I was diagnosed with Graves in January 1999. I didn't know then but I now realize that I have been one of the lucky ones who didn't get misdiagnosed and got help for my thyroid almost immediately. I had finally gone to see the doctor because of my headaches. They were terrible ones; I could hardly get up in the morning and was always late for work. My transport bills went up like crazy too since I started taking the cab everyday. Those precious few minutes more of sleep I got in the cab seemed like heaven to me but when I reached my office, I would promptly be able to fall flat asleep, given half a chance.
I was put on carbomizole and given propranolol for my racing heartbeats. Hearing the diagnosis wasn't so bad since I hadn't yet read up much about GD then. In fact, I was relieved to know that there was a disease since I was feeling really horrible and had thought myself to be psychosomatic.
In August that same year, I departed for my master's in the States. All was well the past 7 months; except for my weight gain, I felt much better. Of course, I was still feeling very very hot. A great bonus was when I got a free upgrade to Business Class from my economy class ticket because my doctor was kind enough to write a note stating my problems and my tendency to have anxiety attacks.
Fast forward to March 10th 2001. The past year and a half has been a wonderful experience. Besides the studying, I had a relationship in between my classes which ended just recently. Of course GD has something to do with it. My boyfriend found it really difficult to put up with my mood swings and accused me unfairly of being a hypochondriac!! For the record, I had always been fairly healthy b4 GD and my friends can back me up when I say that I am not, repeat, not a hypochondriac. Still, sometimes I don't blame him. After all, he had to put up with endless fever bouts, coupled with joint pain, racing heartbeats and my continued weight gain. Even I didn't like myself much then.
Today is 3/28/01 and the past three weeks have been hell. I had vomited some blood twice b4 realizing that I could be ill and saw a doctor. The symptoms sounded like plain gastric until the doc decided to prod my stomach and listen to it. She felt an abdominal mass with its own heartbeat (pulsatile abdominal mass) and got all excited. Another doctor cam in and listened to this interesting noise b4 pronouncing that I had to see a general surgeon in the hospital immediately. I was given the appt the nest day. You can imagine my anxiety then. The surgeon prodded me again, and pronounced against the other doctor's pronouncement: he didn't think it was a real pulsatile mass but to be on the safe side, I was told to have a CT scan of the abdominal region. I did that the next week and for the next 48 hours, harassed my doctor's secretary for the results. Finally my doctor calls at 5:20pm with the report. There are no tumors seen (I did a little skip), I have some small gallstones (there goes my diet of butter cookies, buttered bread and eggs!) and my lymph nodes are slightly swollen. Overall, he says, I look healthy enough. To follow up on the gallstones, I was to see a gastroenterologist and he would make the appt. for me.
To cut a long story short, I saw the "gastroenterologist", who turned out to be only a GP (!) who, by the way, had to call my other doctor to find out exactly what the hell she was seeing me for. So, we sat down and she read through my CT scan report in front of me. Slowly looking up, she said, "There were many swollen lymph nodes found in your abdominal region and to quote from the report, too many to be considered normal." I was dumbfounded and could only stare at her. The singular thought running through my mind was, Wasn't I pronounced normal already?? Isn't it only the gallstones you're seeing me for??? Her next statement was to scare me into further shock. It could be nothing, but we have to be careful because the worst thing could be lymphoma. What was I to say?
The present status with me is, I have a relapse of GD, tested positive for TB and my liver enzyme (alkaline phosphostase) is elevated. The swollen lymph nodes? Still a mystery. I am scheduled for another CT scan in May and by then, the nodes should be either normal or swollen greatly enough for me to show some other kind of reaction. As my doctor loves to say, we can only wait and see.