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Graves Becomes Her

Post Published: 19 June 2009
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Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 4 responses. Leave a comment

Dear Thyroid;

My Graves’ story began 8-years ago with small tremors in my hands. At the time, I was working in a small jewelry store as a stone setter. I noticed that my boss saw my trembling hands. I made an appointment to see a doctor that day. A week or so later, I got a call from the doctor’s office telling me that my blood work was fine.

By that time, I was beginning to feel very ill. I told the nurse to please speak to the doctor. He called me right back and told me that he had scheduled me for an uptake scan, as I had a thyroid problem. I got a phone call on Christmas Eve and learned that I had Graves’ disease. Happy Holidays!

To make things worse, my boss started treating me quite badly. He was afraid I was going to accuse his unhealthy, poorly ventilated workshop on my problem; playing the cadmium card, so to speak. I made it through the holiday season. The second my Christmas bonus check cleared the bank and I quit.

What did I do to deserve the treatment you gave me? I am glad that the doctors nuked you and that you are now a shriveled up raisin, like a useless nothing. If I had it to do all over again, I would have asked the doctors to evict you completely.

I know what you are going to say, that it was not your fault, that the autoimmune department is to blame. Well, I think you were partners in this mess. I have really tried to appease you. I have read self-help books with my red and sore eyes. I have meditated, been to a hypnotist, ate healthy food, and more. What else do you want from me?! To look at the bright side?! Are you kidding?

Okay, wait, I do apologize. Some positive things came out of this catastrophe. There was that Christmas that you let me eat all those wonderful holiday foods and still manage to lose weight. There was also that trip to North Carolina where I got to meet people who looked like me and understood me completely!

Lastly, there was this time a person with Graves’ called me and we talked.  She told me that she felt so much better. What she did not know, was that she made me feel better, too.

B.J. Erickson

(Bio) “I chose RAI (Radioactive Iodine Treatment), and then about a year later, I got Graves’ ophthalmopathy. I quit smoking, so that my eye doctor would take me on. After many operations, my vision was and is okay. Eventually, after reconstructive surgery on my eyelids, The Eye Center asked me if I would go for training to be a Support Group Leader. I thought a trip to the Smokey Mountains with a nice hotel stay sounded great! It was. Now, I help others with this rotten disease.”–The latest on Dear Thyroid– More Like Thytrocious (Thyroid patient letter), How Very Gland of you (Thyroid family letter), How to Kick Your Thyroid’s Ass: Goitrogens and Soy, a Double Oy (Thyroid nutrition Column)

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4 Responses to “Graves Becomes Her”

  1. lizschau says:

    B.J.

    first of all, needless to say, i am soooo sorry to hear about all the pain and health problems you’ve been through. awful. terrible. unfair.

    secondly, reading your letter is interesting to me because you mention cadmium. now, i’ve been doing research on cadmium the past few weeks, in relation to thyroid health because it is also found to have contaminated alot of the foods we eat. i’ve never heard about it though in relation to jewelry, so that’s even more interesting to me. i’m gonna have to look into that.

    thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

  2. Ann says:

    Have you have Graves Opthamalogy? I am preparing for a 4 operation course of treatment. Just wondering if you had any experience with this?

  3. Katie Schwartz says:

    Dear Ann;

    I have Graves’ disease and Graves’ Opthalmopathy. What is your variation? Mine is not the buggy eye kind, mine is the swollen eyelid kind. I do have thickening of the muscles behind the optic nerve and orbital movement pain. My vision is really murky, not what it was since some of the swelling has come down. Hopefully, it will naturally run its course, though that’s doubtful.

    I’d love to know more about your Graves’ O’. If you ever want to dish about it, please email me, katie@dearthyroid.com.

    Also, please check out a great blog dedicated to Graves’ O, http://eyesee.typepad.com.

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