What Awareness Means To Me: Elaine Martinez
For the last few years my Thyroid Disease has been just as much or more a part of my life as eating. I cannot go without eating and I cannot go a day without this disease doing something to remind me I have it. My husband and family are reminded of it every time they see me. Why?? Because, this disease has changed me so much. Not only have I had to adapt to living with the symptoms of this, but so has my family.
The thing about all this is as much as we talk about it at home among ourselves, we do not talk about it that much in public. I think for years we all made excuses for my appearance and the change in my body and facial features. I know we did not do it intentionally. I think it was more of not understanding all that was happening to me and not knowing how to explain it. Maybe we just did not want to have to explain it to anyone. None of us wanted anyone to think I was crazy. Even though I am sure there are still people out there that do believe I was crazy. I know for a fact that a few people made remarks that I had been drinking to much or maybe on drugs. A very good friend even asked me if my husband and I were having marital problems. , Another asked me if my husband was mistreating me and told me where to go for help. I felt so bad that my husband was getting blamed for my actions and how I looked. I did not know how or what to say. I did not know enough about the disease I had to explain to anyone.
I would tell them I had Graves’ disease and Thyroid Eye Disease, but that did not mean a thing to anyone.
I was suffering and my husband was suffering for a disease that was not my fault or his. Bring awareness to the public about ALL the thyroid disease’s is not only important to and for those that have a Thyroid Disease of some sort or other, but it is also very important to the families. Yes, this is bad for us and yes we are going through hell every day. And yes, it is hard for us to function every day. The simplest thing can be hard for us to do. How many times do we tell ourselves;..WHY me?, I did not do anything to deserve this life and have this disease. I work hard and try hard to be a good person;..Why me?
Yes, that is the question. But, how many of us stop to think that our family may be asking themselves the same question. Yes, people look at us funny and judge us. But, how are they looking at our significant other or other family members when they are with us. They are also being judged and looked at funny.
Awareness is not just needed for the general public. It is needed by all different kinds of doctors, by the media , by celebrities that have a thyroid disease, by friends and family. I also believe we need more awareness by those of us that have a Thyroid Disease. You may ask why? The reason is right in front of our face every day of our lives. We have a Thyroid Disease, yet there is so much we don’t know about it ourselves. There are symptoms I have that I did not even realize other people with this disease had. There I go again, thinking it was just me or just in my head. Just my imagination, just being tired, just feeling sorry for myself, just making something out of nothing. Then I think;..It is not that bad, I can live with this, I can adapt. Well, yes we can adapt. We can because we have to. Awareness is not just about knowing about the thyroid and all it can do to us. Awareness is what we can do to live with it. What can our families do to live with it?, How can we do this to the best of our ability if we are not aware of ALL the symptoms and all the different things this disease can do to us?, How can our families live with this disease if they are not aware of what it can do to us?, How can society be aware of how to treat us if they are not aware of what the disease does to us?, How can anyone give us the respect we so much deserve if they are not aware of how this disease changes people and the life they live?
How can we expect any awareness if we are not willing to get out there and learn as much as we can about Thyroid Disease and in turn teach the public. How can we expect respect if we are not willing to be heard?, If we are going to hide, cover up, make excuses, or even ignore our own disease. We cannot hide, cover up, make excuses or ignore this disease any more. Now is the time to stand up and fight for awareness.
Tags: autoimmune disease community, autoimmune disease support, autoimmune diseases awareness month March, autoimmune literary community, awareness for autoimmune diseases, Elaine Martinez, Graves disease awareness, graves' disease