Donna’s Story

My Battle With Graves’ Disease

Submitted by Donna on November 1st, 2005

When I was 17 years old I was an energetic happy teen and was very healthy looking.  At 5’2”, I weighed a healthy 118 lbs. sometime around the time I turned 18 I began to lose weight.  I did not know why but I could not gain it back.  I got married at 19 and soon became pregnant and had a moler pregnancy.  That is a pregnancy where the baby stops developing within days of being pregnant and a miscarriage follows.  I then went down to 100lbs.  I soon became pregnant again and had a healthy baby girl. Soon after, I started have nervous problems and panic attacks.  I went down to 98lbs.  For 10 years, I stayed at that weight and had three more moler pregnancies, (a sign of thyroid problems).  Finally, after 10 years I had a healthy pregnancy.  I managed to gain weight after my son was born and the panic attacks seemed to go away for a while.  I was at 120 lbs and felt great.  Five years later, I had another son and managed to stay at the 120lb weight until he was three.  At that time, I started having terrible panic attacks and was very hot.  I just thought it was peri-menopause.  Then when he was five, I had another moler pregnancy.  After that miscarriage, it seems that I became an eating machine.  My nerves were shot; I was constantly sweating, nervous, panic attacks, and depression.  I asked the doctor about thyroid problems since my mom and great grandma had goiters but the test came back fine.  They told me it was generalized anxiety disorder and depression and gave me Paxil.  It sure helped the panic attacks and anxiety but I was still in an eating machine and very hot all the time.  My brain was always in a fog.  I was up to 138lbs.  The optometrist told me I have dry eye syndrome.  I asked what would cause this and she said,” I don’t know, use eye drops”.  She never told me that it could be a symptom of thyroid problems.  I went along being hungry and sweaty for several years until in 2003 I started losing a little weight.  I would lose about 1-2 lbs a month.  Right about this time my eyes started really bothering me.  I got down to 114 lbs and I really liked that weight for my small frame.  In the winter of 2004-05, my eyes started watering constantly and I was so tired that I would sleep for 3 hours in the middle of the afternoon.  When spring came, I started seeing double.  I called the optometrist and he mentioned Graves’s disease.  I called my doctor and got thyroid tests that were normal.  She sent me to an ophthalmologist who had me get an MRI, which showed I had Thyroid Eye Disease.  I was told there would be no treatments just get my eyes checked every 3 months.  So I was then sent to an endocrinologist who again said my tests were normal and there would be no treatment.  At this time, I was not so nervous or hot and the brain fog went away.  Now it is fall and I have had more blood tests that show that I have Graves’s disease because my thyroid antibodies are high.  But again no treatment.  I will get more blood tests in November and an appointment with the ophthalmologist and endocrinologist also.  I cannot help but think that I have had a thyroid problem since I had started to lose weight when I was 18.  I will let you know how the story ends when it ends. I pray that it has a successful conclusion.

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