A New Normal: Graves Disease
If you've followed my Instagram stories recently, you know that I've been sick for several weeks. Here's the story of what's been going on:
It started just before Mother's Day with suddenly unexplainably sore muscles, achy joints and extreme fatigue that lasted for weeks. I was short of breath, light-headed and couldn't do anything other than lie in bed or on the couch.
The whole week my mom was in town, I was in bed and asleep by 8:30 or 9pm from pure exhaustion and everything I did took SO MUCH energy out of me.
I literally, paintstakingly and at a snail's pace, moved from the couch to bed and back again for a solid week. Every single joint was constantly throbbing and aching.
Finally, just after Memorial Day, when my body hurt so bad I couldn't even hold the pages of a book open without pain, I went to see my doctor for a Mono test. My doctor decided to do several different blood tests since I didn't have a sore throat or fever.
When the results came back, it wasn't at all what I had expected. I had a vitamin B12 deficiency and my T4 thyroid hormone was overproducing. So, she ordered a B12 shot and a visit to an endocrinologist. I had hoped the B12 shot would boost my energy some, and while I did have a day or two of *slight* improvement, it was still pretty awful and clear that my thyroid was the real problem.
While I waited to see the endocrinologist, my symptoms progressed. Hand tremors, rapid heartbeat, tingling hands and feet, trouble with word recall, nausea, and additional weight loss. Simple tasks like writing checks (not to mention painting my signs) were extremely difficult, both painful and ridiculously wobbly. Thank goodness for Ben and the kids who were very understanding and helpful while I was incapacitated.
By the grace of God, I was put on a high priority list and was able to get an appointment with the endocrinologist within a week. My initial apppointment wasn't going to be until mid-August and I couldn't imagine this going on for that long untreated and feeling so awful!
After an ultrasound, several more blood tests, and a talk with the endocrinologist, she diagnosed me with Graves Disease, an autoimmune disorder that basically means my thyroid is working overtime.
So, now I'm learning a "new normal" including daily medication, Methimazole (10mg, 1x daily to stop overproduction of my thyroid hormones) and Propranolol (20mg 3x daily, to reduce my symptoms) that-so far-appears to be helping. One week on the meds and I have much more energy, very little pain, and I feel like I can finally, slowly, start building back muscle and endurance.
It may be a long and bumpy road as we figure this all out, and I'm trying to recognize and realize that it's not a quick fix, but I'm grateful it's least treatable, though unfortunately not curable.
Thank you to all who have checked on me, encouraged me and prayed for me! I'm *hoping* the worst is over for me, but am trying to be realistic and be aware of possible complications along the way.
Tip: Don't Google experiences with Graves Disease...many of the extreme stories aren't encouraging and are downright scary.
(Propped up by a railing and Ben, a little bit of illness couldn't keep me from Chuy's)
But I'm ok, and it'll all be fine. God will get all of us through it. I might just have to slow down a little (or a lot).