What Is Graves’ Disease Like?
Not a day goes by that I am not asked “Just what is it like having Graves’ Disease?” I have tried so many ways to answer that questions. I have found that the best thing to do is trying to explain the Thyroid Disease in a way that relates to the person I am talking to. So many people that I talk to that do not have a Thyroid Disease have a real hard time understanding that this is a very hard disease to live with. Not only for the person that has a thyroid disease but the family with a family member with the disease. One thing I always tell people is that my best day may look like your worse day.
Mind you first off we do not all have the same symptoms or at the same degree. So some of you that have a Thyroid Disease may disagree with my symptoms. Also the symptoms may change day to day. Just as an example imagine having flu like symptoms everyday. Yet you still have things that you need to take care of. You may have a family to care for or a job to go to. You feel so drained and so tired you can barely make yourself get up out of bed and get dressed for the day. You get up get dressed and go to make coffee. You want that coffee so bad and think it may help wake you up as your eyelids are so heavy. Some days that coffee just makes you feel worse. Your spouse comes in for breakfast and looks at you funny. You know you do not look your best by the look in their eye. You are loosing so much hair when you take a shower and when you comb your hair. Your hair is unmanageable and breaks. It is sometimes called “Glass” hair because of that. Your skin is so dry even moisturizer does not help much. Your make up does not look right and your eyes always feel gritty and water al the time. You snap at your husband and even at your children. When they question you about it you get irritated with them. You may not even realize how you sound to them. To you it seems like they just do not understand you. You are right they do not. You are having so many mood swings they can not keep up.
Also your joints are hurting and you just hurt all over your body. Some days it just maybe your knees, some days you knees and elbows and then some days just all over . Damp weather can really hurt you. If you have Thyroid Eye Disease your head hurts from behind your eyes most of the time. There are times just your heels hurt. Even with out the pain you are still feeling tired. You can sleep for up to 18 hours a day yet it is not a restful sleep. You might be up and down all night long. Sleeping so many hours a day makes you look lazy to other people. If you have ever stayed awake all night and tried to go to work the next day you might know how this feels a little bit. Or if you have ever had a very bad hang over and had to go to work you may get a hint as how this feels every day. Everything irritates you. You are grouchy and snap at everybody and well everything just gets you mad. But no matter what you do …you can not feel better. All you can do is learn to live with it.
You may think well it is not that bad. Yes it is that bad. We have not even started on all the symptoms there are. I have not even mentioned the anxiety, depression, decreased concentration, decreased memory, confusion tearfulness not to mention forgetting words and how to spell them. Not just words. Some of us with a Thyroid Disease do not just forget words but names of people and places. It might come and go from one hour to the next from one day to the next. The thing is it does happen. More than we would like to think about. Is there more? Yes there is. Some people with Thyroid Disease have been thought to be drunk or on drugs. We are known to have tremors in our hands, to fall for no reason, and to be off balance.
These might all seem like little irritating things to some people. The thing is when it is happening to you it is not such a little thing. All of it adds up to one big thing. Is there medicine to help us? Yes and no. There are a few different ones for us to take. The thing is what works for one of us does not work for all of us. Get 10 of us together and we all are taking a different medicine and a different dose. Some of us have a blood test every other month some every 3-6 months . A few once a year. A lot depends on the doctor we have and how they read our blood work. So now we have Another problem. Not all doctors understand our Thyroid Disease even though it has been around for years. Years ago people with a Thyroid Disease were put in mental hospitals. Yes, we were locked up. Why because the doctors thought we were crazy. We often think we are going crazy. It is hard for those of us that have a Thyroid Disease to understand what is happening to us. So you can understand how hard it is to try to explain it to somebody that does not have it.
My job is to do constant research and spread the awareness of this disease to the public and to people that have Thyroid Disease. Some of you may already know you have it and are glad to know there are others out there that know exactly what you are going through. There are many of you that do not know you have a Thyroid Disease but are feeling the symptoms and do not know why you feel the way you do. Many of us tried to hide it as much as we could and so turned into hermits of a sort. Our appearance and personality may have changed so much that old friends do not even know us any more. If you suspect that you or somebody you know may have a Thyroid disorder I urge you to ask your doctor to have thyroid testing done when they take blood for blood test. It does not cost any more just another thing to check for. These test are the T3 , T4 and TSH