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Monday July 15th 2019


Fat Thigh-roid Woes: I gotta beee meeeeee…what else can I beeeeeee….

Post Published: 03 December 2010
Category: Column, Fat Thigh Roid Woes, Graves Disease Symptoms Column
This post currently has 25 responses. Leave a comment
“I’ve Gotta Be Me”

Whether I’m right or whether I’m wrong
Whether I find a place in this world or never belong
I gotta be me, I’ve gotta be me
What else can I be but what I am

I want to live, not merely survive
And I won’t give up this dream
Of life that keeps me alive
I gotta be me, I gotta be me
The dream that I see makes me what I am

That far-away prize, a world of success
Is waiting for me if I heed the call
I won’t settle down, won’t settle for less
As long as there’s a chance that I can have it all

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be
I can’t be right for somebody else
If I’m not right for me
I gotta be free, I’ve gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I’ve gotta be me

I’ll go it alone, that’s how it must be
I can’t be right for somebody else
If I’m not right for me
I gotta be free, I just gotta be free
Daring to try, to do it or die
I gotta be me

You know how when you start a new job, start a new relationship, or meet someone for the first time you put your best face forward – sometimes to the point of becoming someone else?

I don’t remember this feeling anymore.

That is a good thing.

If I could tell my own future, the one thing I can predict with near 100% accuracy is never hearing a friend say “you become a different person when you’re with ________.”

Something has shifted.  Battling Graves has made me an authentic person to the core. Maybe it also has something to do with me now being in my 30s has made me more comfortable with who I am and what I want, but I know one thing for certain –

Going forward, I will not settle for anything less than authenticity.

Do a self-check in.  For those of you who have been through the bedlam of disease and come out with cuts, scrapes and bruises – do you really see yourself as being anything less than authentic going forward?

Graves demands I be true and honest to my wants, needs and desires. Before Graves, I was already blunt (and up in the many years before the onset of full blown symptoms, I was also INSANE) but now I feel like slipping into that former bluntness is a silky gown that has grown too tight.  Still cozy, but tight around the middle.

This is what might get me into trouble at my new job.  My bullshit cup has been tucked into the back of a cupboard, and it’s quickly filling with dust.  I don’t know how to beat around a bush, only kick a dead horse.  I don’t have the desire to play games, those games have been replaced with the lyrics, “I GOTTA BE ME….” in my head.

How to walk the tight rope of balancing bullshit and authenticity?  I can’t.  My legs veer towards authenticity at every moment.  My gut as well.

Unfortunately, not everyone lives in this world.  Most people are motivated by fear, as it branches out into some other agenda.

Use your disease as a way to overcome your fear.  Don’t let your disease use you.

As you all know, 2010 has sucked gonads.  One of the best moments was going to the hospital with stomach pains, no insurance, and having to deal with getting my appendix taken out.  Since dealing with Graves, my first question to the doc after she told me was, “okay, but can I go to school on Monday?”  I was looking forward to a photography class, and my appendix had to come out on a Saturday.  Monday was the first day of school.  Why the hell would I miss it for some stupid surgery?  F that noise, I had things to do even if my appendix wasn’t in line.  I feel like if I hadn’t dealt with Graves, the situation would have been slightly different.  I wouldn’t have such a good sense of humor about it.  The next thing I said after finding out was, “Radioactive iodine in January, appendix in June…what’s next, open heart surgery in December?”  I didn’t make it to school on Monday, but drove myself on Tuesday.  Warrior style.  Sweats and those anti-embolism socks.  I looked like absolute death, but I wasn’t going to let fear take me away from something I was so looking forward to in one of the shittiest years on record.

The scariest part of authenticity is, well, scaring people off.  I’m very upfront about Graves.  It’s like the abusive boyfriend I dated, and somehow needs to be delicately mentioned at some point in my budding relationships.  As long as I don’t wallow, it’s just a part of my past and I’m stronger for it.  I thank that dirty S.O.B. for the memories.

How are you going to approach authenticity going forward?  I suggest listening to, “I GOTTTTTAAA BEEEEE MEEEE” on a loop until it inspires you to get up, wipe the thyroid disease off, and BE YOU.

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25 Responses to “Fat Thigh-roid Woes: I gotta beee meeeeee…what else can I beeeeeee….”

  1. Linny says:

    Nicole my dear this is WONDERFUL WONDERFUL!
    I am proud to know you, I love your spirit!

