Defining My Essence

Physical Affects of Graves Disease

Published November 18, 2021
Author: Claudie P

I have mentioned before that I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Graves’ disease. I didn’t know how much being diagnosed with Graves had affected me physically until I started to feel like myself again. The funny thing is that every few months after being diagnosed I would say “I feel like myself again” and now that it has been four years since my diagnosis I look back at how wrong I was. Let’s start before I was diagnosed, before I knew anything was wrong. I used to be a part of a dance team and even though I quit the team I would still show up to take pictures because I was a historian of the organization. Sometimes while they were practicing I would try to do a headstand. I was still learning but I was able to go up.

One day while practicing I would start shaking and I wasn’t able to stay in the headstand, I remember thinking why am I so shaky but not really understanding what was going on. Time went by and I had to go to the hospital but they didn’t properly diagnose me, they told me that I had Gastritis. After the hospital visit I would feel faint, I was so weak but I still thought it was because of the Gastritis. I was noticing that I was losing weight even though I was eating normally, so many things were wrong and at the time I didn’t know why. I was diagnosed in January of 2017 and after that hospital visit my body changed so much.

The first thing that I noticed was that my knees hurt so much. I couldn’t walk up my stairs fast any more, sitting down and getting up were a problem. I felt like I was an elderly person. Another thing that happened a couple of days after I left the hospital was that my entire face was covered with tiny bumps, and each day more bumps would appear on my face. The next thing was the heart palpitations. My resting heart rate was so fast that doing anything physical made it feel like my heart was beating out of my chest. One time while I was in remission my heart was beating so fast that it was the reason how I knew that the Graves’ came back. I remember that my heart was beating so fast that I could feel it skip a beat.

It was so bad that I made the decision to go to the hospital, which I hated. They made me sit in a wheelchair to take me to my room because they didn’t want anything to happen. A symptom that was strange to me was that my left eye would twitch. It was so bad that my eye was twitching for a month. It happened from the time that I woke up until I went to sleep. I think the worst thing was when my body couldn’t stand the heat. I’m usually always cold and everyone knows that. I’m always trying to warm up and I usually have my blanket or jacket with me. But for several months I couldn’t stand the heat. It felt like there were tiny needles all over my body or like an itch that you can’t scratch. It’s was extremely painful. I remember being angry all the time because I was still cold all the time, but I just couldn’t take the heat. I couldn’t take hot showers, even if I was cold I couldn’t warm up.

A lot of people don’t know this but when I cut my hair short a couple of years it was because I was losing my hair. Thyroid diseases are on a spectrum, I am usually on the end of hyperthyroidism but I switched to hypothyroidism. Not only did it cause me to lose my hair, it caused me to gain weight. I went from weighing 111 lbs to 130 lbs within a month or less. As the years go by some of these things have stopped completely and some just pops up here and there. If I am stressed the heart palpitations come back, the eye twitch came back once and thankfully I haven’t felt the heat thing in years. Sometimes something new happens like a small section of my hair turning gray but that’s not too bad.

As of now I think this the they first time in years that I feel like I can do physical activities without feeling too winded. I’m a person that pushes myself when I want to learn something, for example a couple of years before I was diagnosed I took a Krav Maga class in the summer and that was when I was my most physically fit. The thing I was upset about losing when I went down in weight was the fact I lost all of my muscles. I didn’t have much but after Krav, like I said I was a part of a dance team and when I quit that I used to go to the gym. I haven’t been to a gym since my diagnosis, the most I do now is Yoga. I do eventually want to go back to the gym and test my limits. And maybe then I could show more progress.


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