The journey to heal my Graves disease

May 16, 2024

The journey to heal my Graves disease  

Hi all! 

I’ve been trying to get in the habit of blogging every day for a few years now. Ever since I published my book back in Jan 2021, it’s been SO hard to get myself motivated to write. Writing my memoir was literally more difficult than getting off meth. And oxycontin. 

As most of you know, I have Graves disease. It f’n sucks. I’m also in peri menopause, which also f’n sucks. HA! Welcome to womanhood. The biggest issue I’ve had with developing Graves, is insomnia. As a recovered addict and alcoholic, when it comes to the basics of self care, AKA the “H.A.L.T” acronym, (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired), tiredness is the one that triggers me the most. 

I’ve been attempting to write about this on and off since I was diagnosed in 2017- so to be sitting in 2024 and feeling like I need to start from the beginning, is leaving me feeling a bit overwhelmed. I’ve done SO many different things to try and sort this shit out, it’s not even funny. But, I’m finally ready to try an AIP diet properly (autoimmune protocol). My intention is to write about this over the next few months as much as possible to help as many people as I can. Because I do believe it’ll work. You’ll read why at the bottom section. 

Last thing I’ll say, in this opening section, is if you’ve been attempting to do something and failing, just remember, sometimes you have to go pretty low to hit rock bottom. But eventually, as we say in recovery, you’ll get sick and tired of being sick and tired. Read on! 

What is graves disease 

There’s so many blogs and resources out there from proper doctors that I don’t need to go into detail. But in short, Graves disease is an autoimmune condition that causes hyperthyroidism. I’d also like to point out that autoimmune disorders affect female 80% more than males. This is why I will always say sex matters. Also women (females… as I told my trans girlfriend, I’m not going to use the term “cis”.  I’m happy to use your pronouns, whatever makes you feel more comfortable, but I am not, and will not, use the term “cis”, as it makes me uncomfortable), are 3 times more likely to have a thyroid condition. 

Women most often develop hypothyroidism, which slows down your thyroid. Hence why there are so many women who can’t loose weight no matter what they do. And of course are still shunned, judged, and ridiculed by society. I digress….

The autoimmune condition of hypothyroidism is called Hashimotos. Evidently, there is no cure for autoimmune diseases, they can only be put into remission. 

Fortunately for me, I did not develop the bulging eye part of the dis-ease of Graves (I say dis-ease instead of disease usually, because disease just sounds disgusting, right? Like something is severely disgusting like a crusty, wart-filled penis oozing puss- so PASS. However, dis-ease just means “dis” = opposite of “ease”.)


Whether I developed Graves as a result from a family member (my great grandmother had goitres on her thyroid and my mom’s cousin has Graves, coupled with the bulging eye part) or I initiated it from doing so many drugs in my late teens and all through my 20’s, or perhaps both, I’ve no clue. There’s also the theory that breast implant illness caused my Graves, along with the fact that I did my first stint in the steroid journey in 2015 for a physique competition (a minimal amount I might point out, but we’ll cover this in a different blog, linked to the YouTube video I’ve already posted)

But just like recovery, I’m not so interested in the WHY I developed it, and more interested in the HOW I can recover. 

Anyway, I was diagnosed with Graves disease in May 2017. It is said that a major stressful event can trigger the dis-ease. Given that we had just launched my clothing line GRRRL in November 2015 (thanks to Holly Holm knocking Rhonda TF out in UFC197), and all throughout 2016 we didn’t have a pot to piss in, to THEN attempt to hold our first live event for GRRRL in Las Vegas with still no money whilst living in Singapore, needless to say it was a stressful time. 

Needless to say, my breast implants were causing fluid to build up under my left breast since getting them “installed” in October of 2014, and early that year in 2017, I was having to get it drained a few times. When I got my silicon implants taken out, they were totally intact, but somehow on scans I have silicon under my right armpit… sweet! Could it be that my body saw the silicon as a foreign object and started attacking itself? 