    Today , these past2 weeks have been difficult. Aside from the “off” bloodwork…..”Holidays and family are draining me”.

    I was asked today if I would babysit for a family member with a terrible cold. This person refuses to believe I have Graves. It wasn’t an emergency, it is the childs mother, she wanted to keep her plans unchanged expecting he’d be in school.
    I have so little energy, I have breathing issues at night even without a cold. If I am to make it thru the kind of holidays we have I will need all my strength.

    I reasoned with her as she yelled at me.

    But I have got to be me. I have got to be strong.
    I had to say NO!

    thank you for brightening my day. Linny

    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Linny,

      Thank you! And you’re right, since the holidays are here we need to conserve and spend energy the way WE want it to be spent – and good for you to stand up for yourself and say NO.

      I’m proud to know you as well!



  2. Diane says:

    I am the opposite I am thyroidless. I crashed really bad and ballooned up to 164 lbs. On a small 5’3″ frame it’s ghastly. I’ve taken my health into my own hands and I have lost 27 lbs since April. I talk about it because people are ASSHOLES. I refuse to do anything that tires me out and when I dint feel good you know about it. When people say it’s because you’re getting older thatscwhy you feel that way I tell the to politely go fuck themselves because now that I took control I feel great. No aches and pains. I’m 46 no reason to feel 96. And at 45 I felt 105. I will NOT settle for feeling bad unneedlessly and I will not do what will make me feel bad. Good for you.

    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Diane,

      I’m also 5’3, and gaining ANY weight makes my frame balloon out….so I completely understand.

      Age IS a state of mind, and there is no reason to believe getting older means our bodies have to FEEL older. I’m hoping that in 2011, you’ll feel younger than ever! Keep yourself healthy!



  3. thy_r88gous says:

    oh i wish i could. but i deal with the public all day. i have to let them be assholesto me in order to keep my job. i would gladly take another job but there arent many that dont involve people. when i gained graves i lost my patience and ability to let things roll off my back. 1 rude comment will fuck me up for the rest of the day. soooo, just know that you all are envyed greatly.
    also, i will take any suggestions reguarding jobs that dont deal with people. lol!

    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Thy_r88gous,

      I wish I could give you advice on a job that doesn’t involve dealing with people, but I will admit that retail jobs test patience like no other. Especially during the holiday season. I was a waitress for years, and I believe working those jobs shaped my cantankerous attitude to what it is today.

      However, you just have to remember that it’s JUST a job and doesn’t define YOU. Turn things around and let those assholes roll off your back.



  4. Linny says:

    thy, What about being a dog groomer?…..work out of your own home.
    I wish you well dear….lovingly, Linny

  5. Judanna says:

    Bravo ! Thank you for your memoir ! I only accept respect at all times,at work,since I’m referred to as “Dr. Judanna”, this usually isn’t a problem. However, my fiance/ Live in/ boyfriend of 12 years, can have disrespectful moments & when I stick up for myself, he acuses me of being “Combative”. I am a pretty little hand grenade & he is 99.9% the person who pulls my pin ! If I scare off people because of my honesty,authenticity & integrity, then those are people I don’t need in my life’s interactions. I don’t care, we are all one. Recently I got a tattoo over my Thyroid scar of a butterfly I designed, I’m sure this will be quite the conversation starter ! And I’m sure their will be family members over the holidays who “Say the wrong thing. But may I also add that only 2 family members actually called me with concern, support & love ? The rest stayed silent, however All of them Sending no cards, flowers & no visits !I was sick for 6 years w/ many infections, viruses, migraines& hospitalizations, etc. due to low immunity. The cancer was in me at least 6 but possibly as many as 30 years we really don’t know how long, but my family’s treatment of me was greatly less than friends & strangers ! Realizing the drain, they were in my life, emotionally & psychologically, I allowed myself to detatch from them & truthfully it was so easy ! I simply am honest about feelings whenever they are around me, which is usually only holidays.
    I’ve also noticed that I am largely more aware of people’s pettiness since I beat cancer & then broke my leg & ruptured my Achilles tendon nearly 2 months later.But, just like I never got involved in other’s gossip, I don’t have to partake in the arguements I’m invited to !

