A Series of Hospital Eyes


You may be wondering why the beginning of this post has 7 photos of the giant ferris wheel known as the London Eye. Well that’s because these photos mark all of the appointments I’ve had at the hospital since I was diagnosed with Grave’s Disease 3 months ago. Since then I’ve traipsed back and forth to the hospital every 2-4 weeks, had my left (and once, right) arm punctured so many times that I’m covered in constant bruises and track marks, befriended the nurses who stab me, rushed into hospital when I fell ill as it could’ve been a sign of my immune system shutting down, taken four different dosages of the same medication and watched my disease chart itself up and down, yet always a long way away from the ranges of “normal”.

Today my doctor discussed the possibility of radioiodine treatment with me.

From the beginning I’ve known that this was a potential option. Even if the medication – essentially a drug used to regulate the thyroid hormones – takes hold and manages to bring your thyroid levels back to normal, there is a 95% chance of recurrence once you come off the treatment. In those cases the medication is no longer an option, so instead you undergo radioiodine treatment which is administered in a single drinkable dosage and after which it’s very likely that you will go from having a hyperactive thyroid to a hypoactive thyroid, in which case you’ll be put onto a thyroid regulating hormone for the rest of your life. In my case, my body is proving resistant to the medication – which is odd as I was initially very responsive to it – and so the likelihood is that radioiodine treatment is the next step. It’s just Sod’s Law, I guess.

I’m told by my doctor and my friend Mimi that it’s better to be hypo than hyper, that it’s manageable once you’ve found the correct dosage, that the blood tests will dwindle to once every 6 months/a year, that the side-effects are minimal – hair loss, flu-like symptoms, dry skin, feeling colder than normal, fluctuating weight, excessive tiredness. I’m told that after the treatment I would have to stay away from the young, old and pregnant and avoid prolonged contact with, well, anybody for a few weeks, due to the possibility of radioactive contamination. I’m told that it’s a successful form of regulating the thyroid, that it’s safer and far less invasive than the other surgical option. I’m told that I’m going to be okay.

But it doesn’t matter how many people tell me that it’s going to work out, how many hugs or reassuring words I receive: I’m terrified. I keep asking myself questions that I can’t answer – “why me,” “why now,” “why,” I keep crying quietly in the kitchen as I wash dishes, wipe down surfaces or fold laundry; I’m angry that it’s never easy, that it’s always one thing after another and that I can’t do anything to make it better.

Then I wipe my face and I carry on. I bury myself in work, I attend events with great gusto and meet amazing people. I plan meals and future adventures around the world. I try not to talk about my illness, play it off as just being something that happens because I don’t want to have to think about it any more than I already do. I answer the query, “are you okay?” With, “yes, fine, thank you”… but really I’m worried, I’m scared and I just want to be healthy and happy. I don’t think that’s too much to ask, is it?

I’d appreciate good thoughts and vibes, if you believe in God/s and want to pray (or your equivalent) that’s appreciated too. Thanks to everybody who has left comments, sent emails or Twitter messages; to the silent lurkers and occasional drop-ins; to the friends, family and housemates who have texted, called, hugged or just let me cry into their clothing (sorry about that). I’m not sure how this is going to play out and maybe that’s the most terrifying part of all, but I’m so grateful to all of you for continuing to support me.

Until next time, peace and love.

Jax x

15 Responses to “A Series of Hospital Eyes”

  1. Ariel Says:

    Sending you my love and fondest wishes, sweetie…I’m always around if you wanna chat. <3<3<3

  2. Celia Says:

    I have been so MIA from blogging that I totally missed the beginning of this – I’m so sorry, hon. Emo post away and know my thoughts and well-wishes are with you.

  3. Regula Says:

    Dear Jax
    You know I am in a similar position.
    I know a bit of how you’re feeling. You feel your life slipping away and you desperately try to hang on. You just want to be healthy, and frankly feel fresh and young. You’re body feels like a prison sometimes and you just want to be free, I know I do.
    I’m not going to tell you not to be scared, it is scary! But I will hold your hand if you want me to and support you.
    Be brave, dear girl,
    Jing and jang, remember

  4. Paula Says:

    You never said when your RAI treatment is to begin and that’s O.K., I shall be keeping you in my prayers.

    It is scary when your body turns against itself and when you feel you have lost control. I’m glad that you have friends with broad shoulders and I’m sure that they will be there throughout all of this for you. Know too that your readers are as well.

    I have been on thyroid medication for more years than I care to count but since discovering that the right side of my thyroid gland had shut down completely I was referred by my family Doctor to an Endocrinologist and after a year of gradually changing the dosage of the thyroid medications until we discovered what would dosage would work, my levels remain where they should and I function as I should as long as I take that one pill a day.

    Hoping and praying for the best outcome possible for you.

  5. sophia Says:

    Oh Jackie, you definitely are in my prayers. I’ve been thinking about you from time to time and sending you silent prayers. (tons and tons of rib-crushing hugs from me!)

  6. Rita (mademoiselle délicieuse) Says:

    Because life isn’t always a smooth ride and I know this from experience over the past few years. You look around you and everyone else seems to have it so easy in comparison. You see them doing seemingly standard things like planning holidays and you wonder why you can’t plan beyond next month.

    The stress, or perhaps something else, is getting to me as I’m starting to show signs of ill-health myself. But we can only keep going, because we have to, and enjoy the parts of life that put a smile on our faces.


  7. Brandon @ Kitchen Konfidence Says:

    Stay strong! I will definitely keep you in my prayers as well.

  8. Row Says:

    Sending big hugs and strength your way. *hugs*

  9. Katja Says:

    Big hugs and oodles of positive thoughts coming your way from Italy, lovely. xxx

  10. Mishkin Says:

    I love you Jackie. x x x x

  11. Kay@Chopstix2Steaknives Says:

    Oh Hon! loads of love and hugs. xxx

  12. Sarah, Maison Cupcake Says:

    Oh hun, this sounds such an ordeal. Hope it improves soon with what ever treatment course you opt for. xx

  13. ashley Says:

    Oh Jax. We need to skype soon. I miss you and of course I think of you!! What a fabulous blog friend/real life friend you are.

    I will for sure pray for you every night ;) You are lovely!

    You have every right to be terrified. I was terrified when my Dad went into treatment for Cancer. The treatment worked on him!

    I hope you find some comfort tonight, and like I said, we need to talk soon…it’s been too long. Love you much!

  14. Amelia from z tasty life Says:

    Jackie: I had no idea… Just finding out now, as I read thia post (have been mia).
    All I can say is be strong and I am definitively sending good vibes, prayers and well wishes.
    I hope it will be soon over and just make for good writing material…
    Love you!

  15. Douglas Says:


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