I’m sick. Not that you’d know it to look at me.
In May 2016 I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. Good name that. Tells you exactly where you’re going.
Graves is an autoimmune disease where your body develops antibodies that attack your thyroid. But they attack it in such a way that it makes your thyroid work harder.
This affects everything. It makes your heart beat faster, your digestive system work faster, your body heat up more, and so on, and so on.
It means you can’t rest. You can be sitting on the couch, or lying in bed and even sleeping, but your heart is beating like you’re running a race. So you become very tired.
And you eat like there’s no tomorrow because your body is using up everything that you put into it.
And your brain! It starts working faster too. You become anxious about everything and you can’t stop working because it all needs to be done and it-all-needs-to-be-done-right-now.
You start to feel like you’re going crazy.
So like I said, I was diagnosed with this in May of 2016, and I was immediately given medicine, and the symptoms went away (though I personally had trouble stopping all the overeating). And you simply wouldn’t know I was sick.
But the antibodies are still there. So every six weeks or so I have a blood test to make sure that my thyroid hormone levels are within the limits they should be, and every three or so months we check on the antibodies to see if they’ve decreased. That’s another blood test.
My antibodies have decreased, but not quite enough, so we’ll be doing some fun stuff to fix the problem ‘definitively’ as my specialist says. Basically kill my thyroid gland. But you’ll hear about that later in the year.
What I wanted to say today was that it hit me how blessed I am to be in a country where the government is paying for all the blood tests I’ve had. Where I can go into a clean and safe place, and I have the choice of pathology centres so I can choose one that is convenient for whatever I happen to be doing that day, and I can have my blood taken quickly and easily (and mostly painlessly). The blood goes to a trustworthy laboratory and the results are available within the week.
All this is just amazing. A blessing beyond compare.
So yes, I’m sick. But I’m so grateful for the blessings in this country that mean that my illness is no more than a slight inconvenience.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the world could work together to provide this kind of healthcare and safety to others? To the poor and needy?
On this International Women’s Day I am so aware of the women who can’t give birth safely, who can’t feed their families, who work themselves to the bone from age 5 or so to feed their parents and siblings, who have to carry water for kilometres in order to drink and cook with it. In short, all those who are so much worse off than me.
I encourage you today, if you can, to give a little – a few dollars, a coffee’s worth, to help some women somewhere in the world, and we’ll see if we can’t make this world a better place.