Saturday, December 30, 2006

My history with Hypothyroidism and experience with doctors

Up until now I have been so frustrated with doctors. I have said on many occasions "doctors are stupid" or "I hate doctors" or "Western medicine sucks", ect. I don't really think that way, it is just an easy way to say how frustrated I am. I do think our system is flawed, and that most doctors don't really have a clue about how human hormones work, and how to fix them. That also makes me figure there are a lot of other illnesses and diseases that they don't know much about. They also seem to just be interested in patching the symptoms, not actually healing the problem. It isn't their fault though. They just know what they are taught, and they are only human, and can't know everything. I do wish they would realize that though, and listen to the patients more. *sigh*

My experience with doctors I have seen about my illness, and the "progress" made thus far:

Doctor#1 Early 2001
I had been so tired, and knew there was something wrong. I went to a doctor, and told her my symptoms, and asked her to check for anemia (I was diagnosed with it before) diabetes (grandfather has it) and my thyroid (father has Hypothyroidism.) She said to me, "I think you are just depressed. I will check for these, but I think they will come back normal, and that you are just depressed." She was recommending Prozac.
I came back to see her after my test results came back, and she said "yep, all normal, just like I thought" and was ready to write me that prescription for Prozac. How stupid to give a girl that is exhausted Prozac!!! I was like, "if there is a problem with me, shouldn't I see a physiologist?" I got a card for one, but never called. I knew that wasn't my problem. I didn't know any better, so I just lived with it. I guessed it was just me.
(Later, I looked back to the letter I got from the clinic. Everything just said "normal", there were never any numbers to check.)

Which takes us to doc #2, one year later.
I was in for a pap, (I made sure to get a different doctor, but it was at the same clinic.) He said "good, I see you got your thyroid checked." I asked that he check it and he did. It came back that I had Hypothyroidism. Yay, thank you doc for finding something! Was prescribed Synthroid. Felt better, but not great. Asked him twice to raise my dose when he wouldn't have. He did it, but not without saying "many of my patients want more Synthroid than they need." Ummm... doc, shouldn't that be telling you something!??!?!
Once my TSH was low enough that I figured I was normal (that was the only test ever taken, and I didn't know any better to ask for more. Most doctors only do a TSH test, which isn't even made by the thyroid. It is made by the pituitary gland, telling your thyroid to produce more hormone.... so many things can interfere with that.... but doctors just don't seem to get that.) I did feel better, but still tired and not normal.
I just figured it was because I was working nights, and also that was just the way I was.
Ended up on 1MG Synthroid.

For 2 more years I lived like that, just figuring it was because I was working nights.

Doctor#3 early 2004
I was pregnant, and this doctor was great, I really liked him. I still didn't know any better about my thyroid, and he kept me where I was. I think if I had learned this stuff then, he would have worked with me though.
I did feel better during pregnancy, and blamed the tiredness I did have on my pregnancy. (Which was probably mostly true.)

Doctor#4 early 2006
Asked me a few of the "do you have this or that" questions. I replied with all the right answers. Nope no more tired than usual (I do have a baby waking me up during the night after all, and what is normal anyway, I had forgotten.)
Kept on the same dose of Synthroid.

Which brings me to this last summer. I finally weaned my daughter, she was mostly sleeping at night, and I was feeling more tired and drug out than ever. My neighbor said to me one day that she was worried about me, and maybe I should see a doctor about getting on antidepressants. I tried to explain to her "it is just because of my Hypothyroidism, I am just like this, this is just the way I am."
I went home and really thought about that, and thought, "why should it have to be like this? There has to be a way to get better!"

So I started to research. WOW! I learned a lot. I won't get into all those details now, but I have listed, and will list helpful sites and books if anyone wants to do their own research.

Anyway, I read a lot about Armour Thyroid, the natural thyroid medication that has T4 and T3 in it, along with some things that nobody really knows what they are for. (Synthroid only has T4, which has to be converted to T3 to give you energy. Some people have a hard time converting.)
So I decided that was the first step. Made an appointment with a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, who are supposed to lean more toward healing than M.D.s.) that someone I know likes. I was so excited! I waited 3 weeks to see her. I told her how I was feeling, and that I really wanted to try Armour. She really didn't want to give it to me. I asked her what she would do if I wasn't pushing for this. She said she thought I was depressed..... Yeah, that route again. I told her I really wanted to try this, and that I would just find someone else who would.... so she agreed.

WOW!!!! I felt better in a day. I felt so great! First of all, the "fog" lifted. It was like when you get a new pair of glasses, and everything looks clearer.... The world was clearer to me. I could concentrate better. I had energy to get through the day. I had the ambition to get things done. I went out and exercised just because it sounded like fun. My libido skyrocketed. I think I was a better mom, because I had more of ME to give to my daughter.

That lasted about two weeks, and then I regressed right where I was before.... worse in some ways. Those two weeks were such a mixed blessing. On the one hand, I now have hope that I can feel normal, on the other hand, now I remember what I am missing. *sigh*

So, I went back to the doctor for blood tests. My TSH was low, but so were my T4 and T3 levels, which really should be looked at more closely than the TSH to begin with. I called her to ask her to raise my Armour dose. Her nurse called back and told me that I need to go see an endocrinologist. I guess she just didn't want to deal with the "difficult" patient. *sigh*

So, I raised the dose on my own while I searched for a good doctor.

