Story, explanation, opinion
Since I’ve been mentioned on FB a few times recently (including my work, my books and articles), I feel obliged to provide some kind of detailed explanation and information hereby.
Yes, I’ve been diagnosed 12 years ago (2003) with Graves’ disease, hyperthyroidism, and Thyroid eye disease.
Yes, I was declared “euthyroid” by many doctors, for 11 years in a row now (blood tests confirming that).
Yes, I have NO symptoms whatsoever and ALL my antibodies are completely within the normal ranges.
Yes, my Thyroid eye disease is reversed completely and my eyes are totally normal. The picture on the side is just from 2 months ago. Practically, I am considered a healthy person and if a doctor doesn’t know that I’ve been sick in the past, they’ll never guess that I’ve had any thyroid problem whatsoever.
You can call this “in remission” or “cured”, as you prefer, I really don’t care. But as a psychotherapist, I know that words matter. If I use “in remission”, that means that I’m somewhat expecting to go out of “remission” and eventually become sick again at some point. If I say “cured” that will mean (at least for me) that I consider my disease a “past”, that I’ve understood why I became sick on a first place and I took the necessary steps to correct my life (lifestyle, diet etc.), chose to be healthy, and accordingly, to do everything possible to stay healthy (which I am doing).
Yes, it’s true that some of my books were last updated 2012. That’s only because the scientific research hasn’t advanced much in the past years (I’m subscribed to all thyroid research worldwide). Graves’ disease was discovered 150 years ago (1835) and Hashimoto’s disease in 1912. Yet, the medicine and science haven’t advanced at all for 150 years and so far know and apply only 3 methods for treating Graves’ disease: RAI, surgery /thyroidectomy/ and anti-thyroid drugs. These 3 methods target the thyroid and thyroid hormones ONLY, not the cause of Graves’ disease, which is the confused, malfunctioning auto-immune system. RAI and surgery, accordingly can not fix it and they are not reversible. This is the reason why I am personally against these methods, but of course, I totally respect other choices.
It took me almost 10 years of research to realize that my own hypothesis, t.e. life- style changes, stress management, diet, vitamins, supplements and herbs that help and modulate the auto-immune system response ARE NOT enough and there is a deeper reason why we get sick with thyroid autoimmune disorder. All mentioned hereby helped hundreds of people but did not help ALL of them, or helped them partially.
I realized that fact after many of my own clients, after going into a “remission” (as you prefer), will develop another autoimmune disorder (Diabetes 1, Rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus- you name it), or will continue to have symptoms regardless of their thyroid tests (claiming them euthyroid). I also realized that autoimmune disorders like Graves’ disease must be approached in paralel on many levels- physical symptoms, origin of the disease and psychological aspects.
I have to dig deeper in the available scientific research for the past 100- 150 years and come up with a better hypothesis about WHY certain people get sick with autoimmune disorders like Graves’ and others don’t? Why some of us can get better and others won’t? Why gluten- free and lactose- free diet will work for some and not for others? Why have some people mixed symptoms, why some people with hyperthyroidism are gaining weight and others are losing? Why some people with Hashimoto’s disease will have not hypo, but hyper symptoms (when Hashimoto’s is considered a primary reason for hypothyroidism)? These were the questions that bothered me and still do at some level.
The research I found was, in fact, almost 100 years old, most of the articles were just scanned and practically not available to the public (many paid scientific databases will keep research up to 50-80 years ago). But some of the answers were there. I came up with a better understanding and a better hypothesis. I wrote my last book called “Mental, Emotional and Psychological aspects of thyroid disorders” (2014). Maybe it’s not perfect again, but I am still alive and I am still working on the subject of thyroid disorders. Now I’m doing my own research (you’re all welcome to participate) and I’m presenting my hypothesis/work on different conferences, related to body-mind psychotherapy. It continues to be a work in progress.
Speaking of which, I don’t believe that doctors are useless or corrupted, or not interested in the health of their patients. There are doctors that shouldn’t be in this profession, but the majority of them do their best, to the best they know how, to help their patients. If they are open minded or not for complementary and alternative methods, is another story.
I know one thing for sure: our health is our own responsibility, not theirs. They, including myself, are in the “helping profession”, i.e. we are trying to help. But we can’t, without your help. And I’m sorry to say that, but there are people, regardless of what they declare, that do not want to be helped. They subconsciously want to be sick, no matter what they say. Unfortunately, being sick will be their only way to deal with an extremely unbearable life situation/conditions. And accordingly, they’ll do nothing to help their own health but complain and whine. Of course, they don’t do that intentionally and I don’t believe they realize that fact at all.
Others will make their health a priority, and change everything that’s not working. These are the only people who will heal/cure/go in remission.
We are so unique and different, and one prescription can never be applied to all of us, “one size can’t fit all”, especially when it comes to health. So, choose wisely.
My suggestion: stay with what you believe and feel is the best for you and your health.
ex-Graves’ disease patient
MA in Counseling psychology