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Journey to Perfect Health *Part 1*

I was first diagnosed with Graves Disease (an auto-immune disorder which causes the thyroid to become over active, also known as hyperthyroidism) in December 2005, although looking back - my symptoms started way before... Terrible mood swings, with totally unreasonable behaviour, intolerance to heat, profuse sweating, constant hunger, weight loss, muscle weakness & palpitations. It all came on so gradually at first, that I hardly noticed it!

It wasn't until I was out Christmas shopping in Truro on a freezing cold day, stripped down to a T-Shirt & sweat dripping off my nose - that alarm bells suddenly kicked in... That night we did some research on the internet: either I was going through an early menopause or I had hyperthyroidism, another symptom was suggested in the research... A goitre (when the thyroid becomes enlarged), we had a look at my neck & sure enough there was a swelling - why hadn't I noticed it before? I had choked a few times while eating & put it down to scoffing my food too quickly as I was always hungry, but as I eventually discovered - my thyroid had swelled so much that it was wrapped around my neck & squeezing my wind pipe...

My GP recognised straight away that I had 'classic' hyper symptoms, on top of everything else - she noticed that my eyes were beginning to bulge, which made her certain I had Graves! My blood results confirmed she was right......SHIT!!!

Why me? How can this be? I've been vegetarian for many years & I eat really healthily! I can't possibly have a serious illness...

My life then entered a dream state & I was in a panic (another bloody awful symptom), I was handed beta-blockers & antithyroid drugs & told to get on with it & they would see me again in a month. In the meantime, I was referred to an endocrinologist. After more research, I decided not to take the drugs, but instead ordered some herbal tinctures from Neal's Yard: Bugleweed, Lemon Balm & Motherwort. About two weeks later, I started to calm down & was then able to look into why I had it - was it the Spirulina (blue-green algae or green slime to our friends!) I'd been taking most days for years, was it the Kelp (seaweed) tablets I had taken some months before, was it hereditary? I went back to the GP to ask these questions & to tell her that I wasn't going to take the drugs for now. She pointed out that it was very dangerous not to take the drugs & it may lead to me having a thyroid storm (severe symptoms which can be fatal, as the heart can fail). I asked if they would continue to monitor my bloods, etc & she agreed to do so. She had no answers to my questions - other than it usually is hereditary, but I didn't know of any relative who had had a thyroid condition...

Next up - the uplifting appointment with the endocrinologist's underling! He was such a dreadful, patronising git; I very nearly caved in & surrendered! The department had received a letter from my GP, saying I was refusing treatment & my blood results were still reading that I was hyper. I explained what I was doing & that unlike conventional medicine (which would have calmed my system down within days, while filling my body with toxic crap), herbal treatment is a much more gentle approach - so consequently takes longer to see good results, but levels were dropping a little - so I was happy! Well, he then laid into me - Did I have any medical training? Was I aware of the damage I was doing - putting off the only recognised treatment? And then came the real gem (which I wished we'd recorded): If I loved my Husband & Children, then I would do the right thing!!! What a bastard! He played on my fragile state & reduced me to a quivering wreck... He's very lucky though, because even after treating me like some dog shit he'd stepped on - I saved his life... My lovely, gentle Husband was with me & was suddenly looking like a man preparing to kill! I managed to pull myself together & somehow got us out of the clinic without any violence taking place... Phew!

It was at this point (3 months after my diagnosis), that I decided to seek out professional help & I managed to find a lovely, medically trained herbalist called Claire...

*To be continued*

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