Grammy-nominated singer/songwriter, Toni Childs, speaks out about her battle with Grave's disease. At the time, she says she was living a high-stress life. Then, in 1997, she reveals having received a diagnosis of Grave's disease.
It took visits to three different doctors, all of whom agreed—she needed to slow down and make some drastic lifestyle changes if she wanted to get her hyperthyroid condition under control.
She shares her journey in a blog, Feminine Mysteries,1 which is also the name of a product line established to deliver organic and "affirmative" body products with a personal and planetary consciousness.
"I had all the classic symptoms," she writes, "My right eye was bulging out of my head, producing the 'Grave's stare.'" She mentioned a resting pulse of 120 beats per minute.
Following the diagnosis, she stepped out of the limelight and moved to an organic farm, where she grew her own fruit and vegetables and established a sustainable lifestyle. She believes that exposure to environmental chemicals is, at least partly, to blame for her immune system dysfunction, manifesting as Grave's disease.
During her healing period, Childs discovered that she was allergic to sulfates, mercury, and chlorine. These chemicals are in our drinking water, common household products like laundry detergent and shampoo, and wheat.2,3 She saw this as a major wake-up call.
Yet, it was difficult to find commonly used products that didn't contain the toxic substances she was trying to avoid, so she started making her own products without chemicals or known carcinogenic ingredients.
She began doing yoga and meditating daily. She acknowledges having spent 10 years learning to love herself as part of her healing process.
"I feel like I'm getting my life back; I did not think I would be doing music again. I've felt that I'm a phoenix rising, burned down to an ash and then coming through that forest fire healthier and stronger than ever before," she says.
She was way ahead of the curve in recognizing the role that endocrine disruptors play in adversely affecting our health, such as Grave's disease.
Graves' disease is the most common form of hyperthyroidism, occurring when the immune system mistakenly attacks the thyroid gland and causes it to overproduce the hormone thyroxine.
"If you've been unkind to yourself too," she says, "I urge you to give yourself permission to be powerfully magnificent.
1. Childs T. Behind the mystery. Available at: http://www.femininemysteries.com/behind-the-mystery. Accessed October 27, 2010.
2. Epstein SS. Environmental Technologies—Unreasonable risk. 2002:70-72.
3. Environmental Working Group—2007. Impurities of Concern in Personal Care Products. Available at www.cosmeticsdatabase.com/research/impurities.php. Accessed October 27, 2010.