September 2016, I enrolled at the University of Brighton to start my degree, to drop out only 2 months later. This difficult decision came when I became extremely ill and was bed bound for 2 weeks, sleeping all day everyday. I was admitted into hospital for tests, ultrasound scans etc. To be told just a week before Christmas that I have Hyperthyroidism with goitre and Thyroid Eye Disease (TED). The Hyperthyroidism is caused by Grave's Disease, which is an autoimmune disease. Hyperthyroidism has many symptoms such as weight loss, palpitations, extreme tiredness, shakiness and nervousness, all of which I am still suffering with. Due to TED the muscles and tissue behind my eyes have become inflamed, causing my eyes to be pushed forward and look swollen constantly. It has also meant that occasionally my eyes are not in line with each other so I sometimes suffer with double vision. This causes me daily pain and has been extremely hard to come to terms with due to the change in appearance of my eyes. I have recently found out that many sufferers of TED are left with a permanent change usually in the physical appearance of their eyes, which is hard to hear at only 19 years of age, when it has already affected me dramatically in terms of self-esteem and confidence.
I became a member of The British Thyroid Foundation only a few weeks ago and I feel as though it is already helping me get back on track with my life. They have provided me with easy to understand leaflets about my condition, which have allowed me to make sense of what is going on in my body and why. In addition to this, I have access to support groups both in-person and online. Although I have a wonderful support group of family and friends around me, it has been really helpful to be in contact with people who are going through the same as me. Getting to know new people and read stories of other hyperthyroid and TED sufferers has helped me understand and accept my condition.
I have always been an active person, and have recently felt well enough to start exercising again. What better way to motivate myself than to sign up for a half marathon?!
I want to raise funds for the BTF to go towards their research into new treatments for sufferers of thyroid conditions. As well as raising money for the BTF, I also want to raise general awareness of thyroid conditions/disorders.
Thank you for taking the time to read my story. Please donate, big or small, everything helps. Thank you!