While thyroid disease isn’t fun in a lot of ways, it’s a life changer for sure. Not all of those changes are bad if you don’t want them to be. Here’s my top ten things I’ve learned or discovered that were good things from having Graves’ disease.
- Don’t take your health for granted. Gone are the days when I dismiss my symptoms and try to work through them to the point of being very ill. Which leads me to..
- I know my own body. I now know my own body better than most people. I know if what I’m feeling means I’m coming up with a cold, allergies or if my thyroid levels are a little off and it helps me react accordingly.
- Priorities are made more clear. My priorities have been made very plain to me. No longer do I just do something that I don’t want to do solely to please others unless it is what I want as well. If I attend a party, it’s because I want to. I don’t have so much extra energy anymore I can waste it on things that do not matter to me. This is a great gift to give yourself, it helps you clear up a lot of clutter in your life.
- I have become my own advocate for my health. Since I spent so long being misdiagnosed and then afterwards saw so many doctors who knew less than me about my own disease, I have learned to speak up. I have learned it is ok to question your doctor, find out WHY they want to do or not do a certain thing in my treatment. It is my body and I have to speak up for it’s health.
- Research skills have improved. I have learned how to do research on medical matters. Learning how to pick out the hype and patently wrong information that is out there, from the partially correct, and the spot on medical information out there is something I’ve become better at. There is a lot of good information, and there is a lot of crap out there. Learning how to spot things that could be dangerous if you follow them is very valuable. It hones your critical thinking skills to the maximum.
- No matter what is thrown at me, I’m still here. I have learned that if something hasn’t killed me, it really has made me stronger. I have been through a lot of health emergencies, including an allergic reaction that put me into shock and almost killed me. I have survived them all. I am stronger than I realize and I now know to keep reminding myself of that when bad times hit.
- Everything will eventually pass. Maybe it only passes for a short time, maybe a long time, but nothing lasts forever. That applies to positive and negative experiences. The thyroid disease may go on, but you won’t have every single day be bad. This also helps me to try to hold on to the good that happens and cherish it before it goes as well.
- Relationships change and that is ok. I have learned who is a true friend, who really cares about me, by who has stuck by me when my health has been at the worst. When my thyroid has made me deal with Graves’ rage, irritability temporarily and people have still stuck by me, knowing that it would pass, that means something. I have developed loyalty to those who have stayed by me and support me through whatever happens. Some of them will read this, you know who you are. I don’t have fair weather friends anymore, and I don’t have family who doesn’t know how to be family to me. The people I surround myself with me are loyal, honest and caring people and I am very thankful for that lesson.
- Growing up was a must. I had to learn how to take care of myself, only accept responsibilities I was sure I could follow through on, and learn how to deal with all situations as an adult. I can’t afford to sit around and whine or cry all the time and do nothing. I have to take matters in my own hands and find ways to deal with them. This has made me search for answers when before the diagnosis I would not have. I have created a better life for myself.
- New Experiences. I would never have thought to start a thyroid support group, or website, or a blog before this. I would never have been motivated to reach out to people in several different states in the US and countries around the world to find out how others are dealing with their thyroid disease. Having thyroid disease has broadened my world, and made me more understanding and compassionate of my fellow human being. That is a great gift for anyone!