Help me fight Graves Disease!

Hi, my name is Rinzel and a year ago, I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder called Grave's Disease.

I am 21 years old and have had a physically active lifestyle since I was born. I love playing sports like basketball, soccer and martial arts. Aside from the sports, I had a passion for photography and cooking. In the near future, my goal is to study in the medical field to become a paediatric doctor. I was very active and motivated until this disease stopped me from living my life to its fullest extent.

When I was first diagnosed, I was taking medications regularly and went on regular ultrasounds for my thyroid. My thyroid was larger than that of a normal one due to it creating more hormones than it should. Everything was under control, that is until a few months ago. I could feel my symptoms coming back and my hand tremors got worse. I was losing sleep, felt tired/weak all the time, the nausea and the constant days off work due to this condition really took a toll on my overall health. My close family and friends knew the days I wasn't doing so well. I'd have constant mood swings and the disease unfortunately has also affected my eyesight and made me lose weight at an alarming rate.

Just past midnight on Sunday April 21st, I was rushed to Vancouver General Hospital right after I had attended an event with a group of my friends. I did not know what happened to me, nor do I remember them rushing to grab help. I was pretty much dead, my heart rate shot up to more than double of a resting heart rate (232 beats per minute). The last thing I remember were paramedics cutting up my shirt to access my chest. From there, I was unconscious and unaware of anything that had happened to me. When I arrived at the hospital, I had 9 different IV's going into my body and several tubes down my mouth. I was in very critical condition. I had gone through the worst in what they call a "Thyroid Storm" which is almost always fatal had I not gotten the help I needed right away. I was in the ICU for 4 days and I did not wake up for 2 days. All my family and friends could do was to hope and just pray. They did not expect me to wake up but it wasn't my time yet. Due to the nature of what had happened, many tests were ordered to be taken (MRI, heart and stomach ultrasound, ECG’s) shown that I got heart damage and that my right side of the heart became slightly bigger. This results in more medications on top of the Methizmazole (for thyroid), Propranolol (for the heart) and all the outpatient care and appointments in the near future. While in the ICU, I was transported for two days into Saint Paul’s hospital’s ICU because they specialize and have amazing cardiologists. For 2 days I’ve been feed through a tube and was reliant on a breathing tube as well. I was taking so much more vitamins and medications every four hours, orally and through IV bags.

I am making this GoFundMe to raise awareness of the seriousness of this situation. This condition is in fact very common, but only a few survive if they go through a thyroid storm. There was a male, same age as me who went through the same thing and was down the hall from my ICU room but he unfortunately did not make it. I know there was a reason I woke up and was given a second chance at life. Hug your loved ones. It's never too late to tell them how you feel, life is definitely too short and you never know what could happen. 

I have an amazing support system and would love to thank everyone who had shared their help and have reached out to me without hesitation. I have a beautiful family and friends who had to prepare for the worst.
While I am getting all the help/medications I need, my health insurance plans can only cover so much and unfortunately I cannot meet all the requirements to submit insurance for my loss of employments. If there is anything you would like to give as help, this is the only time I would ever ask. The funds would go help alleviate the financial strain from my hospital visits, medications and radioactive iodine treatments to kill my abnormal thyroid with possible surgery. I do not expect much, just prayers and thoughts as I recover with the PTSD of such an event and to physically recover faster. I am a strong advocate for those who are in need/homeless and have volunteered in hospitals and non profit organizations my whole life. I promise that with your help in getting better, I’ll use my own two hands to give back to the community and to help others in need as well. Please share my story to help raise awareness of this disease and may everyone realize how precious life is. 

Thank you so much, all help is greatly appreciated.

Most importantly, my thank you’s are forever to those who’ve saved my life and kept trying and did everything they possibly could until they couldn’t anymore. You have changed my perspective on life completely. You’re all amazing.
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Rinzel Gonzales
Vancouver, BC

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