When I first saw Lei Shaw, I had gone to so many drs looking for an answer. But the problem with Western medicine was that everything had to be cut and dry. Regardless of whether you have a disease you have to meet every diagnostic variable to get much help. I have Graves disease, but an unusual case. I have this disease showing up in my eyes and that was diagnosed via Cat Scan. I always had all of the physical symptoms of the disease, but in Western medicine you must have your hormone levels constantly show it to get treated. Strangely my levels had indicated mild hypothyroidism a few times but would always come back to normal. Because of this, Western doctors were willing to give me medicine to slow my heart down but that was about it. Many would make it out like it was all in my head, simply because I had an unusual case. Others, like the few rheumatologists I had seen said it should be obvious to anyone that I had Graves disease, just by looking at me. But this didn’t seem to matter to anyone. I also have Polycystic Ovary syndrome which has caused blood sugar problems. I had been put on a diabetes drug which made me very sick to my stomach, but I assumed it was the Graves since this is a symptom of Graves.
The problem with Graves disease is that you can’t really live with it. I had insomnia to the point where I would go 3 weeks at a time with only 3 or 4 hours of dozing at night. This only intensified the anger, irritability, weakness and dizziness that Graves causes. I would get overheated easily when I used to be able to tolerate heat. I started staying inside all summer. My legs because so weak that climbing up stairs or even walking across the room was a major chore. I never wanted to be in a public place where I had to stand up because I couldn’t do it for long. It felt like my legs were buckling underneath me. And I had been a cross-country runner in high school and was still athletic in college, but suddenly I couldn’t run anymore. I had to give it my all just to do a mile. My hands would shake and I was constantly hungry. If I didn’t eat every 2 hours my vision would get blurry. I couldn’t seem to remember anything. I would eat breakfast, take a shower, and be so hungry and exhausted from the shower that I had to eat all over again. It was like I was tired to the marrow of my bones, yet my mind was going a mile a minute. I would sometimes have to lay down for 4 hours because I felt like I couldn’t move. My muscles would twitch all over my body as I tried to sleep. I also got used to having diarrhea or going to the bathroom 6 times a day or more. All of this was very scary being so young and every doctor I went to said they couldn’t do much because the tests weren’t abnormal. They gave me all kinds of drugs to try, but wouldn’t give me the one drug that could help me. They would target individual symptoms which might help a little, except for the inevitable side effects. Eventually I got put on a drug that would knock me out at night so I could sleep, but it made me feel hungover and thirsty for much of the day. I saw an Herbalist for a year and she helped me, but taking her supplements was like throwing water at a volcano. There would never be enough water to overcome what I had going on.
When I started seeing Lei, it was like she was peeling back the layers of my problem. I would see different symptoms improve in stages. It only took a few weeks before I was sleeping without my sleep medicine. Then I tried running a few times and I still can’t run far, but my heart rate stays slow and steady for most of the run – something that never happened before. I noticed I could go out with friends and not have to sit in a chair the whole time. Mentally I felt like I was a lot more positive. I didn’t feel like I had no hope of being able to participate in life. I felt lighter and happier. I didn’t think about how I had a disease all the time. And that has been the biggest change. It is like I’m a person again. I can make plans of things I would like to do, and not feel like I can’t do them due to my health. I still have to be careful. We still are working on keeping me from getting overheated and dehydrated. We still focus on keeping my emotions toned down. I don’t know how long I will have to go to acupuncture, or if I will have to check in regularly my whole life, but my quality of life is much better. And when I start to get weak in certain areas I can always go back. This is much better than feeling like you have no options. What I like is that you don’t have to wait to get help. She looks at you as a person with your own specific pattern and focuses on what is best for you individually. Because no 2 people with Graves or any disease are exactly alike. I have had a lot of nausea and insomnia, but have heard of others with Graves having more heart problems or shaking for example. Lei has taken me back to where I was a few years ago, before things had really progressed badly and I can’t thank her enough.