  6. Linny says:

    Can anyone explain to me the cause of familys’ deterioration?
    What can possibly account for this frequent issue of the majority of us who are ill?
    Is this natural?
    Has this been always true? When did society start turning their backs on their own family members?
    We didn’t rob anyone, or any terrible crime?
    Who can love us?
    The movie out right now is one to see. “Love and other Drugs”!
    Please share your thoughts with me on this subject.
    Lovingly, Linny

  7. Judanna says:

    When I was 16, I first had my thyroid goitre, chin to chest, disfiguring & painful ( all swelled up in 1 day ). How it was handled medically & all that was really wrong might have not been addressed correctly, but my family’s reaction from the beginning was completely wrong. That said, the hospital offered counselling to my family. That was a strike to my parents ego, they couldn’t take. “She’s the one who’s sick. We don’t have any problems.”
    The professionals who cared for me might have not had the medical knowlegde of where we are in 2010, but they knew enough to see through my parents dysfunctional behavior & the way their children reacted to them. This spoke volumes, but my parents thought I spoke volumes. I didn’t, I had amnesia for weeks & didn’t know who they were, let alone what they did or said ! Dysfunctional families are fond of making 1 person the scapegoat. This way they don’t have to look at themselves to see where the problem lies. All I needed was thyroid suppliment & a loving supportive family. Might I also add the hospital was 5 miles away & I had the option of day visits to the hospital, but my family of course said that would be inconvenient, even though my mom didn’t work & preferred for me to stay there for 2 months. So, finally it was my time to leave the hospital & I had a choice either stay 1 more weekend at the hospital or go to my father’s car club weekend with the family crammed in the backseat w/ siblings. I was nearly 17, I chose to stay in the hospital an additional weekend. I remember, within weeks of coming home I was in my mom’s bedroom hanging out talking. I remember I was happy even though she was busying herself doing different things, which I wasn’t paying attention to. Supposedly she hid money while we were in there. She later forgot where she put it. Yes.I was now accused of taking her money ! Did she later apologize, when she found it? Yes, but I realized I was now being looked at in a different light. Me, the honor roll student who never got into any trouble, a virgin, who never smoked, did drugs or drank was being looked at as damaged goods.I was the one with the “problem”. This pervading essence stuck to this day. Even though I have a higher education than anyone of them & the only one who’s a treating medical professional. I’ve called everyone of them on their treatment of me. And as I look in the mirror & see my butterfly tattoo smile back at me I know I am free & it is the same butterfly that will be looking back at them during the holidays, saying she is free. . . . you are the captive !

    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Judanna,

      Isn’t it funny how some of us dread spending the holidays with “family”? I have a question: are you forcing yourself to go so you can see how strong you’ve become? Or are you being forced to go because it’s family?

      I really love how you’re viewing the butterfly tattoo as setting you free. Cutting ourselves off not only physically, but mentally from those who only hold ill will towards us is challenging.

      I don’t think I know what a “normal” family looks like anyways…dysfunction is the new normal. Just know that you’re not alone, and sometimes the family we want is the one we create through friendships and other relationships : )

      Take care and happy holidays!



  8. Linny says:

    Thank you for sharing with us. I can say you are so very brave. To stand up to everybody the way you do. I have tried to forgive over and over because they are the only family I have after all.
    It’s not like they have never done anything “good” for me.
    Seems all my life I have been the problem child. Somehow I was always getting sick or hurt. I am the middle child and only daughter.
    Before I can remember I had serious experiences.
    I am strong though and I always seem to pull up and move on, but now I am tired.
    I don’t know what a “normal” would be. {Family}
    I think they have moments of dysfunction and sometimes they are great.
    My mother would say the only time she got attention is when she was sick! And yet I would say the opposite.
    It was my father who carried me out of bed in the middle of the night to the hospital. It was my grandfather who I remember bathed my infected knee. He also saved me when I turned blue in the crib. I remember my grandmother blaming my mother for breaking my nose. I don’t remember anything about her doing that.
    I said alone in a Hospital too. I was 10. We were out of the country for my fathers job. No relatives nearby to help out. I was alone when I was hit by the car.
    I was alone a lot. But the good news is, because of learning to be alone, I can keep very busy and not be lonely. Sure I do wish for more. But doesn’t everybody?
    I was alone when I raised my young children. {father died}. I did everything for them, maybe too much! Now I can’t get them to help me much.
    I never knew a hometown with relatives. Just my family of 5. Now one brother I see only once maybe twice a year.
    My grandparent were so important to me but I rarely saw them. They had a 14 hour drive to see us. They did come and they did adore me I know.
    But now I am stuck with Graves. As a result I have other issues. I can “appear” well. But the truth is I am broken.
    I try to get around, but I never can do too much. The most horrible tired happens to me. I feel like I am drying cement. By evening I am my best. I have night dread and have to start over each day. My family thinks I just like to sleep in and be late for everything.
    Fortunally I remarried a man who understands more than most. He does shut down sometimes. I am sure he gets worn down just watching me. He does have so lung problems so he does understand a different kind of tired.
    Thank you for sharing. I am sorry we both and all that Read this who share our stories go thru. Lovingly, Linny

