Monday, August 6, 2007

ExpatJane: MIA

Hey everyone. I've pretty much been MIA for the last few days. I've mentioned before I've got Graves' Disease which is a thyroid disorder. Basically, my immune system successfully took out my pancreas years ago which makes me an insulin-dependent (ain't the one your granny got unless she's had it since childhood) diabetic and now is working on my thyroid...oh joy, oh rapture.

That means my hyperactive thyroid has now been medicated into a docile thyroid which leaves me exhausted almost all of the time (yep, I'll tell my doctor. In fact, I see him this week). Basically, my hyperthyroidism is now hypothyroidism and, to be honest with you, I think I was happier when I couldn't sleep versus now because I sleep I all the time.

It just means I'm being patient with myself, taking it easy and dealing with the exhaustion the best I can. It also makes me feel a bit better as I'm a bit too pleasantly plump than is usual right now.

So I know I've been tagged and the Eight Things You Don't Know About Me post is coming, but everything is working in slow motion for me right now. Plus, there are some interesting stories about Korea. It's just that now all I can do is bookmark them because just thinking about translating my thoughts to words truly exhausts me.

Just a little update on why there hasn't been much from me lately. However, now it's time to schlep to the kitchen and make dinner. I'm exhausted but I have a Korean class tonight, so I have to give myself enough time to grab a caffeine packed beverage en route to class.

A good article that explains the emotional components of this disease and how it's going to affect the person with it as well as family and friends: INFORMATION FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS. Hopefully, if you find this and you've got someone with Graves' Disease in your life, you can understand it better.

Mayo Clinic: Graves' Disease

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  1. take care of yourself, looking forward to more of your posts-

  2. Thanks.

    I just wanted to put it out there. I did the same thing in early March when I knew that work and school would give me virtually no time.

    Plus, it's my blog. If I can't blog about me from time to time then what egomaniacal purpose does it serve? ;-)

  3. Jane, you do sooooo much with your life despite your health challenges! I have new found respect for you :)

    Take care of yourself and be very careful, we're with you :)


  4. Thanks sweetie!

    You're in medical school over there, right?

    Well, the thing about autoimmune disorders is you look like everyone else, so I usually just don't talk about it because people are pretty clueless and only recognize the obvious.

    However, my blog and I can whine when I want! Yeah!

  5. Google is watching you.

    The antithyroid meds shouldn't make you too sleepy. Make sure they don't dose them based on TSH alone (fT3 is what matters) -- and read to learn how they should do it.

    Sapiosexual hey - hmm my IQ is 4 standard deviations above normal, I guess it isn't the size but what you do with it ;)

  6. Hi Simon...yeah, I know. It's amazing how many people find me via Google.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

    I'm on block and replace, but I've been dipping into hypothyroid symptoms even with just antithyroid drug therapy. I'm pushing my doc to add the Free T3 test too. I'll see him today. He did add the T3 test back at my insistance, but that's not as good as the Free T3 test.

    So you do know your stuff ;-) (Who is this Simon, she wonders? She also wonders how is the weather in the UK?)

    4 standard deviations? In statistics that means you're in a minute percentage of the population. I know in terms of quotients my lazy quotient is quite high ;-)

    You're the first person to pick up on or bother to read the intro. I changed it a few weeks ago and no one noticed. LOL...

  7. Hi,

    I definitely enjoy reading your blog, it is very unique and stands out from the pack. Continue to take care of yourself, you have my

    Stay Blessed,
    Stephanie from H-town

  8. Hello, Jane. I am a sapiosexual, too! Just listening to a smart man talk is enough to make me swoon.

    I really feel for you with your thyroid condition. A good friend of mine had a combination of Graves and Hashimoto's disease; another friend of mine had thyroid cancer; I've had to have four different thyroid biopsies for various suspected conditions (all benign, thank God), and finally, my husband has hypothyroidism, and like you he is often exhausted for no reason. All of this seemed to happen very quickly; seven years ago I was happily unaware I even had a thyroid gland.

  9. Hey Stephanie,

    Thanks. I won't be on hiatus for too long, I hope. I saw my doctor a day ago and he changed thyroid med dose.

    I'll get more energy soon, I'm sure. The challenge is to make sure I don't get too much.

  10. Hey Mary,

    hehehehe...I'm glad I'm in good company regarding the sapiosexual problem I have. The bigger problem is most smart guys have no idea how hot that is. A quick-witted guy, with preferably with glasses and a big vocabulary, I'm gone.

    See? Size does matter, but not in the way they think ;-)

    The same with me re having no real concept of a thyroid gland and what it did. I was so focused on my diabetes that this caught me completely off guard.

