Some of the ailments that baseball players suffer from are not stuff I ever have to worry about coming down with. For example, no matter how much time I spend at the computer, I'll never need Tommy John surgery!
But Jose Reyes' thyroid issue is something I am painfully familiar with. I was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism three years ago.
In the winter of 2007, my primary care physician noticed after a routine blood test that my thyroid numbers were very low. (Paradoxically, low numbers in this test indicate an overactive, not underactive, thyroid.) As we were very busy at my job at the time with a site redesign, I put off doing a followup visit right away. Besides, I felt fine at the time of the test results, so I didn't see that it was that big a deal. I just assumed that the number was off for some trivial reason. Big mistake.
Even though the thyroid is a a relatively small gland (it's located just below the larynx), if it's not working correctly, it will cause all sorts of mayhem with the rest of your body. This is something I quickly learned. In the two months after that initial blood test, I gradually became weaker and weaker, to the point where I literally got winded just walking from my car to my house. I also felt physically hot all the time, even in the dead of winter. My vision was getting very blurry. I was extremely irritable - even more than I usually am! And I was starting to have heart palpitations. It was a scary time for me, because I had no idea what was going on.
When I finally went back to my doctor, he took some more tests and diagnosed me with hyperthyroidism. But we didn't know what was causing it. So he sent me to an endocrinologist (a specialist in, among other things, thyroid disorders), who figured out that it was Graves' Disease, one of several things that can cause hyperthyroidism.
The specialist put me on medication to get my thyroid back to normal; the first set of drugs didn't work as quickly as I hoped, and I was worried that I would need to get my thyroid removed or treated with radiation if things didn't improve. Fortunately, the second brand of medicine worked well. And by that July, my thyroid was finally back to normal levels, my Graves' Disease went into remission, and my energy and health levels greatly improved. The Graves' Disease is still in remission now, but I visit the doctor 3-4 times a year to make sure it's staying that way!
Anyhow, Mets fans shouldn't fret too much about Reyes' thyroid issues. There are several key things to note here which should give fans hope:
* Reyes was diagnosed very early with a thyroid imbalance. It would have been much worse if it took him feeling weak for the Mets' medical staff to figure out something was wrong.
* If the diagnosis turns out to be hyperthyroidism - or for that matter, hypothyroidism - it is treatable. In many cases, simply taking medication will correct the thyroid levels.
* There's still a month for the regular season to start, so Reyes and the medical staff will have some time to get him started on the road to recovery, and figure out what's causing the thyroid issues.
Anyhow, that's my story. Best wishes to Reyes as he waits to hear exactly what's happening with his health.
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