Grateful for Graves Disease – A Surprising Xmas Present

carla coulson loc boyle

Me fooling around at Bondi by Loc Boyle

Gosh.. I have been meaning to say hello for the longest time and to wish you all a fabulous 2014 but something has kept me from the computer.

After living through an exciting week of my book launch in early December in Sydney and meeting so many gorgeous people, finishing the Get Published Workshop and meeting more gorgeous people I finally found some time to get a couple of things I wanted done including a blood test.

So when I received an urgent call telling me to come to the doctors on Christmas Eve I knew something was up (yeah.. I had already received a copy of the blood test and was onto Dr. Google with the results).

Seems I had something with the terrible name of Graves Disease, an auto-immune disease that attacks your thyroid and makes your heart race (even when hubby isn’t around) and your hands shake and lots of other symptoms you check out here. I clocked in at 11 on a scale where you need just 2 to be positive.

The doctor being doctors scare the crap out of you, tell you you have no choice but a lifetime of medicine and you MUST take it otherwise you could risk a thyroid storm (gees just the sound of this brought Steve Speilberg images to my head of guys arriving in white suits with kalashnikovs to attack my poor defenseless thryroid).

But you see I had already been onto Dr. Google and I had questions of my own, what about changing my diet? what about checking my vitamin levels? am I deficient in anything? etc etc.. A big straight NO was responded and I was escorted to the door.

And by the way I wasn’t feeling THAT bad..well I at least felt confident those storm troopers weren’t on the way over.

Gees.. Merry Christmas Carla!

But here are the reasons I am grateful for my unusual Christmas present.

Grateful to live in this internet age and for the people out there and the information they are sharing about their stories and alternative solutions like Sarah Wilson. Sarah who offers tonnes of tips and advice and also talks to the marvellous Andrea Beaman who ate her way back to good health.

I am grateful for sites like Weston A. Price and even the heavy breathing Dr Johnson (a little salesy at times) and his almost 2 hour video that walks you through Auto-immune and how to heal your body naturally. To friends who told me about Nourishing Traditions an incredible book by Sally Fallon that talks about the studies of Weston A Price and offers create recipes and tips.

Their information gave me the courage to say NO to the medication and to call a naturopath at Newton’s Pharmacy, one of Sydney’s oldest herbalists. The naturopath wasn’t even slightly alarmed, she changed my diet, no gluten, no lactose, no sugar, no coffee, no tea, no stimulants, no alchohol (you getting the picture) but loads of good fats and proteins and whole foods (I had almost been exclusively vegetarian for the best part of 5 years cause I intensely dislike the industrialisation of animals) and she said to have regular blood tests to see what happens. Wonderful herbal supplement to get my intestine working again and lots of food state vitamins. Oh and the really good news was I was told to sit in the sun and eat lots of organic butter. That’s when I started to like this condition!

Here’s the funny thing, I thought I was eating well, lots of pulses and rice, veges, fruit and salads and all of it organic but almost no fats.

I went to see my favourite acupuncturist and more good news, there were things that could be done.

But the wellness package (if I didn’t want to take the drugs) included me changing the way I do things, slowing down, having time out and giving my body and mind time to regenerate and heal itself instead of rushing onto the next thing. I was part of the problem and the way I do things.

So I pulled out the plug (literally) no dinner outs, no running around the city instead I swam, slept and learnt to meditate.

Within 3 weeks I was almost sympton free, even i was shocked. I learnt there were things that could trigger it off like SUGARY fruits (Sarah Wilson and her I Quit Sugar program is onto something) and indoor heated chlorinated Parisian pools.

You are probably wondering why I am telling you this? January is Thyroid Awareness Month and so I thought I would share my story in the case that any of you out there are in a similar boat and as confused as I was when I walked out the doctor’s door.

Also I ask forgiveness if I haven’t got back to you in the past month..

I am grateful to have had a wake-up call when I had always PROMISED myself to change things but never seemed to turn the corner or get to the bottom of the washing basket of tasks to do.

I am grateful for photography that is my balm, my meditation and one of the things that I love most in life and I look forward to a wonderful year of photos, memories and great people.

Thanks for coming along for the ride and I look forward to sharing lots of photography and tips with you in 2014.

Wishing you great health, happiness and photos..

