After a couple months of badgering my weird primary doctor to do a complete work up of my blood he finally conceded... and then 24 hours later called me in a panic to tell me how wacky my hormone levels came back and sent me to an even wackier Endocrinologist (endo) in the middle of upstate New York.
The endo (who received his MD from the University of Baghdad) sat me down to describe my levels and started asking me about other symptoms.
Heart racing: Yes.
Anxiety: Yup-- but mostly associated that with moving to Manhattan
Insomnia: No, never have had that problem. I fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow (or couch)
Excessive sweating: YES
Fatigue: all the time
Increased Appetite: is eating 6 bowls of cereal a day normal?
Weight loss: I wish, but maybe not enough to consider it a symptom
Then he made me do the hand tremor test by resting a piece of paper on the back of my hand with my palm facing the floor, and it started to shake-- mostly because the air conditioning was on full blast.
After the tremor test I followed his pen around the room with my eyes... then he got really close to my face and said "Just as I expected, your eyes are starting to bulge...and you're breathing like an obese pregnant woman."
Now that he got me good and scared he proceeded to tell me what exactly he suspected I had. The endo described Graves' as an autoimmune disease... "Like when an American soldier kills another American soldier in Afghanistan, it's out of confusion, your body is confused." (Thanks Dr. Baghdad!)
The blood results showed the Thyroid hormone level producing three times the normal amount, and an ultrasound of the thyroid showed it was double the average size.
Now I knew why I was having so much anxiety and was so nervous about moving here!
Over the next few days I did a Radioactive Iodine uptake test.
Basically you just swallow a dose of radioactive iodine pills and are tested at 6 hours and 24 hours (by a something that kind of looks like an x-ray machine) to see how much of the iodine tracer is absorbed by the thyroid gland. The results produced from this test reaffirm the blood test and give greater insight into what kind of treatment is needed.
Graves' disease is typically caused by stress or postpartum after pregnancy. I never really feel stressed so I'm thinking it's the latter. Now I just need to get all my hormones with in normal range and I'll be feeling great and won't have a resting heart rate of 116.
At this point I don't want to take my thyroid out or radiate it to death because I don't want to take thyroid hormones for the rest of my life (and perhaps have another doctors opinion!) So we are trying another option of taking anti-thyroid medication everyday to try and shrink the size of the gland and to reduce production. That was all diagnosed the two days before we drove to New York City. I'm feeling great and I go back in 6 weeks for a follow up.