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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Living with Graves Disease

Hello Brainiacs! I know it's been awhile since I last I wrote a post.  I do have a reason and it will be what this post is all about.

A few weeks ago I wrote a little New Year's Resolution of sorts about what my plans are with my health.  So, on January 17, 2014, it was confirmed by my endocrinologist that I have Grave's Disease.  What's that, you ask?  Quite honestly, I didn't know anything about it too.  So, here's the run down:

  • It's an auto-immune disease that's affecting my thyroid.  Basically, my body thinks my healthy thyroid is sick so it's attacking it :-(. 
  • There are several ways of getting it - genetics, pregnancy, or stress.  Well?  My family does not have it, I was pregnant 3 years ago, so maybe it is stress??? 

There are several symptoms associated with Grave's Disease:
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Hot Flashes
  • Hand Tremors
  • Weight Loss
  • Constant Hunger
  • Protruding Eyes
  • Diarrhea
  • Mood Swings
  • Breathlessness
  • Foggy Brain
  • Heart Palpitations
Believe it or not I had all but one which I am a little upset about... Weight Loss! As a matter of fact, due to the hunger, I gained weight. BLEH!!

Believe it or not, there really isn't a cure for Graves Disease.  However, there is treatment to control it BUT... all of them not cool! You see, each one sounds like I have cancer but it's not cancer! Here they are:
  • Radiation Therapy
  • Surgery to take out my thyroid
  • Pills

See? sounds like cancer! When they gave me my options, I opted for the one with the smallest bullet - pills.  The other 2 options, well? I'd still be taking pills for the rest of my life after the fact! Plus - who wants to glow in the dark anyway? LOL! So, every month I will pay a visit to my endocrinologist to see if my TSH levels are going back to normal with the pills.  What's TSH? TSH is also known as Thyroid Stimulating Hormone that is produced when the hypothalamus releases a substance called thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH). 

Well, it's been a little over a month since I've been diagnosed. I will have my first TSH check this Friday to see if it is going the right direction.  Since then, I've been consulting Dr. Google to see of other alternatives to treat Grave's Disease.  Let's face it, I'll be living with Grave's for the rest of my life and I need to avoid having to go through radiation or surgery.   With the help of Dr. Google, I came across functional medicine as an alternative to treating my condition.  It's basically a form of medicine that looks at the overall health of the person rather than just the disease or symptom.  

I am now under the care of a functional doctor as of Feb. 4th and am currently going through a 20 day detoxification.  It has not been a fun ride especially since everyone around me loves "bar food"! I can say I am feeling much better and I will continue to write about my progress on Grave's along with some unusual recipes I've come across.  I'm not a foodie blog but I'm sure my foodie blog friends will love the recipes.  Don't worry though - my focus will still be on being mommy, full-time worker, and PhD student too! Is that where the stress came from? LOL! Until next time....


  1. It sounds like you're handling this diagnosis with grace, Jessica. I love how you're arming yourself with education about Graves. Sounds like a typical PhD student to me. ;)

    1. Thank you so much! I am definitely arming myself with education on this one. It's a lifelong disease so I might as well learn how to control it rather than go against it. Thanks again for stopping by!

  2. I'm in the process of getting bloodwork tests done for my thyroid. I all almost all of those symptoms too so makes me wonder. Hope treatment goes well and I may right there with you before long.

    1. Good luck, Angela! Quite honestly, I was relieved to finally know. After waking up with heart palpitations I thought I was dying :(. I'll be praying for you!


  3. That is the best way to arm yourself against any disease, with education and taking it head on! I am so happy that you are seeing a Functional Dr, I definitely follow a more natural approach than traditional. I will be sending prayers that you can get it under control. If ya ever need anything, don't hesitate! Talk to ya soon!

    1. Thank you Ms. Stacey! At the same time - having a sense of humor about it is what's keeping me going. I can say "I'm HOT" and really mean it plus IF the weight loss does happen then I'm ok with eating like a pig!! LOL!!!

  4. I'm so glad you're getting good treatment. I have a similar disease, Hashimoto. I've been diagnosed a couple of years ago and am doing well with my pills now. Hoping for a good course of the disease for oth of us. Keep updating on the further course of action in your case!

  5. It sounds like you are taking control and doing all the right things. I am glad to hear that. I have a close friend whose 11 year old daughter was diagnosed with Graves when she was a toddler. It was a scary process getting to the diagnosis but they seem to be handling it well. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers and please keep us updated. Thinking of you!

  6. Glad that you are working through your diagnosis ... funny, I have a lot of those same symptoms BUT don't know if it's from the hormones taking a change in direction (approaching 50 in 2 months), the elevated ANI (suspected Lupus but I disagree with that diagnosis) or if it's something else all together :( That is why I've been more selective on what I put in my mouth :) I'm trying to treat EVERTTHING naturally ... not always successful!