TED in the Mainstream
Last updated: July 2023
I had never heard of thyroid eye disease (TED) when I was diagnosed with it in the fall of 2018. I was officially diagnosed with Hashimoto’s in January of that year and no one told me this disease was a possibility. There were no commercials on TV or ads on videos online promoting the latest TED treatment. Those were all in the clinical trial stages back then.
I do not watch TV often but a few weeks ago, I was watching TV and I saw an ad for a TED treatment. Images of an irritated eye on fire came up followed by an image of the eye having a heart in it after being treated with the product. I turned to the people I was with, stunned by this ad. "Oh, it’s on all the time," someone said.
Where were these medicines and commercials when I was diagnosed?
This commercial left me with mixed emotions. Where was this when I was going through it? Why is it only being talked about now? I know why it is being talked about now, the medication I heard about in 2019 is now available to patients. Suddenly, TED has become a known thing, when all I could find were Facebook groups of people complaining about their symptoms and posting photos of their irritated eyes that have stuck with me years later.
Feeling less alone
I am happy that people who are recently diagnosed with TED can see an ad like that and feel less alone. The reason why I wanted to write for ThyroidEyeDisease.net is so that people can read stories from people who are going through this disease and feel a sense of hope. I just wish I could show myself from a few years ago that ad and tell her she is not alone. I was not the only one on this planet going through this disease even when there were many moments when it felt like I was.
Thyroid eye disease can be so isolating and it is really great to see it more in the mainstream conversation with the development of these drugs that can help relieve people’s symptoms and help them move on with their lives faster. It makes this rare disease more known and hopefully leads to more solutions for people who are newly diagnosed.
My feelings: Seeing thyroid eye disease in mainstream media
Though with these ads being on the air and bringing TED more into the public conversation, I wonder if those who have experienced TED before feel the same way I do. I feel justified for what I experienced but cheated for not having this feeling when I was in the thick of irritated eyes, double vision, and all the other overwhelming symptoms that come along with this disease.
The images of the eye on the fire and then changing in a heart, symbolizing the change in how this product can help with thyroid eye disease, stuck with me. Weeks after seeing it, I can still see it in my head. I think it is because I was seeing my everyday experience with this disease reflected back to me at a point in my life where I am no longer experiencing them. My eyes no longer feel like they are on fire but I certainly know what those moments feel like.
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