Melissa Soderholm, Thyroid Thrivers
34 years old
South Dakota, USA
Diagnosed in 2011
Graves Disease wasn’t something I was all too familiar with. Now it is a part of my daily life.
In 2011, I started feeling not myself and I could tell something was ‘off’. I was usually a very happy, hard-working, always-on-the-go, woman. At that point, I remember feeling tired, panicky, afraid to be around people and I had an unusually fast heart rate. Not to mention, I had this terrible fear that I was dying. Was I going crazy? It sure felt that way.
After visiting several doctors who thought I was working too hard or that it was all in my head…It was very frustrating and infuriating, all at the same time. Eventually, I found a wonderful doctor who listened to me. He actually listened and heard me. He made me feel like what I was going through was not uncommon. This was of course, a new experience for me after so many wasted office visits to doctors who didn’t get it. After extensive testing, I was finally diagnosed with Graves Disease. Lucky me!
Unfortunately, I had to go through radiation treatments. Now, like so many millions of thyroid sufferers, such as those, like myself, with Graves disease, I will be taking medication for the rest of my life. I do still battle anxiety and depression although, thankfully, it is not as bad as it used to be. Oftentimes, I catch myself struggling with being able to accept the new, thyroid world I live in.
Living the way I used to live, before my Graves disease diagnosis, is like an intangible dream. A life I cannot have anymore; the thought is difficult to surrender to. Not dwelling on the negative things and remaining positive, is part of my character and who I am. So, I am just moving forward and taking each day as it comes, happily.
Even with all the ups and downs and struggles I’ve endured, I try to stop and remind myself that I have come a long way. My 3 amazing children are my rock and keep me going. Especially since my husband couldn’t handle me and my illness and ended up walking out on our family. I am raising them all on my own. I have to be strong for them. It hasn’t been easy but I am doing the very best I can. I am a Thyroid warrior and soon to be THRIVER! I have Graves Disease, but it does not have me!
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