    I mean I had these sneaky weird symptoms and I was terrified that they were diabetic complications. I was also working in a small town and seeing a doctor at a local clinic who never ran bloodwork or even took my blood pressure. It was so blissfully easy that I got careless and didn't push for more care. When my eye started acting up his solution was to send me to an eye doctor down the road who was just as inept as he was and gave me eye drops. (Eye problems are a big sympton in untreated Graves' Disease). My acceptance of substandard care and his sheer neglect to take my vital signs would have eventually gotten me laid up in the hospital.

    Anyway, I eventually got myself to a endocrinologist in Seoul who figured it out. Again, I thought my diabetes was getting the best of me and blamed the other symptoms (not being able to sleep and staying up all night) on just being lazy or irresponsible.

    This thyroid stuff is no joke, so I hope that you will continue to have benign results. As for your husband, I can relate. Even though my hypo symptoms are the result of treating an overactive thyroid, it's just no fun.

    My doc bumped up my dose a day ago, so I hope that gets me on track. At least I have a responsive physician. I've heard horror stories about many endos that aren't. That's ironic because these conditions require a lot of attention and tweeking of doses. I can't imagine not having a patient doctor to work with me.

  11. Hey... I'm sorry to hear about this.
    Simon is correct. Your meds should not be inducing you into a state of sleep 24/7.

    You need to get thine ass to a real specialist. Any chance of you getting the hell out of Korea and either to the UK or stateside to get a better handle on your care?

    Really. I'll even spring for the funds to get your cat outta there too.

  12. No offense Kalani, but I have a real specialist.

    He's a US trained endocrinologist who came highly recommended. Not only that, since I'm diabetic, I've had a couple. All of them were afflilated with university research hospitals.

    Graves Disease, like other autoimmune diseases is a balancing game. He's managing my Graves better than most doctors back home who appear to opt for radiation or surgery both of which keeps you on hormones for the rest of your days.

    I'm probably getting better treatment than folks back home. I know this because I follow the Graves message boards. They're imitating the research coming out of Japan and my doc was following from the jump.

    One thing I have to say is don't assume that Korea is some backwards wasteland.

    Seoul is one of the most expensive cities in the world, up there with the big guns. Also, their economy is nothing to laugh at. They've got some ways to go in many areas, but my medical care is probably the best I've had ever and I was treated at Cedars-Sinai in L.A.

  13. Japan has first-class endocrinologists too, and I always felt as though I was in good hands there. The only problem was that you could spend an entire day waiting to be seen. But that is most likely true in the States as well.

    My endocrinologist in Japan was not just old enough to remember the war, he was old enough to have been in it. He made me a little nervous when he noted my German name most approvingly and kept telling me how good a team the Japanese and Germans were. I was genuinely creeped out by this. I didn't have the heart to tell him that my name is just about the only German thing I've got.

    Your comment on sapiosexuals really cracked me up!

  14. Ah, in Korea the medical care is awesome. You have an appointment, you show up, and if you're on time it's most likely you're doctor will see you on time. However, this is in the context of the university hospitals. In a clinic, it's wander in and wait. But it's still nothing like the waits back home.

    That doctor probably doesn't remember the war and no one has ever told him either. That is creepy.

    Glad you laughed, the saiosexual comment was written just for laughs.

  15. There is a popular myth that dumb women gravitate towards smart men, but in fact I think it is the opposite. Dumb women tend to seek dumb men, smart women look for smart men, and smart men...well, sometimes they let their brains do the thinking and thus prove themselves smart AND savvy.

    As for that doctor, the creepy thing was that I think he did remember. His comment about Germans and Japanese being a great team was a little like one of those secret handshakes beloved by men's secret societies. Icky.

  16. Hehehe, okay the doctor is just creepy.

    Yeah, that whole smart man thing. It's just a bit crazy but it's better than the dumb man thing any day ;-)

  17. I was wondering if you would recommend your endocrinologist to other people in Seoul. We recently moved to Seoul and my husband has Grave's Disease. Thanks!

  18. Sure...

    My doctor was Dr. Yoo-hern Ahn (안유헌, in Hangul). He's at Hanyang University Medical Center in Seoul. He did a block and replace treatment with me. A great endo that I really miss.

    I'm sure if you run a Google search you'd find this. That's how I found the link again. I wrote about him on the website. Here is the link:

    Just cut and paste for the contact info.


Hey there! Thanks for visiting my blog. It's my first blog, and I'm glad folks are still stopping by even though I'm no longer living in South Korea. Feel free to comment. If you want a personal answer, leave your email, and I won't publish the comment. Nasty comments and spam links will not be tolerated.