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Money doesn’t matter if you’re dead

Graves' Disease - A Man's Perspective | GDATF

I was a Naval reservist and had to go in for a routine physical. The ship’s corpsman noticed my resting heart beat was one hundred and ten beats per minute. He sent me over to the Naval hospital for an EKG and to be evaluated by a doctor. A corpsman took my EKG and asked me if I was feeling OK. I said sure, no problems! I was told to rest ten minutes and they would do another EKG. Ten minutes later, they came back and found me asleep on the table. Talk about resting! They did the EKG again and my heart rate was one hundred and twenty beats a minute. Next thing I know, I am on a table in the ER, stripped down to my skivvies with doctors shining lights in my eyes and poking every conceivable part of my body. The doctor wanted to admit me into intensive care because he thought I was on my way to a thyroid storm and I could get very sick, very fast. The man got my attention. I told him there was no way they were going to put me into the hospital (doing my male thing again). I explained to the doctor that I was a reservist and if he put me into the hospital, they would have to put me on active duty. The doctor listened to my concern about being in the hospital and said “Mister, money doesn’t matter if you’re dead.” Once again he got my attention.

I had my first thyroid storm last weekend.

Just Breathe

I think photo sums up how I’ve felt recently. Exhausted, beaten down, feeling despair, depressive, highly emotional, and generally not well physically and emotionally.

This photo sums up how I’ve felt recently. Exhausted, beaten down, despairing, depressive, highly emotional, and generally not well physically and emotionally.

My client currently faces an issue of running out of office space in their Northern New Jersey location. They're actively in pursuit of new office space. Meanwhile, I am in a new routine, commuting to their other office at Old Slip, near Wall Street in Manhattan. However, this adjustment has taken a toll on both my mental and physical well-being.

Interestingly, the actual work itself doesn't induce stress. The journey to New York City has become the challenging part. The process takes roughly two and a half hours, from departing my doorstep to reaching the office building's entrance in lower Manhattan. It's a commute involving two trains – the New Jersey Transit (NJT) and PATH – followed by a ferry. Throughout this commute, I find myself constantly on the move, navigating through the crowd of travellers hoping to secure a seat, though most often, I end up standing.

The northeast corridor express train ride to Newark Penn Station, lasting about 45 minutes, tends to be a standing affair. Upon disembarking from the NJT, I hurriedly squeeze through the turnstile and catch the PATH that leads to Exchange Place. The PATH experience often proves to be less than comfortable. Finding a seat is a rare luxury; I am packed amidst the crowd, reminiscent of sardines in a tin. My grip tightens on a less-than-clean metal pole while inconsiderate coughing and germ spreading from fellow passengers adds another layer of discomfort. It's a struggle, and the need for a thorough cleanse becomes all too evident, given the close proximity to various forms of germs.

Upon finally arriving at the workplace, I'm already feeling the tension, compounded by the persistent ache in my back and feet due to prolonged standing. The office environment itself contributes to the strain. It's an open-plan setup devoid of privacy, characterised by its constant noise. Unfortunately, this setup leaves no room for putting up my feet or seeking a brief respite in a quiet corner for a moment of rest. This scenario contradicts the much-needed escape I crave after the demanding commute.

In an intriguing parallel, Harvard University highlights that open-plan offices are among the least productive work settings.

When the firms switched to open offices, face-to-face interactions fell by 70%.~ Harvard University Press

This highlights my challenges in this environment, where noise and distractions sway productivity. While the work remains manageable, the cumulative effect of the arduous commute, and the office atmosphere, and my health challenges tests my resilience

Grave’s disease is playing havoc with emotions as well. I can go from laughing to anxious and sad (sometimes despair) all within a few hours. I have little control over this. It just happens, and once it’s done, I feel emotionally drained.

I am under the care of a great endocrinologist, but until my Grave’s disease is under control, it has taken a toll. It affects my ability to work effectively.

I sleep but don't feel rested. I haven't had a restful night of sleep in over a month.

I am slower than I used to be. I don’t have the energy for activities I normally enjoy — hiking and photography. Family events like birthday parties and BBQs in the backyard are not enjoyable.