  9. I agree! We have gone through way too much to be anything but authentic. When I was extreme hyper it felt as if everyone was in slow motion, way too slow to keep up with me, it was just so darn aggravating! Oh and talk about being blunt, oh boy! Then dropping into extreme hypo was awful. Feeling like a snail just trying to scratch and crawl through the days. Everyone not understanding one bit how awful tired that feels like! After 10 years of not feeling well at all, I have taken control of me. Learning to say “no” more often for my own well being, not worrying so darn much if I offend anyone and not over doing it so I’d have to pay for it for days on end. I will go forward with an entirely new perspective, still do right by others but not forgetting about doing right by me.

    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Lisa,

      You said it sister! Do right by YOU. I was in the same boat with being extremely hyper, and now I think I’ve moved into the hypo territory. I have no fucking clue anymore, the worst part about all this shit is going bald.

      I hope you’re feeling better these days and grabbing your health by the balls. It’s a constant battle, and we just have to remind ourselves there are good days, bad days, and really awful days.



  10. Linny says:

    Oh believe me, I LOVE being with my grandchildren! We are very close. They “get me” best of all.
    I have elderly parents and my husband has asthma, if I get sick we all get sick!
    I am having Christmas here.
    I need to do so much this month!
    Any other time would be different and of course if an emergency!

  11. Amanda says:

    It really is good to be yourself. Common sense should kick in and hold you back from going too far, I would think. Of course that is from me, who threw a few “fuck you’s” out to my co-worker who compared me to a ex-employee who was hated by everyone. Bah. Whatever, totally worth the two quarters I threw in the swear jar.

    It takes confidence, balls and intelligence to “know” yourself and be ok with embracing it. It will scare people off, but only the people who don’t have the ability to “listen and understand”. We are all so sensitive these days…. but damn… sometimes you just have to say “bullshit” and mean it. Anyone who is worth their own spit knows when they are putting it out there and will shrug it off. The others? They tend to believe whatever makes them happy and will walk away. Say “buh-bye” and keep on moving forward.

    Now getting two teenagers to accept full on honesty is a different story…. teenager: “Mom I need a ride” [complete white out snowstorm] my reply: “too fucking bad” … la dee da. hubby: “whoa”


    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Amanda,

      I think that if you were my coworker, we’d be eating lunch everyday and possibly playing poker in the break room. Oh, and I’m sure we’d sneak in a few beers during the hour break.

      I know of all people, you don’t need any “be authentic” coaching…I think the challenge would be for you to NOT be balls to the wall, and I would NEVER ask you to hold those balls in. Let those lady balls LOOSE.

