You can live without a lot of things: a big house, the newest iPhone, or maybe even Netflix.
You can even live without a thyroid.
And junior Grace Carman is not just living; she is thriving.
Halloween had recently come and gone. Pumpkins began to rot on front porches and skeletons were being put pack into closets.
That’s how Carman remembers it.
She remembers grasping the handlebars on the treadmill, waiting to begin her workout.
She looked down, puzzled and unsure of the red digits glowing back up at her.
Her heart rate was 175.
“I think I’m dying,” she said.
She remembers being rushed to the emergency room, where the doctors ran almost every test in the book.
EKG. Ultrasound. CAT scan.
A slew of tests, that just days before were completely foreign to her, became just as common as brushing her teeth.
Test after test. Doctor after doctor.
She was a medical mystery.
“I was really, really scared,” said Carman.
Eventually, the doctors began dropping the c-word:
Next came shock. Then disbelief. And then acceptance.
Carman was continuing to attend school, and strolled into the cafeteria and dropped a bomb on her best friend, Becca Fishman.
“They said it’s either Grave’s disease or cancer,” said Carman.
Her brevity left Fishman speechless.
“I started bawling my eyes out,” said Fishman.
Finally, for the first time in months, Carman received good news.
She did not have cancer.
But she was sent to yet another doctor, this time an endocrinologist.
And her medical mystery was finally solved.
Carman was diagnosed with Grave’s disease, an immune system disorder causing the thyroid gland to overproduce thyroid hormones.
She began undergoing treatment immediately, including a surgery to completely remove her thyroid.
Handfuls of pills help replace her thyroid now, but nothing can replace her unbreakable resolve.