Hello, everybody. Thanks for
coming on over to learn about me...and the mystery disease!
By the time I was eight years
old, I had broken about 12 bones, my hair was falling out, and I was tired
all the time. I live in Japan, and since nobody there seemed to know what
was going on, including the doctors, I was sent to Hawaii to go to the
Pink Hospital. At least that was MY name for it, since it was pink and
very large. Forget about beaches. When I spent MY six weeks there, I was
too busy being poked and prodded, because I had about a zillion tests.
So mainly the time seemed like a total and complete HELL!
Well, by the time I got to
third grade, the mystery was solved. The doctors told me that I had something
called Graves Disease. This is a medical problem that has to do with a
part of the body called the thyroid gland. Bet you didn't know that you
even had one of those, right? It's the part of you that gives you your
energy, among other things. The doctors told me that I needed to have all
of the tests because Graves Disease is rare in younger kids. They wanted
to be sure of the diagnosis.
I ended up taking this stuff
called radioactive iodine. Doesn't that sound scary? Like I must glow in
the dark now? Well, I don't. What it's supposed to do is to stop the thyroid
gland from sending out so much hormone, so that I would feel normal again.
But instead, when I got back to Japan, I couldn't walk or anything. I reminded
myself of a slug - lazy and always tired. But I just couldn't help the
way that my body felt-my thyroid still wasn't working right. Because it
was six months into the year when I went to Hawaii, by the time I returned
and tried to go back to school, I was too tired to walk, to sit in my seat,
or actually to do just about anything! The first day back at school the
kids thought that I must have some kind of contagious illness. So they
said that I had AIDS, and I didn't have many friends after that. I was
Because there were only a few
months of school left, I finally just gave up and stayed home for the rest
of the year. I became a loner, watching Oprah every day and eating packs
of gum and bags of pop corn with my mom. Then I started to gain weight.
Everyday it was like putting on 12 pounds. I tried really hard to diet
and to do physical activity but nothing seemed to work. Now kids didn't
call me AIDS girl. They called me FAT girl. It made me feel horrible about
myself. I was so embarrassed it was hard to even go out of my house.
Come with me to see what happened