To be continued:

Monday, November 13, 2006

I am not lazy.

*It is really hard for me to say that I have an "illness", even though that is what it is. I never thought of it that way before... it was just a "condition", but really, my body is sick. I have thyroid DISEASE, and it isn't something that is just getting better with a pill, I am sick. I am also not just lazy, I physically do not have the energy to do what I need to do.The other day I read something in the book "Adrenal Fatigue" that really hit home for me. It is talking about people with adrenal fatigue (which I am suspecting I might also have) but it also pertains to hypothyroidism, because severe fatigue is a symptom of both.
"These people may appear to friends and family to be lazy and unmotivated, or to have lost their ambition, when in reality quite the opposite is true; they are forced to drive themselves much harder than people with healthy adrenal function merely to accomplish life's everyday tasks."That is huge for me, because for the last 8 years, I have called myself lazy. "I am so lazy, if I just got up off my ass and did stuff". Really though, I also often think "how does she get all that done? If I did half that stuff I would be so worn out I couldn't move". I still think of myself as lazy, but am trying to change the way I think.
Seriously. I feel like I worked hard and got a lot done today, and it is probably less than the average person gets done each day. (Washed 5 loads of clothes, folded and put away, went through my "winter and summer" clothes, organized my closet, and picked up DD's room, and ran to the store quick for a couple things.) The only reason I got that stuff done is because I felt a lot better today than I have for a while.

About me

Well, I guess I should start by writing a bit about myself.

I am 28 years old. I am happily married, and we have the sweetest almost 2 year old (in three days) little girl! Since high school, I have always thought of myself as a happy, bubbly, easy going, fun, and a bit lazy. I can be shy at first, but once I get to know someone, I might not stop talking. ;) I am smart, but a bit of an airhead at the same time. (I always got A's and B's without studying in high school, but I would forget my head sometimes if it wasn't attached. I also am a terrible spelor.) I am a "wanna be artist", in that I love doing artsy things, but I am not very talented. lol I have terrible hand/eye coordination, and really, I am not very creative. I am loving sewing and scrapbooking, because you don't have to be perfect at either thing to make something that looks nice. (You can redo stuff!)
I love to use parenthesis online. I guess it is my way of explaining things.
I grew up on a hobby farm, in the middle of nowhere. The country is in my blood. It is hard for me to live in suburbia, but I know it is where I am meant to be for now, so I am ok. Someday in the not to distant future, I must get back to the country.
I love animals! On that farm someday, I would love to have horses, a cow or two, some chickens, maybe some goats, and of course a dog or two.
Right now we have two cats, and I have two fish tanks.

I am a Christian. I love God, and know that He is watching over me and my family. I have total faith that He will provide for us, and will take us where we need to be. That doesn't mean that I have all the answers, or am always sure of why God does things the way He does. It does mean that I try to live my life for Him, and know He is taking care of us.

Hmmm... I tend to start things and not finish. I get excited about a new hobby, or project, and it consumes me for quite a while, then withers away into nothing. I played Sims for over a year when it first came out. Hours and hours were spent on that game. Computer games in general took up a lot of my time before I had my daughter.
Also the poor fish that I have. I was very "into" the tanks for a while, and now, although I love them, I don't think much of them except to feed and clean them. (I would still love to get a big tank someday though.) Some other things that I have gotten into then not done much with: watercolor painting, graphic stuff, cloth diapers, (I still use them on DD, and love them, I just don't search and buy anymore),photography, scrapbooking (although I am starting to work on this again.) You get the idea.

  • I am a clutz. Just ask my husband. Heh, heh.
  • I love milk, pizza, spaghetti and cookies.
  • I am afraid to eat raw meat, and have never had raw fish sushi (or any kind for that matter.)
  • I love to cook, but hate to clean.
  • I don't snore, but do talk in my sleep at times.
  • I love long hot baths.
  • I don't like getting up early. Even growing up I loved to sleep in till noon.
  • Love the country, hate the city. (Ok to visit, not to live.)
  • I love shopping, if I have the money, and am in the mood. I am a bargain shopper big time. I get so excited when I get a good deal that I have to tell everyone.
  • I love to read. I have been known to stay up all night to finish a good book.
  • I am messy. I tend to leave things until they get out of hand. You should see my desk right now. (Not much desk to see under all the paper and things. lol )
  • I am not gross mess though. I don't let dirty dishes lay around the house, or food.... YUCK! (The dishes will pile up on the counter though.)
  • I love spring, and summer, and fall, and winter all for their own reasons. I am in MN though, so I do wish winter wouldn't last so long.
  • I love MN though. We were in Denver for two years, and although the weather and lack of mosquitoes were great, the lack of water, and green, and family were not.

I love being a mother. I always knew I wanted to be a mom. One of the reasons I didn't push myself to go to college after "taking a year off" was because I knew I wanted to be home with my kids. Thank God I fell in love with someone who was able to make that happen for me.

On the other hand, I actually really like school, and would like to go back just for the sake of school. When my kids are all in school, I will probably go back for something or other... :)

My life hasn't been perfect. In fact, I have had some pretty messed up parts mixed in with the good. Overall though, my life is what has made me, me, and I am pretty happy with how I turned out. (Except for my Hypothyroidism of course, but I will get into that later.)

Ok, I will stop now. :D