Rayannes Forbes - A Graves Disease Journey

Patient Leader

Hi, I’m Rayanne! In 2010 I was diagnosed with Graves Disease. Like many others, I discovered there was very little information available on the Internet and even through my own family doctor to help understand what was about to happen to me. It began with my heart beating at over 200 beats a minute. I was hot when it was cold and vice versa. I became so weak I would have to sit down on the stairs half way up to rest. I would stay up for days and then sleep for 18 hours the next. Then the bigger complications started. My heart was so out of control that I was taking 19 pills a day, at a cost of $5,000 a year, to try and help it calm down. Little did I know these same pills would almost kill me. The pills helped one issue but created another by destroying nearly all my red and white blood cells. When I got a simple cold, I couldn’t fight it off and ended up so sick I had to be hospitalized. For nearly a month, I had to stay in reverse isolation under 24 hour care. This lead to doctors seeing my case was so severe that I needed an emergency thyroidectomy. By removing my thyroid, my heart rate would become more stable. Within mere months following my thyroid removal, I noticed my eyes started getting bulgy. I began seeing an eye specialist who put me on a wait list for surgery. Graves Disease eye symptoms have a 16 month period of change and you must wait the full length until you can receive surgery. In that time, I developed gallstones; a common complication associated with the illness and got it removed three months after diagnosis. After enduring months of painful eye symptoms, I received a double orbital decompression surgery to remove the extra tissues that had inflamed behind my eyes and caused swelling. While the surgery put my eyes back where they used to be, I was left with retracted ‘surprised’ looking eye lids, a common side effect of this operation. Shortly after healing from my eye surgery, the doctor invited me back to fix my wonky looking eyes. I was awake for the surgery and felt every needle and cutting on my face and the procedure was immediately cancelled due to discomfort. I am currently awaiting a new surgery date. I have also been tackling over $6,000 of dental bills to cover the devastation that this disease has done to my teeth. Most pills that treat Graves Disease symptoms cause dry mouth and lead to an accelerated rate of developing cavities; 14 in less than two years in my case to be exact. That’s where the idea to start a blog began. I knew I couldn't let anyone else feel as hopeless as I did. I learned through my journey that there needs to be more help for people with graves disease. If not for my family helping to cover my bills, I would have ended up homeless from this disease. I knew I couldn't be the only person who was going to go through this and decided I needed to do something to help others. My goal is to help other sufferers of this illness to raise awareness through my blog. I never set out to be ‘The Graves Disease Girl’ but I have met some wonderful people who have also been affected by this illness through my blog from around the world. I've always believed that the universe has a way of connecting those who are destined to meet via one way or another. And truth be told, I wouldn't have changed my path to have my life turn out any other way if I had the chance. Sometimes you have to just have to fight like hell and believe that everything is going to work out the way it’s supposed to be. Never give up. I hope you enjoy my blog; www.rayannesthoughts.blogspot.com !

Past Awards Participation

Third Annual Health Activist Awards

Nominations

Health Activist Hero Rookie of the Year

Finalist

Best in Show: Blog

Fourth Annual Health Activist Awards

Nominations

Health Activist Hero

Sixth Annual WEGO Health Awards

Nominations

Patient Leader Hero
Rayannes Forbes - A Graves Disease Journey

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