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Tuesday February 19th 2019


Benjamin Franklin’s Black Eye

Post Published: 12 July 2010
Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 8 responses. Leave a comment

Dear Thyroid:

It’s been awhile since we’ve connected little thyroid. Don’t think I’ve forgotten you. I think of you every day, at least once. What do you mean I should have at least sent a postcard? “Having a great time; wish you were here” crap? Maybe I would have, had I been having a great time, but that wasn’t so either. Let me see if I can remember everything that I’ve wanted to tell you…

First of all, I went gluten free as an experiment in January. I was told that it would take a good ninety days to feel the beneficial effects, so I tried to be patient and wait. Lo and behold, after a month, I noticed that I was not waking up with a pounding headache every morning, and my ups and downs on the porcelain throne were diminishing. Hmm..maybe this works. I’ve been able to stick with it, and still feel well, and have lost over twenty pounds. I don’t weigh myself. It makes me obsess.

After my excruciatingly painful and traumatizing visit with the endo in the autumn of last year, I decided that I was never ever ever ever going back to any doctor, for any reason. Enough was enough. Well, someone somewhere made other plans for me. I woke up one Saturday morning with a black eye. Over the course of the day, it got worse. Folks wondered if I had been beaten and were interrogating me every time they saw my face. My eye began to feel as if it were being pulled out of the socket. I did call my primary’s office and when she was not available, took an appointment with an associate. He took one look at me and shuffled me off to an ophthalmologist, who ushered me into hospital for an MRI and a CT scan.

I kept thinking..what the hell?! It’s only a black eye. A hematoma had formed spontaneously behind my eye, and was pressing on it. Did you know little thyroid that the medication that I take to control you can cause bleeding? Yup. I was watched closely and examined over the course of a couple of weeks and the hematoma resolved itself. With my foot back in the door to the doctor’s office, I decided to ask at a follow-up appointment if this particular doctor would just go over my history with me.

He listened. Intently. Quietly. Focused. He listened to me.

I asked him if he would help me explore my health issues and he said, “Yes! If they’re important to you, they’re important to me.” I gave him permission to guide me, treat me, and kick my ass if need be. He is now my primary care physician. Good move.  He did state that my thyroid numbers looked all right, but my body was telling another story. He asked me to pursue a sleep study and just humor him.

It was not the greatest experience of my life that night, but the information proved to be very useful. See..thyroid disease sufferers can suffer from sleep apnea. Oh, I forgot, you knew that. My oxygen goes lower at night than a dying elderly person with dementia, who may forget to breathe. Great.. So now, thanks to you, and the extra weight you have given me, not to mention the paralysis in my throat at night, I have to wear a very not so sexy CPAP mask. I am sleeping more than the 1½ to 3 hours a night you were allowing me before. Gotcha there. Also, with the autoimmune issues, I have been suffering with breathing issues even when I am awake.

I relented to having a test that I will never ever ever ever repeat. (Uh Oh, I said something like that before, didn’t I?!) A methycholine challenge, where an asthma attack is induced indicated that I am suffering from the beginnings of COPD. Now, I can’t blame you for all of that. We had a bad fire last year, and apparently I have some lung damage from smoke inhalation. Aren’t you glad now, you’re not alone. So, all in all..I have a little handle on what’s happening until recently. Are you causing this nausea and vision issue? My eyes are not focusing and I have this low lying morning sickness feeling all the time. Oh goody. And.. the newest symptom..drumroll, please….my hair appears to be falling out.

Um, the Benjamin Franklin look went out with Benjamin Franklin, thank you very much. Higher than normal blood pressure, cholesterol that a few months ago made my doctors have heart attacks, and my glucose level does more ups and downs than a kid trying to blow up colored condoms with a bicycle pump.

