The Dallemagnes → The Daily
Living with Graves` Disease
Once I could walk from one side of town to the other without issue. I worked on my own car, I carried my children with ease. These days a simple task such as folding laundry can wear me down. Half way through the day I can feel exhausted and the only thing I’ve done is shower and cook a meal. I spend every day living with Graves` Disease. I don’t believe that most people realize that. I feel when they see me in my wheelchair or with my walker they judge me harshly. I notice the sideways glances and in some ways, I have grown used to them, but it is always in the back of my mind. I want to help them understand what it is like to live with the invisible Graves` Disease.
I was first diagnosed with Graves` Disease when I was 31 years old. For years I had been misdiagnosed with having bi-polar disorder and was told that it was the reason for my mood swings. At the time there was no Affordable Care Act, and I had no health insurance. My husband’s job did not provide dependent insurance and I was working in fast food which provided health insurance, but it was very expensive and not very good. Because of these factors I wasn’t seeing a doctor on a regular basis and went undiagnosed for a very long time. I was miserable and always complaining about various ailments, so much so that my husband regularly told me that he thought I was a hypochondriac. To hear my long list of complaints, I’m sure most people would have agreed with him. Even I questioned whether I was being over dramatic.
We were still living in our first little apartment. It was a one bedroom on the second floor of a small complex. I noticed that over time climbing the single flight of stairs to our apartment became more difficult instead of easier, this was very frustrating as I couldn’t understand why. I also couldn’t understand why I a 31-year-old female was losing hair? This made no sense to me. Hair loss only happened to men, or so I thought. I also noticed that any time I received a small wound such as a scratch it would take an unusually long time to heal. My hands constantly shook and were unsteady, something I originally attributed to drinking too much caffeine. I had trouble sleeping and I was either burning up hot or freezing cold. There was no middle ground. I had developed a goiter which is a large lump on the neck. I had lost a lot of weight, that was the one thing I was happy about. I had spent most of my life being chubby and somewhat over weight, so to finally be thin had me thrilled. However, the longest running symptom I dealt with were the emotional problems. The mood swings I had made me believe there was something horribly wrong with me. Sometimes at night I would lay awake for hours trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Why was I so depressed that I couldn’t get out of bed? This had been going on for so long, that I was desperate to get any kind of help. I no longer wanted to feel worthless. Put plainly, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired.
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With the weather being bad today I decided it was a good day to use the slow cooker and make some good old fashioned barbecue baked beans and wieners. I hadn’t made them in so long, and nothing says comfort food for a cold day like beans & wieners.
My first week in school has been good. It turns out math isn’t bad when you have a good teacher. The problem is my academic advisor told me that my classes were on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I was registered for classes on Monday’s and Wednesdays. So when I showed up on Tuesday the teacher told me I could stay as they covered the same things, but the I don’t have access to her files on the school website. I enjoyed her teaching method so much I really didn’t want to change. Her class was full, but I was able to get written permission from her to join her class. So I’m now waiting for the school two drop me out of the other class and register me into hers. I hope it doesn’t take them too long as I need access to the homework on the website.
So my first week in college has officially begun. My first on campus class is tomorrow I’m a bit nervous about it. It’s math and I’ve never been very good at math, but I’m determined so there is that. Besides I’m married to a math genius (at least he is to me) so I should be okay. I’ve already begun my English comp class and I must say I think I’m a bit excited about it. I’ve always enjoyed writing and being able to improve those skills is something I’m glad about. In any case here I am starting my new path!
Normally I don’t get upset and go on Rants, but today I’m going to. Right now, my 61-year-old Mom is sick, she’s at home with a fever. She’s not sure what’s causing that fever and she can’t afford to find out, because she doesn’t have health care. WE NEED MEDICARE FOR ALL. People shouldn’t have to choose between paying the bills and going broke because they are sick. I’m in my current condition because I couldn’t afford health care before we had the Affordable Care Act, and I ended up not being diagnosed for a very long time, then when I was I couldn’t afford to keep getting my bloodwork drawn and meds Adjusted. Now a bunch of people want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act instead of improving on it. I personally would gladly pay higher taxes to ensure that others never must suffer through making the tough choice of going to the doctor or paying bills.