      I heart you,


  12. Judanna says:

    Part of what makes me tick is something I learned during 2003. I was at a spa. YES you heard me correctly. I wish I could say I was there for pure bliss, I wasn’t, I was very sick, I suppose we could all theorize that’s when the cancer was beginning, but considering I was a NYC school teacher during Sept 2001 & spent every other weekend in NYC from 1998-2004 (when I mooved in)There’s more than an 1 eyebrow raised in me as to when this all started. Now that I’m missing much of my eyebrows ! LOL ! Well, yes, I was very sick & it seemed after an 8 day hospital stay, I couldn’t get better. Finally, my boyfriend seeing me struggle said,”Isn’t there a place you could go to ANYWHERE that can make you better ? It was 2003, poor guy, little did he know we were just getting started ! I said, “Well, yes, I’ve heard there are spas you can go to that specialize in different things, but I don’t know which one can help me & anyway they are probably really expensive ?”
    “Well here is my AMEX & there is a computer, now find someplace. . . . just pay me back when you can !”
    I found a SPA in Sedona AZ called “Mii Amo”. I allowed it to change my life. They asked if I needed the spiritual healing, the physical healling or the emotional healing Journey ? I said a combination of all 3. This came with a full background of papers I had to fill out & submit & a Nurse & a Nutritionist phoned me later for more pre-spa arrangements along with an activities co-ordinator & a spa menu co-ordinator. So, when I arrived in the SPA my first full day there & I was offerred a consultation w/ a counselor for Ayurveda, I was like ( What the hell did I have to loose, by now they knew what color I painted my toenails !)
    I gave her a very brief synopsis of my family life & she looked at me & said words that will always stay with me, “Your Family gave you a tremendous gift, by pushing you away at a very early age, they gave you the opportunity to become family with the rest of humanity !”
    So, started my healing & my projection out into the universe of what I wanted for my life. I wanted to work at a spa, but I had no spa training or talents. Now I’m an acupuncturist & own a mini Acu-spa in my home.I’ve beaten Cancer & we are planning OUR first baby !

    • Nicole Wells says:


      What an amazing story! I love the silver lining of “becoming family with humanity”. Glass is always half full, if not FILLED TO THE BRIM.



  13. Linny says:

    I am very happy for you Judanna~!
    I believe I have turned most around for a better way to live.
    I like who I have grown into. Maybe family is over rated…
    seeing how they are, made me try harder to be something more….
    I did a Holistic treatment for 6 months. I wasn’t living there but I did a treatment plan designed for my needs and illness. It was intense and has changed my life.
    I might be even better if I hadn’t given up on my thyroid and agreed to radiation.
    But I can truely say I am worlds better. It worked for me.
    I had a goiter but didn’t have cancer.
    Thank you for sharing with me. It means a lot.
    Lovingly, Linny

  14. Melissa Travis says:

    Wow. GODDAMNBATMAN!!! I freaking love this!!!! Powerful stuff!!! You said you were writing it – AND WRITE YOU DID!!!! Love love love it!!!

    Really moved by this one: “The scariest part of authenticity is, well, scaring people off.” Yip. Yip yip yip indeedly do. Oh hai… yes- dealing with a sonic fuck ton of illness and financial woes and cleaning up my emotional garbage but HAI NICE TO MEEET YOUUUUU.

    I mean yah… HOW DO YOU bring that up? WHEN?

    LOVE THIS. Adore you!

    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Melissa,

      I find the best time to bring those things up is when I’m on my knees.

      hahaha I just had to say that.

      It’s like, f it, we all have some kind of baggage – as long as we don’t schlep ours along every second of the day, I don’t see the problem.

      Hiding that shit only makes your skin want to burst at a later date, and that burst isn’t cute. Emotional pimples suck balls.



  15. Lolly says:

    Authentic I don’t think there will ever be anyone like me. so does that make me unique or authentic or just a prize bitch at times..I don’t suffer fools gladly and don’t think twice before putting my mouth into gear without engaging my brain first..Most times I will probably regret it but at the time it feels so fucking good to let it all out.

    I just have to Me and really wouldn’t want to be anyone else if I were to change the only thing I would want is to make sure I always have duck tape on me for those quiet interludes.

    Don’t ever change who you are Nicole some one is going to Love you for you and not what they want you to be, they got to except you warts and all and Hope you haven’t got any warts just a saying…This is what makes you, YOU and you really wouldn’t want to be ME.

    Great column


    • Nicole Wells says:

      Dear Lolly,

      Thank you!

      The thing is, when people try to be someone they’re not…well, it’s not only a sham but it’s also BORING.

      You’re definitely NOT boring, and I love how you embrace your authenticity. Btw, I also dabble in being a prize bitch from time to time.

      When you OWN yourself, and let yourself be comfortable in YOUR own skin…why would you want to ever tone down what makes YOU unique?

      My personality combined with my disease shit makes me what I am today, ain’t no way in fucking hell I’m going to exchange that for any blandness so I can “fit in” with the “normal” people.



  16. Judanna says:

    I really identify with your gutsy experience & I am grateful for your reactions to my story,from my heart. In answer to your question, if I don’t go to my family’s home for the holiday (1 day) this year, I will not have seen my son in 2 years !
    I thank you sincerely for inspiring my newest Holiday Literary Entry, which answers your question in great detail, emptying my soul.

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