Shannon was diagnosed with Graves’ disease when she was four years old. Here, both Shannon and her mum Michelle explain what it was like.
Michelle: ‘Being a first time parent l didn’t notice anything wrong with Shannon except she was a bit hyper which l thought was normal for three to four year olds.
'The health visitor who visited me after I had my son started asking questions about Shannon’s eyes. She noticed that her eyes looked a lot bigger in one photo than they had in an earlier photo. Then she asked me some questions: Is she hyperactive? Yes. Does she feel cold? No. She asked me to get Shannon’s bloods taken for thyroid, even though she said it would be very rare for her to have it.
'Shannon was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. The paediatrician had never had to treat someone so young so they had to liaise with doctors in Oxford. First they had to give heart medicine to slow her heart rate down (beta-blockers), then decide how much carbimazole and levothyroxine to give as she followed a 'block and replace' regimen.
'We were back and forth every month to get the right doses. It wasn’t until Shannon was nine that it was right. Now we are waiting for her to go into hospital where she will have her thyroid removed.'
Shannon: 'As l was only four when I was diagnosed, l can’t really remember what it was like. l can’t say l was ill. l know that people say that they don’t know how mum coped as l was always up and about in the early hours and then would just go to sleep at any time during the day. I would then be up and running about again an hour later. l would wear a coat which mum said l would always take off even in the snow as l was always hot.
'I had a blood test and within a few weeks l was seeing a doctor at the hospital. They gave me medicine for my heart. l remember him saying to my mum ‘if she wants sweets, let her’ as my body was using so much energy l needed it, which l thought was cool… although now l don’t eat a lot of sweets as it must have put me off eating so many!
'I am a lot older now and still on medication. They stopped my thyroid working and then had to give me levothyroxine to replace the hormones (the block and replace regime). l am now waiting to see when they will take my thyroid out, but l feel fine.
'My advice to other children with a thyroid condition is not to worry about it, talk to people about it and take your medication. Most people won’t even know that you have a thyroid condition.'