Battling with Graves Disease — How I Took Control of My Health

Michelle Dione
9 min readAug 31, 2017

(Originally published in in August 2014 before being purchased & renamed)

Michelle Dione Snider, photo by Anyar Photography

14 years ago I was diagnosed with Graves Disease at the age of 22 years old. My twin daughters were just 3 months old and my focus was on working hard to take care of them. I was so driven and stressed about money that when I first received the call from a nurse that I needed to go to the hospital I refused. I was at work and could not afford to take another day off. The nurse told me that I had to come in, if I did not she would send an ambulance to my job and drag me out forcefully. The nurse went on to say, “Oh, I bet you didn’t know we could do that? I don’t think you understand, your thyroid levels are so high we cannot calculate them. You are a danger to yourself and if you don’t come to the hospital immediately we can legally bring you here by force”.

At 22 years old with goiter

An ambulance crew strapping me down and wheeling me out of the office would have been quite a dramatic exit. Leaving no question to my strict employer that I was too ill to work amused me for a brief moment, but I thought it was better to give in quietly. I had no idea what was going on, what Graves Disease was. I had a few ideas about thyroid conditions because my mom had been diagnosed with Hypothyroidism, which made her extremely tired all the time and gain weight even if she ate very little.

Apparently I was in what was called a “Thyroid storm” with Graves Disease. It is an autoimmune disorder with the thyroid that at first had my thyroid “slow” or hypo, but quickly turned into a crazy mess of issues with a hyperthyroid which meant; fluttering high speed pulse of the heart, low count of white blood cells which made it extremely easy to get sick, bulging of the eyeballs, a large goiter in the throat that made me look like I swallowed a softball, breaking out into shakes and sweats as well as weakening of the muscles.

My case was the most severe case that the nurses and many doctors I visited had ever seen. I was told I should go on disability. My thyroid was not anything that could quickly be fixed but because I was young with lots…

Michelle Dione

Journalist, Writer, Photog, Video. Oakland Based. Most known for filming viral “BBQ Becky” video, best known for exposing right-wing fascism. Also, I’m a witch.