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What Is the Mystery Ailment Plaguing Missy Elliot?

Missy Elliott Kevin Mazur/WireImage.com

Something's been bugging Missy Elliot and now she's going public about it.

In an interview with People, the "Work It" hip-hopster dropped quite a bombshell: Since 2008, she has been quietly battling Graves' disease, an autoimmune disorder that affects the thyroid and has been so debilitating that it nearly prevented her from doing simple everyday tasks.

Elliott, 39, told the magazine she was diagnosed with Graves' in 2008 and it was so unexpected, she couldn't even write or drive a car.

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"I was [driving and] trying to put my foot on the brake, but my leg was jumping. I couldn't keep the brake down and almost crashed," the hitmaker said. "I couldn't write because my nervous system was so bad—I couldn't even use a pen."

Those weren't the only ill effects. Elliott revealed that she also suffered severe mood swings and hair loss. She was only able to regain a sense of normality in her life after undergoing radiation treatments, which helped roll back the symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

While there's no cure for the disease, if caught early, proper treatment can help minimize the full impact of Graves' over time, though sufferers gradually can see a drop in quality of life. 

"I'm 30 pounds lighter because I've been exercising," Missy said. "My thyroid is functioning, so I haven't had to take medication in about nine months. [But] you live with it for the rest of your life."

Elliott also announced that she's planning a comeback album that may or may not be the long-delayed Block Party, her seventh studio LP that was originally due to drop in late 2007, and is working with friend and longtime collaborator Timbaland on new tunes. The singer is also slated to be the subject of the June 29 season premiere of VH1's Behind the Music, in which she'll also reportedly open up about being molested as a child.

MORE: Missy Plans August Party

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