Friday, 19 February 2010

Invisible no more

Invisible No More™ is a slogan created by Liz Schau, for "Dear Thyroid" as part of their thyroid awareness bracelets. The front looks like this:   and the back has "invisible no more" written on it.

They are sending them out for free (yay!) and I can't wait to get mine ( )

I love Dear Thyroid, and I wrote it on my hand the other day randomly cos I felt like it:

Anyways, I just wanted to talk about what invisible no more means to me. Thyroid disease is a chronic, but unseen condition. If you were to look at somebody- for example me, physically, you cannot tell I have thyroid disease. But if you look at somebody perhaps in a wheelchair or with a facial disfigurement (for example) it is physically obvious that this person has a condition or disability.

For me, the fact that thyroid disease is an unseen illness is a major issue. And I know it is for Dear Thyroid and too. It makes the job of creating and promoting awareness of thyroid disease more significant, yet more difficult. Nobody will look at you and say, oh have you got thyroid disease? The symptoms are so non-specific and almost indistinguishable, which creates confusion and misdiagnosis.

From an Islamic perspective, I have come to realise that this is the best illness God could have blessed me with. And I am not being sarcastic. This is because in Islam, patience is very important. And I think any TD sufferer will tell you that patience is the key. It makes me happy and satisfied to know that (God willing) I will be rewarded in the next life for coping with thyroid disease and being patient. Being hypothyroid for me is and always will be a life-long test. And I have to keep going with it. God knows that I can cope with it, because as Muslims, we believe that God does not burden humans with a load that they cannot deal with. He doesn't put them through experiences they cannot tolerate.

Having said all this, Islam does not condemn me to suffer in silence. I have to make my voice heard and do what I can to promote awareness and challenge the diagnosis and treatment of thyroid disease. Because I will be helping people for a greater cause. Before I do any of that, I need to make sure I have accepted and am comfortable with dealing with my condition. Otherwise I cannot preach to others to do the same.

There is a lot of awareness out there for cancer, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, alcohol addiction... the list goes on. And thyroid disease has somehow slipped through this list. I have mentioned earlier that when I was diagnosed, I did not know where a thyroid was- it could have been in my arm for all I knew.

However, thyroid disease is very common. Probably a lot more common than you thought. It is more common in women than in men. I have recently seen some statistics stating that deaths from thyroid related illnesses are up there in the list among cancer and heart disease. And funding for the last two diseases is very high, as they are major health promotion topics. Yet thyroid disease does not get nowhere near enough adequate funding that it needs.

I do not know why this is. All I know is that it is time for change. Revolution is required. It is time for our voices to be heard.

We shall be invisible no more .

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