I finally broke down, crying while getting ready to drive to work on Friday. Bhavna took me to the E.R., where a battery of blood tests revealed that due to interactions between some of the medications I was taking — most likely triggered by stress — I had early-stage hypertension. My blood pressure was high and trending higher. I was put on an I.V. drip, given a Percocet for the pain, monitored for several hours and sent home with strict instructions to discontinue my medication until I could see my primary physician and endocrinologist.

I must admit I was scared. And my poor Bhavna sat next to me the whole time, stressing out.

I am feeling better today. But not great. Not 100%. Not my usual self. I’ve lost control of my body. Perhaps that’s another stress point. With Type 1 diabetes, I feel I have some control over testing and diet. With Grave’s, I cannot test if things are improving or worsening. I have to do a lab blood test every six to eight weeks and wait 48 hours for the results. It’s not ideal. I’ve also had more years of practice managing my Type 1 diabetes.

I discussed buying a blood pressure monitor with Bhavna or taking a trip to CVS to test my blood pressure at least once a week.

It’s Sunday, and I dread going back to work on Monday.

In the meantime, I am doing what I can — breathing in — breathing out. It’s all the control I have.

Photography, Graves Disease, Insulin pumps and a lot of other things

Writing about a number of things that have been on my mind.

This post concerns several things that have been on my mind for a while.


During the 2017 end-of-year holidays, I dropped and damaged the mirror box of my Nikon D5100 baby DSLR. It was not a new camera when I bought it on eBay (circa 2012), but it has worked flawlessly for the years I have owned it. Indeed had I not dropped it, it would have yielded at least another five years of service. I was pretty upset when I discovered it was damaged but excited that the attached lens was in good shape. I was also excited at the prospect of buying a new camera. The D5100 was released in April 2011, and in the intervening years, more recent and more capable cameras were introduced by Nikon, Sony, Fuji, Olympus and Canon. Buying a new camera, however, presented a new challenge. Which camera to choose?

There are many buzzes around mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras (MILC). A new term is needed to describe these types of cameras. The term mirrorless camera is as silly as the term horseless carriage. I suggest the time digital viewfinder camera(DVC) or digital interchangeable lens viewfinder(DILV), or electronic viewfinder(EV). Whatever you call it, though, the new style of interchangeable lens camera seems to be popular with many photographers.

Kingston Mill, Red, Water,
Kingston Mill

Canon EOS 5D Mark III + Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM @ 70mm ISO 100 1/320s ƒ/4

At one time or another over the last two to three years, I have rented Olympus, Sony, Fuji and Panasonic interchangeable lens cameras. They all have pros and cons, with the newer iterations of each camera improving and reducing the problem areas.

I must look like a wet mangy dog without my camera because my wife's best friend offered to let me use her father's 1 camera and lens, a Canon EOS 5D Mk II with Canon EF 70-200 USM IL f/2.8. The 5D Mk II is a full-frame DSLR with "pro" level features. The EF 70-200 mm lens is worth more than all my existing lenses combined. I've never used Canon cameras and lenses and was trying to figure out what to do with this kit. Last week, after learning from a work colleague that any EF lens will work with the EOS 5D MK II, I started looking for used 35mm and 50mm EF lenses on eBay. Getting a used lens for less than $100 was worth it. I was tired of shooting photos of the birds in the backyard. However, I didn't need to.


I remembered that my Dad had given me his Canon Rebel film camera a few years ago. I knew it was somewhere in the basement. It took a few weeks, but I finally found it. It has a Canon EF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6 lens. It's compatible with the 5D Mk III. I took the camera and lens on a recent road trip to Michigan and Ohio. I downloaded a few photos and noticed the quality could have been better. The images all seem "hazy". I assumed it was due to poor skill on my part -- shooting images with the light in the background. But I noticed photos taken indoors with front lightning had the same issue. I examined the lens and discovered some semi-transparent "goo" on the inside of the lens.

If I continue to use this lens, I must use the Adobe Lightroom "dehaze" tool for every captured image.

I found some inexpensive Nikon to Canon lens adapters on Amazon. I could use my existing Nikon lenses. The caveat is that the adapters do not allow auto-focus and TTL metering. I promise not to replace my Nikon until after my 2017 taxes are filed. I can't wait. I'll get a deal on a Nikon D500.

