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My Journey with Graves’ Disease: {Part 3} Changes & the ‘R’ Word

By Sassysweetstyle @ChaniaB

journey-with-graves-disease

In My Journey with Graves’ Disease: {Part 2}, I discussed life postpartum & what it was like getting adjusted to a chronic illness while caring for an infant full-time.

In Part 3 of the series, I will be discussing  how my health changed again & my decision to have radiation therapy.

I can’t remember when exactly it was since I always forget to ask for copies of my medical records, but in early 2012, it was time for my routine lab checks.  This time my normal results came back elevated. Wham! Back to square one. My endocrinologist wanted to start me on Tapazole which is a really common hyperthyroid medication.  I didn’t want to go through the vicious cycle ALL OVER AGAIN with the titrating & close monitioring & dealing with the symptoms involved with being hyperthyroid. NO THANK YOU.  My husband was an only child, & I was 1 of 2, & we really wanted to give our daughter a sibling once I was healthy & we were ready to tackle the challenge of having 2 children.

I discussed having Radioactive Iodine Therapy { RAI } with my endocrinologist because #1,  I was beyond over the yo-yo game & the waiting & feeling terrible, & #2, if we were to ever have a chance to have another child, I needed to make my thyroid normal or hypo due to the antibodies & medications involved.  My endocrinologist informed me that 9 times out of 10, most patients who undergo RAI treatment often see a decrease in their antibodies to a normal or depleted level, which is essential for me to have a healthy child.  After performing all of the research I could, my husband & I decided to go ahead with the RAI treatment.

To achieve the best picture possible to see how my thyroid was functioning, I was sent to have a Radioactive Iodine Uptake {RAIU} test. I took a few small pills that made my throat feel like it was on fire & about to explode at the same time.  I had to lay on a tiny table with my head back, neck extended as still as possible in the Nuclear Medicine department of the Radiology office for 45 minutes while a bajillion images of my thyroid were taken. NOT comfortable when you have a bubble butt. It was beyond hard to balance for that long lol.   When the technician came in to check on me, he informed me that he had never seen the imaging show so much activity so quickly.  GREAT.  You never want to be medically special in a negative sense.  So I asked if I could get down earlier then, & he informed me I had to lay there the entire 45 minutes.  Talk about a whirlwind of thoughts & emotions.  Those 45 minutes felt like 45 days & I felt like my throat was going to burst at any minute. Finally the test was completed & I was sent home to distance myself from everyone & pound gallons of water & flush like a mad woman.  Gotta love radiation precautions. The only positive of that day was that I was able to get pretty far in the Game of Thrones book I was reading at the time.

;)

It took a few days to receive my results, but my endocrinologist informed me what we already knew, that I DEFINITELY had Graves’ Disease.  He was pretty puzzled because my thyroid measured within normal limits & I wasn’t having any symptoms, but my thyroid was running at 100 mph.  Not healthy.  It was decided 100% at this point. We scheduled my RAI appointment for the following week.  My husband had to work, so my grandparents went with me so they could watch my daughter & drive me home if needed.  I went into the office, my endocrinologist came in with a metal box the size of your standard makeup box with a GIANT yellow radioactive symbol plastered on the front. I couldn’t even imagine at this point was was inside this thing.  He opened it up & inside was this clear test tube with a pill the size of a tic tac. I took it & that was it.  Down the rabbit hole I went & my life was changed with one tiny pill.  Thankfully, I felt fine the rest of the day like I had not done anything different.  I just had to pound more water & flushing. Lots & lots of flushing.

My labs were checked regularly from July 2012 until July 2013 without any irregularities.  “I’m free!!” I thought. I totally jinxed myself.  I hate it when I do that. :/

In part 4 of the series, I will be discussing what changed in 2013 & some tough pills I’ve had to swallow.

Do you or know someone who struggles with Graves’ Disease?

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