At the beginning of this year I felt that I was suffering more from the side effects of my medication than I was from my illness, so, with the guidance of my doctor I decided to stop taking them for a couple of months to see exactly how my body was doing under its own steam.
My blood tests at the time were looking good so I took the plunge. For the first few weeks I was in a bit of a panic, I kept thinking I was going to experience some sort of symptoms; expecting my heart to start racing and the anxiety to kick in but nothing happened.
I was amazed, and as the weeks went by I became comfortable with being off the medication. But then as time went on I began to feel fatigued. I never felt unwell in the same way I had 18 months ago but I felt like my body wasn’t functioning properly.
I had already made an appointment to see a naturopath; I had to wait for a few months for an appointment but since I had seen her several years ago I knew it was worth the wait.
Before seeing her at the beginning of April I was sent a very extensive medical history form to complete and when I got to my appointment the doctor already had a good idea of what had been going on with me.
We talked through my journey so far and then she decided to do a full set of blood tests and to do saliva tests. She was totally in support of me staying off the thyroid medication until we had done all of the tests but decided that there were some supplements I should get started on immediately in order to help my sleep and concentration. So I started on 5 HTP and concentrated Omegas.
Within a week I was able to focus more and my sleep went from a maximum of a two hour stretch to a four hour stretch. That may not sound like much but for me it was huge!
I collected saliva over a day and I fasted before my blood tests. Then I waited for a week for the results. When I went back to the doctor I was hoping that the tests would be good but I was delighted when I was told that my thyroid is functioning within normal range.
But here’s the thing – I still feel dreadful! This confirmed to me what I already knew, that Graves has caused many, many other deficiencies and defects to my physiology and these are the things that need to be treated.
The doctor explained every single test result and how the different elements related to each other and I felt, for the first time since being diagnosed, that my doctor fully understood what I was going through and she was ready to treat my entire body, as a unit, holistically.
As a result I have a daily regime of supplements to help with my sleep, fatigue, mind fog and cravings. There was only one area of concern and that is that I am now in the pre-diabetic range but this is manageable with diet and lifestyle changes and I am taking supplements to help with the sweet cravings I have been battling with.
I wanted to share this part of my story because over the past few weeks I have been asked by many people who suffer from Graves why they still feel really ill when their blood tests show that their thyroid function has improved.
It frustrates me so much that doctors and endocrinologists do not explain to their patients what autoimmunity is and that the damage caused by Graves is far-reaching, yet it is manageable under controlled conditions and with hard work and focus.