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

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Rupert's Mum
Rupert's Mum
7 years ago

Very pleased to hear you are well. Make sure you take care of yourself. I can relate to jumping into the next project. Stopping, reflecting and taking time out are skills I am working on. x

Sarah Hudson
7 years ago

OMG – I just had a blood test and a phone call from the doc because I have hyperthyroidism. I have to have an ultrasound on my thyroid to see what’s going on. I know the symptoms we’ll – thought I must be have the DT’s or something really horrible! Like you I want to see what I can do naturally before I start taking any little white pills. Thank you SO much for all the links- I’ll check them out. Can’t believe you and I have been going through the same thing at the same time. Hugs! Xxx

Sarah Hudson
7 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Thanks. Bit nervous about the ultrasound. Yes, john was all set for major surgery tomorrow ( intensive care, morphine pumps, colostomy etc) but a few hours later the surgeon came in and said the biopsy showed no cancer so he didn’t have to have it. Talk about a roller coaster! So glad you’re on top of things and I’ll definitely be in touch if that’s ok. Stay we’ll and stay resting . PS didn’t realise about chlorinated indoor swimming pools – I’ve been swimming a few times a week. Weird! X

Carolyn Menadue
Carolyn Menadue
7 years ago

Dearest Carla, What a journey and great news about your encouraging progress! Sometimes the body gives us a wake-up call. I guess this was yours. I’m beginning to wonder whether we should all be gluten free. Just had a family farewell tonight for Felicity who’s heading home tomorrow. Sending you all our love. C xxx

Debra Kolkka
7 years ago

I am pleased to hear you are feeling well and staying off the drugs. Keep up the good work.

Pamela Bates/Mercantile Muse

Hi Carla, well,that is some sort of present. But glad you can see the good. it did force you to slow down and enjoy the ride, and now you’re armed with knowledge and already making a difference to yourself. i’ll have to check out all your links as i have psoriasis (also an auto immune disease) and I have no desire either to take any medication beyond the topical i use. and it would be great not to have to use that either. it can be quite nervewracking so if there is someway to change things on my own and make it more bearable, sure would be great. thanks for sharing.

Ann
Ann
7 years ago

Hi Carla,
So interested to read this. I too have just found out through a routine blood test that I have a problem with my thyroid. Doc says that it is inflamed but all should be well. I too have been very grateful for the internet for all the help there and have changed my diet (gluten free etc). Will now copy you and sit in the sun and eat organic butter. (Not at the same time!). Wishing you lots of future good health. Ann

Kate Mitchell
Kate Mitchell
7 years ago

Hi Carla,
Snuck back onto Facebook and saw this tonight. I am a huge believer in we are what we eat. (I do not always adhere!) I have seen a naturopath on and off since I was 18. I am really happy you are back feeling better! I hope 2014 is a great year for you! Stammi bene bella Carla! Un grande abbraccio! Ciao Kate

Margaret Hogan
7 years ago

Hey Carla,
I was diagnosed with Graves in 2005. PM me if you like. I took the meds for about 11 months. After one month I felt like I’d stepped out of a fog. Hadn’t realised how bad I’d been. Went into complete remission till 2011 when out of the blue it flared up again after I lost my mum. Again on Neomercazole- but just for a month. It was like an aberration. No naughty antibodies afterwards – the tell tale thing you’re looking for. I still have blood tests fairly regularly. What I would be more anti than the meds is thyroid removal or radiation. Not till you’ve tried everything anyway. Funnily enough I bought Sarah’s book today 🙂 Anyway take care. I found it very helpful to keep a diary of how I was travelling. Made it easier to answer the doctors’ questions if asked because you forget. x

Margaret Hogan
7 years ago
Reply to  Carla

No it’s gone Carla. Sorry, I didn’t make that very clear. I just had this brief episode after Mum died. Thought it was grief (and it was) but it just wouldn’t pass. Turned out the Graves had resurfaced. But after a month on Neomercazole my levels were back to normal and the specialist in Sydney just put it down to stress. An aberration. No sign of it since. No antibodies. So what I was getting at is that when you first get that diagnosis and think it might all be bad news, it may not be. I try very hard thesedays not to get myself wound up about things. Not easy but I try. With the diary … I’m assuming they’ll want fairly regular blood tests. Keep a record. While they’re looking at numbers I found it useful to monitor the sweet spot or the zone where I felt best. This has reminded me that I’m overdue for a blood test. Take care. Don’t work too hard! Hugs to you xx

Felicity Menadue
Felicity Menadue
7 years ago

Dearest Carla,
I was given the same Christmas present two years ago, only mine was hypothyroidism (or Hashimotos). It came as quite a shock as I too thought I had a healthy lifestyle and didn’t really have the classic symptoms. Like you, I began researching madly and immediately made some lifestyle and dietary changes, such as eliminating gluten, sugar and fluoride. It’s a slow process but I am making steady progress. I’m amazed at how many women have thyroid and auto-immune illnesses!
It sounds like you are already on the path to full recovery and I’m sure with your strength and determination you will turn it around. I look forward to hearing more about your positive achievements. With love and good health, Felicity xoxo

Felicity Menadue
Felicity Menadue
7 years ago
Reply to  Carla

Wonderful Carla, I’ll be waiting for you! It will be so lovely to see you again!! Un abbraccio forte

Parisbreakfast
Parisbreakfast
7 years ago

Another Hashimoto-off-the-charts here. Yet it all went away mysteriously why I don’t know. So glad for your positivity and proactive approach to go your own way and get such fast results is wonderful news.
The idea that indoor heated chlorinated Parisian pools maybe a source of illness is worrying ;( i’m addicted to them.
Keep well Carla
XxxCarolg

parisbreakfast
7 years ago
Reply to  Carla

No a case of heredity…my mom, sister and niece.

