HRH Princess Haya Bint Al Hussein of Jordan talked this morning about the importance of talking about one’s illnesses and experiences.
In a Facebook post, Princess Haya revealed that she first noticed a “butterfly-shaped gland” in the front of her neck, the thyroid, which was followed by worsening eyesight and “gaining weight rapidly.” She dismissed these as symptoms of age, added, before a medical check-up revealed that she had high counts of thyroid antibodies.
After Internet research, the Princess—which the Princess added she would not recommend, as it was difficult to determine what information was correct— and an incorrect self-diagnosis as Hashimoto’s Disease, the Princess began suspecting she had gluten.
“I had always thought that avoiding gluten was a fashionable [dietary] fad,” she wrote, but discovered that cutting gluten made “an incredible difference.” A committed exercise regime brought things further along.
But a journey remains ahead, added the Princess, stating that she has yet to return to normal thyroid antibody levels.
“I know that there are countless medical professionals around the world who have dedicated their lives to advancing understanding of thyroid health,” she wrote. “Their work is contributing to better diagnosis and more effective treatment…but the causes of thyroid problems remain largely unknown and the journey of exploration continues. For those who are diagnosed, treatment experiences vary - for some, a lifetime of prescription drugs will follow a diagnosis. Depending on the details and severity of their condition, others like me find that dietary or lifestyle changes help.”
But the people sharing their stories and experiences also counted, she said: “I only got better because I read countless other stories by people who were brave enough to say that they had something wrong, and they faced it. I used their advice, and it worked for me.”
She added, “I also know there are many, many people who are not as lucky as me to have the medical support and the money…I hope, though, that by sharing what happened to me and inviting others to tell me about their journey, we will all benefit.”
Princess Haya is daughter of His Majesty King Hussein of Jordan, who ruled the country until his passing in 1999, and is the half-sister of His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein. In 2004, Princess Haya wed Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Emir of Dubai.
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