First and foremost, I wanted to help other people with Graves Disease to realise that you’re not alone, even though you often feel very isolated and cut off from reality. Secondly, I wanted to acknowledge the impact this disease has on our inner circle of friends and family, and to say to them ‘We love and appreciate you so much, no matter what we do and say when our minds are lost, confused and frightened. Our words and actions are not really us right now, so please bear with us, and hopefully we’ll be back real soon’
It’s also my attempt at trying to understand exactly what this disease is, because quite frankly I had very little idea at the start of this book!
I think it’s also very likely that I’m having at least one really good feel sorry for myself moment, as well as perhaps venting a little anger and frustration at the whole thing, something along the lines of ‘Why Me.’
Now I don’t know about you, but most of the time when I receive negative comments about my added weight, loss of hair, changed appearance or how much I’ve rapidly aged, I generally just laugh and make some stupid quip about a misspent youth! I NEVER choose to tell them about the new additions of double vision, painful cramps and the need for the bathroom 5 minutes after drinking any fluid, or of course the constant mood swings, panic attacks and depression. Not to mention of course the itchy and often swollen eyes, moobs and tender breasts ‘Really…’ And the deep joy of knowing it may all be my constant companion until the day I die, sadly brings little comfort. Oh, and did I mention that my lovely cross to bear is 5 to 10 times more likely to occur in women than it is in men! Definite a blow to any male ego! I guess I also wrote this book to save me the trouble of explaining the whole thing over and over again!
As well as telling you my own story, my book obviously covers the facts about Graves Disease, facts that I myself was ignorant of. I believe that it’s only by understanding the facts that we can start to understand this journey we’re all on.
I have to state right here and now, that if you have Graves and live in the USA, you probably have a far better understanding than most of us about what this disease really is! Being British and living in the UK, I went under the knife for my Thyroidectomy with very little understanding of the disease or the operation that I was letting myself in for. I’m not sure if it’s a United Kingdom thing, but nothing was ever really explained to me in any great depth. In fact I have learned far more about Graves whilst researching & writing this book than I ever did from my doctors, specialist or surgeons. They say that ignorance is bliss, but I think that ignorance can lead to unnecessary fear, not to mention the possibility of doing yourself more harm than good!
So I have approached writing this book as a way of not only educating myself, but also as a tool to help those like myself that are not really being told the full extent of what’s going on inside of them.
According to chacha.com Graves Disease only affects 2% of our population, so I guess a little ignorance from the general public is expected, but shouldn’t our medical staff be a little more clued up! A few months back I was given a prescription by my GP that could have potentially given me a heart-attack! If I’m honest, I probably started to think about writing this book at that very moment, purely for self defence against ignorance. So let’s step out of the shadows and begin to dance once again in the light.