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Christina’s Thyroid Eye Disease Journey

Christina, a thyroid eye disease patient of Dr. Raymond Douglas, shares her thyroid eye disease journey with us!

 

Dr. Douglas

How were you diagnosed with thyroid eye disease?

Christina

I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease in 2006 and I controlled it with medication on and off for a few years. In 2011, my endocrinologist recommended the radioactive iodine to help with my overactive thyroid. A few months after I did that, I noticed that my eyes were bulging and didn’t look normal. At a follow-up appointment, she told me bulging eyes were a side effect of the radioactive iodine, that I was never told about before. So that’s when the eye disease started.

Dr. Douglas

I know it can be frustrating when the bulging occurs after radioactive iodine. So your thyroid issues were controlled, but you were left with the eye bulging; can you tell us more about how this impacted your life?

Christina

Having bulgy eyes is really hard on your self-esteem – you don’t look or feel like yourself anymore. I had extremely dry eyes – my contacts would fall out my eyes because they were so dry. Looking and feeling like this was especially hard for me because I was trying to date at that time. Also, my sister got married during a time I had a really bad flare up, and that was really hard for me with all the photos. When I slept I couldn’t close my eyes all the way so I would wake up with really dry eyes. I was constantly putting drops in my eyes.

Dr. Douglas

How long did that last?

Christina

I had the thyroid eye disease for two years before I found you. I was actually ready to have surgery with another doctor who said he could pull my eyes back 5 mm. During this time, I saw a lot of doctors and I was constantly told surgery is too risky and that I would have to just deal with it. Once I saw you on facebook, I knew I had to come to see you!

Dr. Douglas

Surgery around your eyes and behind your eyes – did surgery seem scary to you?

Christina

I still remember when I first met you with my mom. We asked you how far back you would be able to get my eyes and when you told us they will go back all the way and you will look like you again, we just started crying with joy. I wasn’t scared of the surgery, I knew things were going to be ok. I just knew it was the right thing to do and I was so excited to see what my results were going to be!

Dr. Douglas

I did feel confident we could get a great result because you didn’t have a lot of other things going on. How was the surgery for you?

Christina

It’s been five years since surgery. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. I did the right eye first and then a week later we did the left eye. It really wasn’t that bad at all. I was prepared with ice packs and pain meds. By day 2, I felt totally fine. I was bruised but I felt fine! I remember going to see my grandma and aunt when I got home and they couldn’t believe I just had surgery and was walking around and eating normally.

Dr. Douglas

You had a really big surgery so we decided to divide it into 2 stages.

Christina

You look worse than you feel!

Dr. Douglas

Tell me how you adjusted after surgery? Did you get your self-confidence back?

Christina

I look back now and randomly come across a picture from that time and I forget that I had looked like that. I’m not afraid to go out of the house anymore. I have a son now and people always tell me has my eyes – now that is a compliment. Before it would have been insulting.

Dr. Douglas

Is there anything else you want to tell people who are going through this disease?

Christina

Don’t give up hope! When you find a doctor you aren’t comfortable with, find another doctor! Always ask to see before and after photos, ask how many of these procedures have you done, etc. Get as many opinions as you need until you feel comfortable. Just don’t give up!

See More Thyroid Eye Disease Journeys

Renee’s Thyroid Eye Disease Journey

Rebecca’s Thyroid Eye Disease Journey

Ted’s Thyroid Eye Disease Journey 

Posted in: Orbital Decompression Surgery, Thyroid Eye Disease

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