm wide awake at 4:00 am!!!

Well, this has turned into a very long note. If you have any information about hyperthyroidism or comments I'd love to hear them. Thanks for reading this beast!

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