My name is Cheryl. I suffered quite severely from hyperthyroidism last year and had to have an operation at the beginning of this year (Jan 2019) to totally remove my thyroid as I was not responding to medication.
I chose to leave my job before the operation as my illness had led to me having a lot of time off work and as I worked for a small business it was impacting my colleagues and I felt the environment was becoming uncomfortable as they couldn’t understand why I needed so much time off.
I was told during my pre op assessment that I would be back up on my feet two weeks after my operation and that the only complications I needed to be aware of were damage to my voice box or that I may need to take calcium supplements if my parathyroid glands were damaged during surgery. I figured I would recover and then return to work, have a fresh start. I remember telling my friends and family that I was excited to get back to normal.
Unfortunately I suffered a complication and my parathyroid glands were damaged. Your parathyroid glands are 4 glands in your neck that produce calcium for your blood. They are incredibly important as you need calcium in your blood to allow your muscles to move. Without it your muscles will seize. Muscles such as your hands and legs and even your heart and lungs.
I was hospitalised for 10 days following my operation and transferred to the cardiac care unit whilst I received multiple IV’s of calcium as the doctors attempted to stabilise my calcium levels. Eventually I was discharged on a massive bag of pills, I was told my parathyroid glands were in shock but could wake up and they would routinely check on me. I was hopeful.
Unfortunately they didn’t wake up.
I struggle every day. A normal calcium range is 2.2-2.8 mmol/L. Using medication I can roughly maintain 1.8 but it changes day to day. On a good day I can manage to do light cleaning and go to a friends house. On a bad day, I can barely walk, my eyesight is blurred, I struggle to grip things. I’ve been hospitalised 3 more times since January.
The doctors I have had looking after me have tried their best but it’s not an exact science. I can’t stand for longer than 10 minutes or walk for longer than 3 even on a good day. I was determined to do something for my 30th birthday this year so my husband took me to Harry Potter world but I had to use a wheelchair to get around.
The biggest blow that my illness has had though is to our finances.
I’ve worked my whole life, I got my GCSE’s, A Levels, a degree. I have had three jobs since leaving uni and have always worked in supervisor or senior positions. My husband and I bought our own house, we have our own cars. We were by all means lucky to have it all but we worked hard. Following my illness we have used our savings to support ourselves and my husband took on an extra job but the savings pot has now run dry and we find ourselves with no money to pay our mortgage, to pay our utility bills, council tax and car costs, pet costs and every other bill we have.
I have tried to find a job but my health is so inconsistent I am struggling to find anybody to hire me.
We have cut back considerably on all our luxuries but we still need about £1000 a month to support ourselves. I’m at a loss as to what to do. We are not entitled to benefits because we own our house and my husband works. I feel I have worked so hard all my life either in education or the workplace and I am now at risk of losing it all.
If there is anybody out there who would be willing to help us it would be very much appreciated. I just want to keep what I’ve worked for. Please, please help us.