So…I’m trying to stay in control and have a life other than staring at you all day and night, but you’re beginning to piss me off! It’s been a couple of years since I was in my over the rainbow stage, and when I have a little symptom or sign that brings be back there.. can you say PTSD?? I am terrified of being that sick again. I will go to this doctor who listens so well. He will listen. I will listen. And I will advocate for myself, and not be afraid anymore. Not afraid of doctors. Not afraid of you. Not afraid of finding out what I need to know. Not afraid of life and living. So there!

Kathleen Taylor

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8 Responses to “Benjamin Franklin’s Black Eye”

  1. Thank you for sharing your tale Kathleen, certainly sounds like a scary ride, but your current PCP sounds like a keeper!
    When my TED is really bad I also struggle to focus on stuff, and experience blurry vision.
    I hope it all starts to improve for you soon x

  2. Donna says:

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thank you for writing. It really interests me the problems that come with thyroid disease. I’m happy you have such a brave attitude and that you are partnering with your PCP, it is a process but we have to keep chasing this thing we remember as good health. I have high hopes for all of us. My best wishes to you. Thank you again, I relate to so much of what you said.

    Donna xo

  3. Dear Thyroid says:


    I have missed your letters dearly. I am so happy that you are writing to your thyroid again. I am OVER THE MOON hearing about this new doctor, though I am very sad to hear about everything else you’re going through. That being said, you are advocating for yourself. You’re taking control of your fear,and I am utterly in awe of you.

    Much love and gratitude.


  4. Lolly says:


    I must trying condoms up with a bicycle pump sound like fun.

    so pleased you have found a good doctor who will listen now and work with you and that you are no longer scared you have a few issues going health wise along with thyroid.those back eyes so remind me of the days would wake up and couldn’t even open my eyes and people would ask me have you gone 12 rounds with Muhammad Ali I’d say yes and you wanna see what his eyes look like.

    I hope you get more sleep now than you have been doing are you used to the Pap mask? COPD isn’t easy to live with either that can effect your joints and breathing well you know all that.

    I wish you good or better health and thanks for writing your letter to your thyroid.


  5. Bee says:

    We have a HUGE compressor in our workshop-wonder what that sucker could do with those colored condoms?

    So gla you’re advocating for yourself, Kathleen. And I do so love to read your letters and posts. I learn something new every day from all of you- and I also wear that sexy CPAP machine- i didn’t have apnea, I just woke up 110 times in 7 hrs and never got into delta sleep. I was a bitch on wheels!

  6. kathy says:

    Thanks for the support, everyone. Geez, I’d forgotten how wonderful these virtual hugs feel. I think I put my thyroid issues on the back burner, hoping beyond all hope that if I don’t think about them, they will go away..Um, I’m listening to myself as I write this and thinking.. yeah, right.. I’m here. I’ll be back in words sooner than later, you’ll see. My letters seem to come to me in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. Perhaps the CPAP is helping me to sleep better, but keeping my random thoughts from flowing.. All I know, is..I am so grateful for all the support that is here. Keep it going!! xx

  7. Dear Thyroid says:

    Kathy – I almost fell OUT when you wrote about the condom scene. WE MISS YOU SOOOO MUCH. We adore you.

    Please keep writing and keep us posted.

    Much love,

  8. Linda Larson says:

    Dear Kathleen,
    Oh my oh my, you too. I developed sleep aphea too. My husband had me move to another bedroom. I frighten him with how I stopped breathing, then gasping for air. I never had this until I had radiation. I have never found a Dr. to admit this was connected to my Graves problems???? I just decided myself. I did the sleep study too, and the Nerologist never connected the two either. ????? Why don’t they see the evidence. I always feel like they think I am making too much of a big deal about my problems. I too have mostly given up with Dr.’s.

    The sleep machine gives me the creeps. I did lose weight so maybe it’s better…..but does the weight thing change anything really???

    My husband is good to me, but I understand the sleep noise is horrible.

    Thank you for sharing, I appreciate you saying, yes they are connected.

    So much support here, I feel the love when you answer each other…….Linny (Linda)

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