Body Changes: The Grave Truth Part 2

Nikita Camacho Hearts in Her Shoes Mommy and Lifestyle Blogger Grave's Disease
“Will we have another one?” Photo by: Jenna Storey Photography
15 December 2017

“Hello, Mrs Teixeira this is Dr K”

I held the phone tightly to my ear as the wind ravaged around us in the parking lot. I wasn’t expecting my endocrinologist’s phone call until 6 pm that evening.

My mind was fuzzy, mixed with anxiety and antibiotics pre-empting what her call would be about.

As you would’ve read in Body Changes: The Grave Truth Part 1, I was battling Graves’ Disease. Since that post, I really took charge of my health and found a better endocrinologist. One that preferred treatment to control the thyroid as opposed to obliterating the thyroid which in theory does not get rid of Grave’s disease. 

Building up to the moment, I battled with symptoms such as extreme fatigue, heart palpitations, hand tremors, hair loss, dry skin, double-vision, receding eyelids to name a few. 

This endocrinologist is thorough. 

She recommended that I see an ophthalmologist at the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre that specialises in Graves’ Disease as my eyes were giving me problems. My eyes looked glassy, I’d blink excessively due to the dryness and suffered from light sensitivity. At night, I couldn’t close my eyelids properly so the ophthalmologist scheduled my surgery to fix my receding eyelids.

Despite being on treatment for a year, I received the best news.

“Mrs Teixeira, I am happy to inform you that your blood-work looks great and you can stop the treatment because you are in remission”.

“Remission”, a word I wasn’t sure that I’d ever hear but I had to put my faith elsewhere, besides modern-day medicine. 

Also the issues with my eyes dissipated quickly so the surgery was cancelled.

23 January 2018

At my next appointment, my specialist pointed out the next part of my “treatment” which included very little stress, a healthy lifestyle and 

The next goal was to stay in remission for at least a year because of the statistics of 2 out of 3 patients relapsing. Staying in remission would be best for my health and to eventually start trying for a second baby.

So it wasn’t the time to stress, which I did a little every month after my blood tests to check my TSH, and T4 levels of my thyroid. 

Nikita Camacho Hearts in Her Shoes Mommy and lifestyle blogger Graves' disease

23 March 2019 

I had passed my remission’s first anniversary with flying colours. The specialist was happy and the blood tests had gradually decreased to biyearly.  She was happy to announce that we could try for another baby.

It was a bit of a shock! The time of waiting had finally ended. As a family, we could officially try for baby number two.

She listed the importance of biweekly blood tests in the volatile stage for the thyroid  which is the first 16 weeks of pregnancy. She explained the pros and cons of relapsing during pregnancy. She explained case studies of ladies being fine throughout their pregnancy and some not such great news. It would be considered a high-risk pregnancy.

At the time I was studying (again) so I thought I’d wait until the second half of 2019.  I wanted to mull over the idea and discuss all the factors with my husband.

 30 November 2019 

I wasn’t feeling well so it was a toss-up between a relapse and a pregnancy. I was freaking out if it was relapse because I’d have to start again with treatment and pause our baby plans. 

The blood results were not necessarily up to scratch in terms of my thyroid, I hadn’t relapsed but the endocrinologist and the gynaecologist would liaise with one another as it would be considered a high-risk pregnancy and I have to monitored closely.

24 December 2019

It wasn’t the Christmas that we planned for.

6 November 2020 

After surviving a tumultuous year of emergency surgery, COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns, I managed to get an appointment with my endocrinologist as it was close to a year since I had my check-up. 

Two weeks prior I went to my gynaecologist to discuss the future prospect of expanding our family with “half my plumbing” I joked. She just advised that we keep trying for a year then see what’s the next step but in the meantime, all womanly parts looked great sans one tube, no cysts, no issues.

After the trauma of January 2020, the endocrinologist expressed her shock that I didn’t relapse despite what happened. 

She showed me the comparison of my blood results from December 2019, January 2020, September 2020, and October 2020.  At first, I wondered where the differences were? She pointed out how she was impressed by how my body managed to “correct itself” after the surgery in January.

In terms of trying for a baby again, Doctor being the meticulous, incredible specialist that she is, explained all the scenarios. Statistics of whether I’d relapse or not remain rather slim to nothing because of the progress so far if I fall pregnant naturally.

Nikita Camacho Hearts in Her Shoes Mommy and lifestyle blogger Graves' disease
7 months pregnant with Adriana

The next big question came. 

“If you struggle to fall pregnant, will you explore fertility treatments or IVF?”, she asked curiously.

I explained to her that despite desperately wanting to have another baby, “I don’t think it’s a good idea”.

I could see that she was relieved and explained how it would be detrimental to my health and my overall progress by throwing additional hormones into the mix. She strongly advised against it.

Before you think it’s crazy, hear me out. 

I already do have my daughter, she’s perfect to me, to our little family. 

My husband and I decided that my health comes first. I’ve improved over the years and would rather be a healthy mom to Adriana than restarting this journey again and chancing relapse.

What will be, will be.

Throughout my health journey over the years with Graves’ Disease, I’ve learned valuable lessons along the way

  • Trust your instincts 
  • Get a second or third opinion 
  • Do your research.
  • There’s no overnight fix to health 
  • Trust the Guy upstairs
  • Be grateful for your health 

When I feel down about it, I think about the lyrics,

 “I’m gonna sing, in the middle of the storm . Louder and louder, you’re gonna hear my praises roar, up from the ashes, hope will arise”

 

About Nikita Camacho

Nikita Camacho, a freelance writer navigating life as a working mom. Take a seat to enjoy authentic, amusing, mothering with this mommy and lifestyle blogger

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