Also another thing to consider is that in 2013, I had my first bought of Reynauds dis-ease. I’m not sure if that’s considered an autoimmune condition, but it’s where you loose circulation in your feet and hands and in my instance, my feet turn white and develop little red dots under the skin which are INCREDIBLY painful. Like someone slit your skin open and poured salt in. In functional medicine it is said that you will likely develop a new autoimmune dis-ease every 7 years if you don’t get to the root of the problem. Hence why I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired and will be DAMMED if I next develop MS or Lupus. It’s been nearly 7 years since my Graves diagnosis so I am DONE f’n around. 

I have a history of heavy meth and alcohol use from the age of 17 until 26. Then after several attempts at getting clean and sober (even rehab at 21), I finally did in 2007, but then started using narcotics for back pain and developed a new addiction. Also in functional medicine, they look at if you had childhood allergies (I had them SO F’N bad, like SO bad… I had to have antigen shots every week for years), along with a whole host of other things. Maybe in a future blog I’ll include the intake form from one of the doctors I’ve had (I’ve had several over the years). 

Anyway- I don’t want this to be a book, so let me get to the point. 

I started with an endocrinologist in Singapore who was great. He put me on an anti thyroid medication which I believe was 30mg 3 times a day. Which is a heavy dose, but I was very sick. That lasted for a few months before we started tapering off. The problem with thyroid meds is that they take awhile to start working so gauging your dosage is a pain in the ass and takes a lot of regular blood work to be done. After about a year, my thyroid kind of levelled out and I started working out again. I mean, I lost close to 20 pounds, and could hardly lift 5lbs dumbbells. It was f’n tragic. Not to mention that all throughout this time, we were SO STRESSED out with the clothing. Today, the stress is still there, but I have less fucks to give. Again, a different blog for a different day. 

After moving back to Australia, my new endocrinologist said I had a 50/50 chance of it relapsing and coming back. But if it didn’t happen, it was likely that I was going to be over the dis-ease (which contradicts the “can’t be cured” shit, but anyway). Then in 2020 I started really focusing on writing my memoir (that’s a whole ass other blog as well lol). By the end of 2020, I was starting to notice my heart fluttering at night while in bed. We flew back to Australia from Las Vegas, had to go sit in fucking hotel quarantine, and whilst in the hotel, my thyroid shit the bed again. So off to the hospital in an ambulance in the “covid” ward even though I didn’t have covid. Great job there Australia. 

From there, shit was just awful. And as I mentioned at the start, I’m in peri menopause which started showing up in my life in 2018- roughly 8 months after my thyroid went tits up. I was 36 at the time, and according to my most current doctor, most women start dropping progesterone at the age of 35. Prior to that, I NEVER had an issue with my period. In fact, it was so mellow (no cramps, mild mood changes, maybe just a little depresso) I hardly had more than a couple of days of bleeding. But one day out of nowhere it was like a bus came driving straight into my guts and I thought I was going to die. 

So throughout this mess since then, my spells of not sleeping past 2-3 hours a night would go from 1-3 weeks, up to 2-3 months as they are currently. 

Since 2019 I’ve been taking ambien (or stillnox in other countries outside the USA) to sleep. In 2021 I started taking Xanax to sleep as well, and sometimes through the day to calm myself down. I also got back on ADHD medication in 2020 (diagnosed in 2008) to help with concentration and focus. 

In 2021 I did a half ass job at doing a AIP diet. I ate the right foods, but didn’t stop taking pre workout or drinking coffee and half assed the supplement recommendation. Nor did I get off any medication. 

I acknowledge this blog is ALL over the map and hard to follow, but I’ve been on the road for 50 days traveling throughout Europe beating men up and in 17 different cities/countries and it’s nearing 5pm and I still have a fuck tonne of work to do. 

Game Plan / Gut Health 

Right. So what’s the f’n game plan? As of today, I’ve not taken ambien for nearly 2 weeks. I also got my hands on a new, strong sleeping pill that seemed to work one night, but made me severely aggressive the next day. I seem to recall it giving me 5 hours of sleep. But sometimes if I sleep 4-6 hours, I’ve even worse off than if I slept 2-3 hours. What I thrive off of is 7-8 hours. 