Natalie
7 years ago

Carla, dear, I’ve missed you so much! What a roller coaster. Happy that you’ve found the way out. Takes a lot of self discipline to follow through but thankfully rewarding. Please don’t ignore the regular check ups.

Wish you all the very best and leave Graves far behind.
Love you.

Peggy Braswell
7 years ago

Charla dearest with that attitude how can you miss + have missed you + take care of yourself + love that you are doing it without medication just diet. xxpeggybraswelldesign.com

Georgianna
7 years ago

Oh, Carla, what a shame you’ve had to go through this but you have really turned this into something positive that will be of great benefit to you. I’m very glad about that.

(I’ve been on a gluten, sugar and dairy free diet since the day after Christmas and the difference in how I feel is huge.)

Hope you are feeling better and better.

x

G

p. s. if you saw my message, I’m here in Paris now. Totally understand your need to relax and recharge. If not this time, next time. Now to refigure my shot lists for a week of rain! 🙂 xo

La Contessa
7 years ago

I have been GLUTEN FREE for about five years now…….I kept a diary of what I ate and then trips to the POTTY!Seems I have Celiac and I do believe I have had it for my whole life!With in three days I was a new person taking the GLUTEN away………another auto-immune issue!
SO, happy to see you in my inbox!Sounds like the trip was busy and full of NEWS!I hope the four legged beastie and your AMORE got my little Christmas box!
XX

A Gift Wrapped Life
7 years ago

Hello Carla,
So sorry to hear you have to deal with thyroid issues and so good of you to share. it really helps when everyone is open which leads to education. I have had Hashimotos (hypo) and been on medication since I was in my 30’s but it has been the past few year that it really went haywire with odd weight gain, fatique, hair loss, etc. It is the reason I have been on a blog hiatus. Luckily for me, my doctor son is home while he waits for residency news and has been an enormous help in getting me better. We research everything together. Under his guidance we started the Paleo diet just 9 days ago, I have lost 11 lbs if you can believe it (yes, in 9 days) and already feel so much better by eliminating gluten, diary. I am insisting that my docs change my meds to natural (I do have to take replacement thyroid) and I am sure that will help as well. Thyroid issues are tough, we tend to go along with not feeling great and it’s only when we start educating ourselves that we relize we can and should feel better. You have shared some wonderful links Carla, I refer to ThyroidMom quite a bit. All of them are so helpful and when I return to my blog this month one of my first posts will be about thyroid…………..so this is great if we can get the word out, especially for the many that are undiagnosed. Didn’t mean to go on so long! Feel better darling, see you this spring (we are booking for may and will want a family portrait) and you look great. Hugs xx

Tory
Tory
7 years ago

Very inspiring post Carla! Amazing how quickly you recognised that this diagnosis is a gift in disguise, it can sometimes take a long time to get to the place of embracing the new lifestyle regime and being grateful and accepting. Go Carla! It is also amazing the renaissance you can experience as a result. Two years ago i had a couple of phenomenal tachycardia incidents and instead of taking meds for my heart, i gave up all the stimulants/drugs (alcohol, cigarettes, herb, coffee, tea) i had been diligently consuming pretty much every day for 28 years. Hallelujah! The best way i can describe the change in my life is it’s like i was asleep those 28 years and then i woke up. The thing about all the detoxing is a lot of scary emotions can surface and what got me through the transitional months was Yoga. I hated it in the beginning, i used to get so angry during the practice and then i realised all the hateful emotions i was experiencing i had been smothering with drugs and were stuck in the stuck parts of my body and the healing was facing it all. Yoga helped me heal. Now you and your friends posts are inspiring me to tackle my issues with sugar and gluten. Thanks for the great links Carla, you are an amazing woman and if its possible you are going to be even more amazing after all of this! xxx

Linda
7 years ago

What a wonderful and positive, not to mention inspiring story. I wish you well….not that it sounds as though you will be needing it…lol! We all have or will have our struggles in life (health wise), but I love your attitude and I always believe that the way you look at these ‘medical hiccups’ (not to make light of yours) is sometimes the very best medicine.
Stay well….keep smiling……Linda x

sarah
7 years ago

Glad you are feeling better! You are so inspiring x

Meri Mancini
Meri Mancini
7 years ago

Hi Carla, I have sent your story to my daughter as she has Grave’s also. She takes no medication unless she has a change in a Thyroid function. I’m sure she’ll find your account very interesting so Thankyou for sharing.