Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sometimes life throws you for a loop . . . and

It's hard not to kick and scream. It's hard not fight and push back. It's hard to sit back and watch the rest of the world continue moving and passing you by while you remain stuck in the soul-sucking mud.

But sometimes that's just the way it is.

When I left you all last, I was so happy to know my thyroid issues were resolving themselves. I was so happy to get back to living and quit worrying about one thing. Alas, it was not to be. I did end up going to see an endocrinologist. He did order a slew of new blood work. And I do, unfortunately, have Graves' disease. If you don't know what that is, basically, it's an autoimmune problem, which means the body attacks itself for some, often unknown, reason. In my case, and in the case of Graves', my immune system is attacking my thyroid. There is no known cure, although a whole lot of people will try to sell you something that promises to be one. There are lots of different treatment options, each with their own unique side effects and risks. I, thankfully, have been fortunate enough to have a mild case and am treating with medication for the time being. Most days I feel pretty good, although I tire easily and I get really, really hot easily too. And I feel scatterbrained and forgetful on a daily basis.

But the worst part, for me, is the anxiety. I feel panicked so often. I frequently catch myself having nightmares in the daytime, worrying and panicking about things that "might" happen. In reality, the possibility of many of them happening is incredibly remote. And I use that remote likelihood to reel myself back in. But still, it's hard. I struggle to differentiate between the anxiety/fear/panic and a true prompting, something that really does need to be acted upon. I have developed an appreciation of what those who suffer from agoraphobia live with. There are some days when I don't want to leave my house, because I am afraid of what might happen "out there," outside of my home. There are days when I have to force myself to get up and function. There are days when I force myself to leave my home and try to just live in the moment.

Then there is the added fear of the unknown of the disease itself. Having one autoimmune disease puts you at risk of developing the others, such as Type I diabetes, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. That's scary. I could develop thyroid eye disease (TED), which causes the eyes to bulge and gives the victim the appearance of being really frightened or startled, but all the time. That's scary. I could
experience a thyroid storm, which is life-threatening, or a skin condition related to Graves' disease. Or, if I manage to get pregnant, which will be harder with Graves' disease, I am at an increased risk of miscarriage, premature labor and stillbirth. All of that is scary. And it is hard not to get bogged down in the fear of it all. It's hard not to let the fear take over. It's hard to choose to live an active life, instead of a reactive-to-fear life.

And you know? Life is just flat-out hard sometimes. It's just the way life is. I whine and cry about it a lot. But then, I keep trying. I keep getting up and out. I keep pushing. I keep going for just one more day. Just one more foot in front of the other. Life is tough,  and life can get you down, but it doesn't have to keep you down. I don't have to stay down. Sure, I get knocked down a lot, several times a week, and sometimes I stay down for a spell. But I always get back up again. I may be bending down from the pressure, but I'm still standing.