And baby I’ve tried everything for sleep on top of ambien. Sleep hygiene, black out blinds, cool temp, no screens before bed, not eating 4 hours to bed. Every supplement known to man. I could go on and on. THC gummies help for sleep, but I don’t talk much about that other than with my sponsor because I don’t want newcomers thinking that it’s something they can do. In fact, I hate weed. I want to GO GO GO. I don’t like being slow, and feeling out of control. It freaks me out. I always laugh when people say weed is a gateway drug. I went straight to meth at 17. I digress…

Western medicine refuses to acknowledge “leaky gut” as a reason to autoimmune disease. But Eastern and Functional Medicine, does. And it makes sense.  We have 1 layer of cells between our gut lining and our internal organs. And it is said that poor immunity is linked to leaky gut. After all, our gut is our second brain. Biiiiiiiisch - if you want to drill down into this topic with proper science and sound mind, order Dr AMY MYERS “autoimmune solution” book off Amazon. She actually had her thyroid removed due to Graves disease (something she regrets). So I trust her work and experience. And this will lead me to the game plan. 

On May 20th, for 30 days I will embark on the protocol-

I’m off my sleeping meds and ADHD meds

I’m off caffeine and stimulants (which is freaking me out- I've been taking pre workout since I was 17)

I’m off sugar (being a body builder, this isn’t a problem, but not having Coke Zero, also freaks me out)

I’m off all foods other than:

Organic/grass fed beef, chicken, fowl (I don’t do seafood other than salmon- and wild caught), organic fruit and most veg (other than nightshade vegetables which are potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes, and bell peppers). 

I’ve just ordered all the supplements that are recommended (forgot that back in 2010 when I had my first blood panel done by a functional medicine doctor that I had an excesses of yeast in my system, aka candida). This put me back roughly $550. But at this point I’ve spent so much money on tests through OGBYN’s (one test a doctor had me order was $900 just to analyse my urine throughout the day!), functional medicine doctors (testing stool, saliva, lymes disease) and so on, that this is really just a drop in the bucket. 

Although all of this feels overwhelming, I keep looking at it like recovery- my misery is gladly refunded at the door if it doesn’t work. Furthermore, no one is making me do this. But again, I do not want to develop another dis-ease, and bitch I am SO TIRED of not sleeping. I’m losing my mind. I feel like I’ve made so many bad business decisions, haven’t been present, exacerbating my ADHD beyond comprehension… I truly need to do this and do it 100% 

Proof I know this shit works

When they say it’s related to gut health, I recently had an incident that helped me to understand how important gut health is. Allow me to explain and end on this. 

A few weeks ago when Dave (my husband, for anyone new who stumbled upon this blog) and I were leaving Budapest, we had some chicken at a cafe inside a world renowned gym. We got to Rome. Had another meal that may have been dodgy. Then the next day, Dave got severe diarrhoea and cramping. He was certain he had food poisoning. On the same day, I started to develop a very strange discharge which I hadn’t seen since I was like in College. It didn’t smell, but it was yellow and VERY heavy. Before we left the next day to Milan, I left him sleeping in bed, hit the gym, then attempted to talk to a pharmacist that spoke zero English (my translator app wasn’t working without wifi, so we mimed a great game of Dave being sick lol). She ended up giving me a box of probiotics that were in a little breakaway liquid shot. 

He kind of started feeling better the next day. A few more days went by and my issue persisted. I asked him to go to a pharmacy in Milan and get me some probiotics to try and sort my issue out. But this time he found a pharmacy that had doctors in it. He was too given a probiotic in a sachet form, and given precise directions to pour the sachet into a glass of water and stir, then wait 1 min before drinking, however NOT to wait more than 3 minutes or it was no longer of any use.  I started on them immediately (2 a day on an empty stomach). Wouldn’t you believe the next day my discharge was gone. Like vanished … 

So when it comes to gut health, the immune system, less stress, and auto immune, I think this shit is going to work and I look forward to sharing as much of my journey with you as possible. 

Love KO