Alayna Constantine, now 13, knew she'd have to miss her beloved gymnastics practice when she was lacking her normal boundless energy and felt exhausted. She was dizzy, her muscles ached and her legs felt numb.
This was not normal for a girl who had dedicated so much of her time to gymnastics and was getting ready to enter level 9 competitions. Level 10 is the highest tier in gymnastics competition.
She spent much of the next couple days in June 2009 lethargically on the couch at her home in the Northington Woods development in Mooresville.
Her mother, Gina, a teacher at Shepherd Elementary School, and father, Michael, an orthotist who makes braces for prosthetic limbs, realized she needed to see a doctor.
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It took two doctors and four months, but the diagnosis was finally made. Alayna had two thyroid conditions: Graves' disease and Hashimoto's disease.
According to Web MD, Graves' disease is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism; when the thyroid glands go into overdrive secreting more hormones than necessary and rapidly increasing the body's metabolism.
While Hashimoto's disease is a "chronic inflammatory disorder of the thyroid gland that is caused by abnormal blood antibodies and white blood cells that mistakenly attack and damage healthy thyroid cells." This can, in turn, lead to hypothyroidism, which is a decrease of thyroid activity.
Some might think that the thyroid over-activity caused by Graves' disease and the decreased thyroid activity cause by Hashimoto's disease might cancel each other out.
But, according to her father, these two conditions wreaked havoc on her body.
"Because of the two diseases, it's basically throwing all hormonal secretions off ... to levels that are ... spiking and declining," said Mike Constantine.
Add these medical conditions to a girl who is going through puberty, and you've got a stressful condition that can quickly affect the entire family.
"It was definitely a stressful situation," said Mike Constantine. "Taking your child for a brain scan and worrying about (the possibility of a tumor) is a scary thing."
In addition, the hormone fluctuations led the family to think that Alayna was becoming bi-polar.
Alayna knows her mood-swings were more than expected for the average teen. "From one minute to the next (I'd say) 'I hate you, I love you,'" said Alayna.
Because of these diseases, Alayna had to take almost six months off from gymnastics, which is practically an eternity for top-level gymnasts, her mother said.
She decided to drop gymnastics completely. And she expects to be on medication for the rest of her life to deal with her thyroid problems.
Though her dreams of going on to level 10 gymnastic competitions have dimmed, she has found other ways to channel her boundless energy. This includes sports like soccer and running.
Alayna seems more determined than ever to find her own path. Even though she's only in the eighth grade at Mount Mourne School, she has a clear vision of her future.
"I know exactly what I want to do with my life. I want to be an entertainment lawyer."