Disclaimer: This is a sponsored collaboration with Health Grades.
Singing has always been a part of my identity. Having sung since I was a child, I graduated college with a degree in musical theatre and moved to New York City to pursue my career. After performing in various concerts and regional theatrical productions, I took a break to learn how to do what nearly all of my voice teachers thought was impossible: belt contemporary music. I’d always been a soprano with a voice well-suited for classic melodies from the Golden Age of Broadway. But I wanted to play the quirky, powerhouse musical theatre roles, and to do that, I’d need to be able to belt. It was what I wished for every year when I blew out my birthday candles or threw a penny into a fountain. My previous teachers said my voice simply was not built for it. How wrong they were! I just needed the right teacher – and I found them. Learning how to belt was one of my most meaningful accomplishments.
As I was exploring new techniques and dimensions of my voice, I was also experiencing alarming changes to my health. What began as fatigue and a diagnosis of an underactive thyroid turned into a rapid resting heart rate, shaky hands, and weight loss. I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition resulting in an overactive thyroid.
My endocrinologist started me on a low dose of methimazole, a medication that would block thyroid production to an extent and ideally put my thyroid levels in a healthy range until I hopefully went into remission. She explained that in her experience remission would normally happen within two years of symptoms appearing. I asked, “What if it doesn’t? What if I don’t respond well to the medication?” She told me there are two long-term solutions in that case: I would undergo radioactive iodine therapy or have my thyroid surgically removed – a thyroidectomy…