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Wednesday June 26th 2019


Was I Ever The Thyroid Next Door?

Post Published: 25 August 2010
Category: Dear Thyroid Letters
This post currently has 4 responses. Leave a comment

Dear Thyroid,

My name is Hèlen Grives a 43 Bounty girl from the Netherlands. I’m adopted at the age of three and grew up with my loving Dutch parents in Holland. The best things in my life are my gorgeous three children, two boys and a girl. All are in their teens now. I also have a bi-polar disorder which basically accounts for my creativity and analytic switching moods. I got a lot of hobbies. First of all the art of letter writing pen palling, photography, painting, long distance running, hiking, reading, philosophy, science, languages and IT related techniques. I got thyroid problems in 2003 and in 2006 by accident thyroid cancer was diagnosed. Since that they I’ve been struggling to make something of my life. Without the thyroid I have extortion intolerance and chronic fatigue syndrome. At this moment I only do light voluntary work in the field of mental health care, homelessness and CFS awareness. My illness made me aware that some things are still not organized very well; and therefore I also joined the human rights and women rights movement along with the promotion the basic income movement. This movement wants to grant people a basic foundation to live on and give them a kind of defense against life devastating events.

So Dear Thyroid I love to write you my letter. It’s 5:57PM and I just woke up from my afternoon siesta. I’m both glad and not glad to have this sleeping disorder. I’m 43 years old you know and life out there isn’t enthusiastically waiting for me. I’ve done my share in this life.  Three fantastic children who do well in school and their jobs and above all have nice characters. Something I think is the most important thing nowadays.

But hey, I have hated you and what you did to my life. The ballet dancing, the nightly runs and the hours hiking in nature; all gone in the blink of an eye. From a macro way of living I turn now to enjoying simple things even more, short walks and writing. No long epistles, but small comments so I have enough energy to finish it. The first year after the operation was hard, I slept for 18 hours a day, I fainted every night and spend hours on the toilet seat. I even came to a point where I felt my body dying; death rehearsals I call these moments. It made me feel old and from a skinny over-trained marathon runner I became a big momma. Each day when I saw my face in the mirror I saw black eyes as if I had smoked drunk or used drugs although I hardly ate anything at all, except the chicken and peas soup.

Until my surgery I had no idea that I had cancer and I had laughed at the doctor thinking they had tricked me, tested me to see how strong I would be. And this film just unfolded before me and I had no idea it was really my life, my body. Surviving is a strange thing to go through and I didn’t know you until I had lost you. Than in my tummy I got these needles pinned, my vision blurred after every exercise. In the shower combing my hair made it disappear even faster; so I took my shaver and let the kids shave my hair. Bold headed which each inch my strength would grow like Samson and it was something I could hold on to.

And all of this wasn’t so hard, but I didn’t dare to face friends and family. I was broken, sleeping and my house became a prison. My prison to which I just had moved. Losing everything is something so devastated that you taught me to empower myself and to advocate the things that aren’t right. That doesn’t help me to get a meaningful life. Without warmth and intimacy it is hard to do this. Two weeks I wasn’t allowed to hug my kids because of the radio activity and they were the last ones who hugged me and gave me a kiss. And the others; I could not catch up with them. They had energy and I had sleep. Sleeping black beauty. It felt like hundred years and the New York Marathon fainted disappeared and transformed into nightmares.

I wake up in the morning grasping for air and at dawn break my consciousness surrounds me slowly like a veil of delicate silk. A scarf that entangles my neck; my beautiful neck with the scar, a scarf that begins to suffocate me as night and day became the same nightmare. One I couldn’t escape any more. No more smart tricks, no more energy to do so.

Now I’m years later and full recovery will never be. I learned to manage without you; by slowly taking back the mind you broke, that escaped from my body and turned me into two persons. An active one and a broken body one. This disintegration of me taught me much about life, about morals, values and the way I had raced through life, compromising with demands of others. You taught me to take care of myself that I was allowed to come first and not feel bad about it. Being a mum and 100% sick is a hell of a job and between the bad things I managed doing it. I learned to live again with new standards not so perfect but with respect.

Lovely greetings,


(Bio) You can find me online: art, writings, poetry, my thyroid/CFS blog both English and Dutch and http://www.twitter.com/mesmoiron or mesmerion. On the internet I use two main aliases: mesmoiron or mesmerion and therefore people can easily find me. Other services are hyves.nl, tumblr.com, dotsub.com, ted.com, foursquare.com, facebook.com, mySpace.com.

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4 Responses to “Was I Ever The Thyroid Next Door?”

  1. Linda McClure-Woodham says:

    Helene, such heart wrenching words, albeit so very true.
    Did you have bipolar before thyroid problems? I think the two horrible diseases became allies to wreck my body and make me as miserable as possible. Diagnosed with bipolar 18 yrs. ago, at age 42. Then came the quacks and a long list of other Disorders/syndromes/illnesses. I was hypo with goiter/Hashi’s/ nodules. Had a complete thyroidectomy in 2008, and foolishly thought I would be a new woman. Well, I was new, but not improved. My surgeon said Hashi’s put me at risk for lymphoma, so having the little darling removed was a no-brainer.
    I am so sorry you had to endure cancer. This word from hell has taken so many lives of family and friends, and those blessed to go on living, as are you, struggle on.
    I am still in bed- it is 11:25 a.m. on my side of the big pond, and I will get back under the covers when I finish this. I have a sick stomach, the urge to hurt myself in some way to lessen the other pain, fatigue, sadness and the energy of a dying blade of grass. SO GRATEFUL for my angelic husband, and my furbabies. You write beautifully. I, too, was once able to make people say my words were good for them, or that I expressed ideas in a way they could not. I am still creative, but seldom
    have the energy or inclination to take pen or computer and tell my story. May you continue to grow in health and spirit. Sincerely, Linda McClure-Woodham USA, Tennessee.

  2. Linny says:

    Your story is very touching. I am glad you found your way here. I too have my struggles. I can identify with a lot of your story.
    You are an artist and I plan to look up your work. I also have been able to keep myself busy with projects. Fortunately, I have these interests, it makes it possible for me to enjoy life even when I am house bound.
    Last winter was so cold I could not go out much. I taught myself to knit. Many in my family now own scarves! Ha ha, I do still have a sense of humor. It’s like when it rains and at the same time the sun comes out. That’s me. I can cry and smile at the same time. Fortunally for me I have a happy spirit that saves me from myself.
    Thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to visiting with you in comments. I have been to Holland a long time ago and I remember the most Maderadam….{spelling ?} The mini city in the garden of tulips. My family is part Dutch and My first husband, who died , was also Dutch…..Van Altena. xxxxxxLinny

  3. HDinOregon says:


    What a powerful letter! Thanks for sharing your story here.


  4. Donna says:

    Thank you for your wonderful letter. I am speechless, in awe but yet not suprised. I have read your comments on Facebook and clicked a link you posted awhile back and knew your were a very special person. Thanks for sharing more of you with us. Keep up the good work spreading awareness, you are helping all of us. Healing thoughts to you!

    Donna xo

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