Overcoming Graves’ Disease in High School

Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, causing it to overproduce hormones. Gibson suffered from many symptoms that affected her physical and mental health.

“I was so tired the whole time; I slept for 8 hours and stay very tired… If I don’t take my medicine, I can get thin very quickly; I was suffering from hair loss, not being able to do any physical activity, mood swings, and irritability. It was terrible because my family was affected by it because of the way I would treat them. “It wasn’t really me,” Gibson said.

The biggest setback Gibson faced was the inability to participate in physical activities. Previously an avid athlete, Gibson had to give up many of the pastimes she enjoyed, including soccer, her favorite sport.

I was asleep, and my pace was 130 beats per minute,” Gibson said.

This negatively affected her mental health as she often felt isolated from her peers. Her condition worsened when the covid pandemic hit.

“I was really depressed during covid. I didn’t take care of myself enough to be able to take my meds properly… I really did feel different and happened to be compared to other kids. “While I was in school, my grades dropped very badly because I couldn’t concentrate, I was so tired and I didn’t get any accommodations, so I felt like an idiot because I couldn’t do anything.”

Gibson continued to take medication to balance her hormones so she could get permanent treatment. She was offered two options.

However, the treatment also came with harmful side effects. Last fall, Gibson developed hypothyroidism, a variant of Graves’ disease in which the thyroid gland begins to produce too little.

Although the outcome wasn’t what Gibson had hoped, her family encouraged her to continue to strive and maintain a proper medication routine.

“Just like Tiffany, it affected us as parents because we were constantly inquiring about how she was feeling and whether she was taking her medication in the morning or in the evening, constantly checking her blood work or heart rate and making sure she was following the directions from a doctor. Kesai: “Even her little sister, who is now nine, checked her and made sure everything was OK.”

Gibson has found many friends who support and support her, but she hopes her peers will realize that her illness is not who she is.

“I don’t like the way people sometimes treat you differently based on illness, or some physical trait, [or] “Something about you that sets you apart,” Gibson said.

Despite constant setbacks, Gibson persisted through his four years of high school while fighting Graves.

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