September 11, 2012

The Battle with Graves' Disease I: Why I Run

I just got 2 chunk of tissue being extracted from my shin last week and gotten 5 stitches, thanks to a complication from my graves disease. I was banned from running for two weeks by my medical specialist, just in case I split my stitches. Since I will not be posting any new runs, I thought it will be apt to start something like a prologue to share with readers on one of my motivation for my running hobby.

This article chronicles the life changing experience I had a year ago prior to the start of my running hobby. I wrote this while on a hospital bed at SGH using the Facebook note application. However, I realized that with the new timeline feature being implemented in Facebook, the note feature is somewhat removed and I have to dig through my Facebook profile to extract this article and transplant this to blogger, before it is lost in the passing of time...

1st August 2011. Second day of my hospitalization.

Okie I was wrong. I thought that my luck is turning for the better when the fact is... it just got worse.

I underwent a radioactive iodine procedure (RAI) to get rid of my hyperthyroid problem once and for all. Complications came in... I was doing some shopping (Jeans) the other day and pounded the streets of Orchard Road. To those who knows me, shopping is a high tension workout for me. I developed a muscle ache after a while. The ache got worse on Friday when I went for a BBQ at ECP with the team. Well, it is normal for sports cramp to get worse the next day!

Saturday came along and I woke up with a very serious cramp. I can still wobble to the bathroom than. By afternoon, my lower body is hurting so much that I have problems getting of the bed to stand on the floor. I took 30 min. I took a step and simply collapsed on the floor. I knew I was in trouble than. Sis and brother-in-law was back for weekly dinner and they diagnosis that it could be related to my thyroid problem. Decided to get my ass to the A&E of SGH.

The walk to the car is an ordeal. I borrowed my grandma walking stick. I can still hobble around at that time. As long as I lock my legs and put the pressure on the joints of my knees and doesn't involved my heavily cramped thigh muscles, I will be already. 5 steps down the corridor and I bent my knees accidentally. Down I went and scratched my elbow. Family having shock right now as they see me collapse in the middle of the corridor. Bro-in-law came to my rescue and grabbed my shoulders to support me. He stepped on my slippers and down I went again, this time rubbing my knees. I was laughing hysterically than, on the situation and my inability to even support myself. After a few more missed calls, I made it to the car and got to SGH.

By the time i reached the A&E I could not feel my legs and needed to be lifted into the wheelchair by a strong sturdy nurse. Transported me to the bed next and I was wheeled in that bed around SGH. After a battery of test, the docs concluded that I had thyroid paralysis. After the RAI, the thyroid gland is supposed to be burnt off but my super strong mutated thyroid gland lived to tell the tale and I my thyroxine levels are off the horizon. The thyroid gland controls potassium distribution in the body. Potassium is the most important mineral in the human body as muscles need potassium to function or they will cramp up and become paralysis. A lack of potassium also will cause heart failure as the heart is the most important muscle in our body (Thank you google!). My out-of-control thyroid gland failed to distribute potassium around my body which is the reason for the paralysis of my lower limp. By than, the paralysis spread to the upper body till the stage which I could only move my head and wriggle my toes and fingers. The doc desperately pumped potassium into my body and tried to control mt heart rate.My heart was beating erratically at a very dangerous rate of 150-180 at that time, thanks to the mutated thyroid. The normal human heart rate is 60-90 (Thank u google again!)

Yup,  I couldn't move my legs, but I have to smile for the camera!
After that, I spent a sleepless night getting pumped full of liquid potassium. Why sleepless? Because pumping liquid potassium into the body is a very painful thing. My whole right arm is like stuck with a thousand needles and a few groans help to lower the pain mentally. They pumped 5 bags of liquid potassium and each bag takes around 1.5 hrs to finish. Have to put ice bag on my right arm to help to elevate the pain. A very painful night... Miraculously, with each bag pumped in, the pain in the muscles around my body began to lessen and by the next day, I could hobble to the toilet. That is after I peed in 6 urinal bottle on bed with help from the nurses. Now I know how a paralyzed patient feels.

After I thought I can walk out of the hospital by Monday, my legs cramped up on Sunday again. It seems like my potassium level just had a dive and 2 more bags of painful liquid potassium was kindly supplied to me earlier this morning. I now know that this hospital stay is not going to be a short one and i requested my lovely laptop so that I can get some work done and at the same time, get some entertainment to distract me from the pain.

A little testimonial on insurance! Thks to my comprehensive cover, I did not have to pay a single cent! Too bad I can't get anymore after my initial purchase as I gotten the thyroid condition 3 years after I started working. Regretted not getting more than. Hindsight again!!!

After this episode, i think about my mortality even more often, even more after my bouts of illness for the last 2 years. Work hard, Play hard. Life is short. You never know when you won't be able to enjoy life any longer....


Post a Comment

Subscribe to SG Unfit Runners

Like Us on Facebook



Powered by Blogger.