I've also struggled with impostor syndrome. I look at the excellent work by an artist like Olaf and. I compare my work to theirs, which is a mistake. Olaf has talent and years of experience. I'm just an amateur who photographs mainly on the weekend. The comparison leaves me feeling inadequate. I put the camera down, and my skills atrophy. Why am I doing this?

Old Route 27

Graves Disease

Over 12 years ago, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. After diagnosis, I started seeing a specialist, an endocrinologist, about every three months. On these regular visits, we discuss my insulin regimen, diet, exercise and the results of my lab tests. The lab results have lots of exciting and helpful information for an endocrinologist, but I only paid attention to the cholesterol and A1C values. But my endo looks at all of it.

One of the things she was testing was my thyroid function, which until recently was normal. And then it wasn't. She tested my thyroid function because people with other immune system diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, have an increased risk of hyperthyroidism. And the onset happened just as rapidly as it did for my Type 1 diabetes. After a battery of tests over a few weeks, my endocrinologist confirmed a diagnosis of Grave's Disease, which the American Thyroid Association describes this way:

Graves' disease, named after Irish physician Robert Graves, is a common cause of hyperthyroidism in the United States. This autoimmune condition leads to the overactivity of the thyroid gland, primarily affecting women (7-8 times more than men).

The disease is triggered by the body's immune system, typically responsible for defending against foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses. However, in Graves' disease, the immune system can produce antibodies that mistakenly target proteins within our own cells. Instead of destroying these cells, these antibodies, known as thyrotropin receptor antibodies (TRAb) or thyroid-stimulating immunoglobulins (TSI), stimulate thyroid cells excessively.

These antibodies bind to receptors on the surface of thyroid cells, prompting them to overproduce and release thyroid hormones. Consequently, this leads to hyperthyroidism, where the thyroid becomes overactive, producing excessive thyroid hormone.

Kingston Mill

Looking back over the last few months, I know I felt the symptoms of the disease, even though I did know how to interpret them.

I was anxious, irritable, and quite emotional. Anger. And sadness. My hands are shaking slightly, and using a computer -- either a keyboard or touchscreen is more complicated. I am sensitive to heat, and I feel like sweating into my socks. I feel tired while simultaneously feeling energetic (heart palpitations), and falling asleep was challenging. I lost seven pounds.

So now you know. I now have two autoimmune diseases. My endo gave me options for treatment -- pills, surgery, radiation therapy. I opted for the drugs. I am hoping the pills work.

I'll also find out from her what the other results of my lab test mean. Am I at risk for another autoimmune disease?


Work has been stressful since a management change last year. As a consultant, I had worked harmoniously with the previous two managers, but over the last year, I had felt the relationship with the new manager was straining. It was also causing me considerable stress. On Monday, I had a panic attack while at the office. I came home early.

My wife reassured me that she was on board with me leaving. The toxic environment created by this person affected my mental and physical health.

Lake Carnegie
Lake Carnegie

I had started looking for new opportunities elsewhere, but my work for the client ended abruptly this week. I was told that my services were no longer needed. I didn't say a word. I didn't ask why. I said, "OK", packed my day bag, handed in my laptop and pass, and left.

Now, I have time to find my next gig or job. I've spoken to a few recruiters and contacted a few colleagues and friends. Next week, I plan to be busy with interviews and have a few offers by the end of April.



As a blogger, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking everything I write about is already known by everyone or that my audience on Island on the Net has seen everything I've ever published. It's good to remember that every day, someone might be part of the few to learn something new to them, even if I've written about it previously.

I have a backlog of about 116 articles in draft mode. Most of these are technical articles about photography, web development, and the IndieWeb. I want to set aside time to work on these. Perhaps some will be long-form, but I suspect most will be short.


My diabetes management is reasonably good. I usually keep my A1C within the recommended range. However, managing diabetes is not without challenges. Because I often get hypoglycemic when hiking, I don't exercise as much as I may need for optimal health. The fear of hypoglycemia keeps me sitting at the computer. But that may soon change. A new type of insulin pump is on the market, and I have one of the first models, the Medtronic 670G. It's a closed-loop system. Readings from a CGMS are relayed back to the insulin pump, which can adjust insulin delivery to suit the need. On Tuesday, I was trained to set up and use the CGMS and 670G. There is a learning curve. I had my ACCU-Chek insulin pump and Dexcom CGMS for over four years. I had mastered the technology. I'll have to learn anew.