It was a year ago that I first went into the emergency room with what I thought was an allergy affecting my eyes. Wow, was I in for a surprise! My right eye was swollen and protruding out of its socket; it was red and watering constantly and I thought to myself that I must be allergic to something? I had also noticed that for many years I had a rather large lump on my Adam’s apple, but thought nothing of it.
My experience in the emergency department at my local hospital was horrible. I was subjected to eye tests and a device was used to measure how much my eye was protruding. In the process my lens was scratched and suffered for some time as a result of that injury. My blood pressure was extremely high and I was referred to an eye specialist. They did send me for some blood work and suggested that I might have Graves’ disease.
A month later, I was back in the emergency department and by this time my eye was almost popping out of my head! I couldn’t take it anymore. My blood pressure was 223/124. After several hours, I was admitted to the hospital. I had had a heart attack! I was shocked because I hadn’t felt the symptoms of a heart attack. It has been my eye that was bothering me.
I went through more tests and was then informed that I had Graves’ disease. I learned that this condition results from long-term lack of treatment for hyperthyroidism. No doctor ever told me that the lump on my Adam’s apple was a goiter and only when my daughter was diagnosed with hypothyroidism was it mentioned that there was a possibility of family members having a condition as well.
As a result of all of this, I am on medication for the rest of my life. My energy level has gone from being active to being extremely tired all the time. Graves’ disease has completely affected my vision and loss of my sight is one of the scariest things I have experienced, because I only see out of one eye. This journey into hyperthyroid land has been frustrating and I still don’t understand it. My blood is tested every six weeks, but my goiter has shrunk. My vision and my eye problem are still issues for me.
I think the hardest part for me to deal with has been the fact that all of this could have been prevented if I had received proper treatment … a long time ago! I wonder why doctors don’t pay more attention to thyroid disease? My weight fluctuates all the time and I am not the woman I used to be. And all this time I thought it was age. I am 51 and for the most part have been healthy my whole life. I blamed this onslaught of symptoms on middle age only to learn that it was something that had been brewing inside of me for many, many years …
I still struggle with this everyday and there are times when I am so tired of it. But on a positive note, I have had my heart checked and I did not suffer any damage to my heart as a result of the heart attack. I have been put on beta blockers, blood pressure medications, Lipitor and Tapizole for my issues and I am glad to say for the most part I am as good as can be expected. I am fortunate to have the support of my family and friends. As well as a doctor who looked at the issues surrounding the events that led up to this.
My only regret is that it could have been diagnosed in the early stages. I have also done research and learned that diet is a big part of this issue. Processed foods containing ingredients such as MSG are a factor and whenever I consume such ingredients I always react to them – by stabbing pain and swelling of my eye. I only have Graves’ disease in one eye. I am fortunate. Thanks for allowing me to share this with you.