Member Post for 3/4/19 (The Brooks Review)

What if the only way to lower your health premium to an affordable rate was to allow your health insurer access to your Apple Watch data?

I don’t think this would provide any benefit to me. I have Type 1 diabetes. It’s a chronic progressive illness. Food and insulin are one of the over two-dozen variables that affect blood glucose control. The majority of these variables not under my control. Insulin dosing is an art. Even if I eat the same thing for every meal, I will get a different blood glucose reading throughout the day, and it would also be different each day.

Given that the Apple Watch is not a medical device capable of accurately measuring blood glucose and operating an insulin pump, wearing.

After six months of trial and error my endocrinologist agreed that we needed to try something new.

She proposed radioactive iodine treatment but I ruled that out. While we have general data on the success of that treatment (90%) we also know it does not work for some people and there are complications, especially for the eyes. I have three cousins who tried radioactive iodine treatment and ultimately ended up with surgery. I also learned from my mom that hyperthyroidism runs in her side of the family. She informed me that the entire McLaren family (which is my grandmother’s family from Carriacou) has thyroid problems. It has affected many of the grandkids. I am so lucky.

I initially said yes to doing radioactive iodine treatment which, because of possible compromise of vision, required a trip to my ophthalmologist. He did some tests and then explained to me that I, in fact, had two diseases. Graves Disease and Graves Eye Disease(GED). He also advised me that neither radioactive iodine treatment nor a thyroidectomy would address GED. GED has to be treated separately and my options were limited. The proptosis in my eyes is worsening but until I recover from the thyroidectomy, there is nothing to be done.

Sigh.

Yesterday, I met with a surgeon at the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick to discuss expectations and risks of a thyroidectomy. Surgery is scheduled for the second week of December.

Am I scared? Yes. Absolutely. There is a risk of infection and bleeding. There is a risk of nerve damage leading to changes in speech.

But the risk of untreated or poorly treated Graves Disease is higher. None of what I am experiencing right now is pleasant. Bhavna reminds me that the silver lining is that in a few weeks this chapter of my life will be in the past. But in the meantime, I’m shivering in the cold rain.

Over the last few months, my thyroid had put my body through a Gina yo-yo. My body responded well to the methimazole. A little too well. I went to hypothyroid again.

Even though my dosage was half what it was when I went through this the last time, yet this new lower dose was too much. But we caught it early. I knew what the symptoms were and called the doctor. She ordered some blood tests which confirm what I was feeling.

She prescribed some new medication to help me recover from, but it went too far. I did not back have hyperthyroidism. I was to stop that medication and take the methimazole.

This morning I woke up and my eyes were swollen, the lymph nodes in my next and swollen and I generally feel terrible.

The doctors warned that surgery might be my only option. I may soon have a thyroidectomy and after that, orbital eye surgery.