Monday, 6 June 2016

My Graves' and Me

Hello, I'm back again,

If you read my 'About Me' post you will know I suffer from Graves' disease, if you didn't read it well you know now. This post will be about how I was diagnosed and how I have dealt with it since. 

I gave birth to my son in July 2014 and dealt with new Mama exhaustion for the first few weeks and although I got used to being a Mammy pretty quickly I also got used to being tired ALL the time. It wasn't until my son was around 6 months old coming up to Christmas when I started to realise how I was feeling wasn't right, I no longer had a new born and was well settled into my new way of living at that stage. I looked and felt awful all of the time, my hair was still falling out, dry and breaking every time I brushed it, my face was dull and tired looking, I had little to no energy, I was having palpitations, no appetite and just generally felt like sh*t everyday even though it was supposed to be one of the happiest and most exciting times of my life.

As a teenager I had suffered with thyroid issues but never severe enough that I needed treatment. I started googling my symptoms (I know I know, never google) but I eventually found that your thyroid can actually flare up after giving birth, I said this has to be whats wrong with me and straight away I made an appointment to get a full blood count done.

When the results came back my TSH levels were through the roof which then meant I had an Over-Active Thyroid, I was referred to a consultant who gave me my actual diagnosis of Hyperthyroidism due to Graves' Disease. Hyperthyroidism is a disorder in which your thyroid gland makes and releases more thyroid hormone than your body needs. Hormones released by the thyroid affect nearly every part of your body from your brain to your skin and muscles. They play a crucial role in controlling how your body uses energy, a process called metabolism. This includes how your heart beats and even how you burn calories.

So I had gotten a diagnosis, straight away I started on my thyroid medication and also a beta blocker to stop my heart racing. Months passed and I wasn't feeling any better and overtime I went back to my consultant my blood count wasn't changing and my medication was being upped everytime. Eventually after almost a year I got back good blood results and I started to see small differences, I wasn't as tired and my appetite was slowly coming back. I was finally on the right track, I have visits with my consultant every three months, and by the time the next appointment had come around all my results were going the right way and I was able to come off the beta blockers.

Its almost a year an a half after my diagnosis and only now am I starting to get my life back on track, my skin looks better and my face looks more alive, my hair has stopped falling out and is slowly growing back, its still very dull and brittle so it needs constant TLC. I definitely have more energy now and thank god for that because toddlers aren't easy. I am on a long road to recovery still, its not easy and some days are great, other days I still can't get out of bed and I pray that my son naps during the day so I can too.

Having a baby while suffering from any health problem isn't easy, I struggled a lot after I had my son but I had great help and support from my family and I never pushed myself to be Super-Mam, when I was tired I slept and some days I'd only wake when my son would wake for a feed and I'd go back to sleep as soon as he had. I do feel guilty over not being able to do some things with my him, often we would have to miss his swimming class or cancel breakfast with Nanny because I just didn't have the energy but what I didn't know then is how serious Graves' can be if left untreated and I try to remind myself that my son needs a happy healthy Mammy, and he won't remember the swimming class that he missed when he was 10 months old but as he gets older he will remember more and thankfully I am going the right way to be back to full health by the time he can.

Just because I have no physical symptoms doesn't mean I am not suffering, chronic illness is a real thing no matter what form you suffer from. Don't suffer in silence, and don't put everything down to being a new mother. If you feel in your heart something isn't right well trust your gut, if I hadn't of figured out what was wrong with me I could have gone undiagnosed for god knows how long. I am on a learning journey everyday with my Graves' and if anyone is suffering similarly I am always here to talk or share more of my story if I can. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments or email me directly at

Lynda x

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