Awareness is KEY, by Fernand Jacolbe

This is the third article in our series of articles from guest writers on what awareness means to them in honour of Thyroid Awareness Month. If anyone would like to contribute their own article on this topic, I would be happy to publish it. This is a topic we can easily write about all year round:-)

I’m not very good with dates, but it was just by accident that I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. I was working overseas back then and one day some of my officemates began noticing my weight loss and the bulging of my left eye. There had also been occasions when I felt very weak on my knees. I had no medical background at that time so I really was naïve about what was going on and just took everything for granted.

It was when I went home that family members pushed me to go and get a medical check-up. I wear glasses and I thought the bulging in my eye had something to do with my prescription. So, I went and saw my ophthalmologist and after a check-up he started feeling my throat and thyroid. I was then referred to an endocrinologist and my treatment started.

To cut a long story short, I got better, gained the weight I had lost and my left eye went back to normal. Then I had radioactive iodine treatment and the doctor told me that the side effects would be the opposite of hyperthyroidism. Now, I have hypothyroidism and I’ll be taking Synthroid for life.

The thought of taking the medication for life kind of bothered me a little bit. I began to develop an interest in my illness, but unfortunately there aren’t many people I can share this with. One thing I noticed is that materials and information are readily available – if you just look for them.

The way I see it, thyroid disease is still not a “mainstream illness” that is given much attention compared to other illnesses. I might be wrong, but I’m in the medical field now and this still seems to be the case. That’s why for me it is very important for people to be aware of what thyroid disease is and the symptoms that come with it regardless of whether they have the illness or not.

Awareness is KEY… and I’m so glad and thankful for my friend Sarah giving me this kind opportunity to reach out and spread awareness. It’s about time!

We are all in this together!

By Sarah Downing

My name is Sarah. I was born and grew up in England and currently live in Düsseldorf, Germany, with my fiancé Corey and my cuddly cat Biscuit. I work as a translator and writer for my own company Aardwolf Text Services ( and I love vintage clothes and music, as well as singing karaoke.

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