On metabolism, menopause and muffin tops

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Why I hate doctors: Part 3

[I originally wrote this as a stand alone post and then lost it. Happily, I found it so I have decided to use it as Part 3 of my thyroid series. Because it pretty much covers the entire last ten years of my life, since being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease. It’s slightly rambling and incoherent but, well, that’s me.]

There is very little difference between an excuse and an explanation, so I’m going to call this post an explanation – but you can feel free to call it an excuse.

For the last two months or so I have been feeling totally like crap and finding it hard to do anything productive or worthwhile. My biggest problem lies in constant hot flashes, happening ten to twelve times a day and several times during the night. During the evening, it is followed by teeth chattering chills (I have taken my temperature at this point and it usually registers between 96.5 and 96.9). Sweat, freeze, sweat. Repeat. This does nothing for my resolve to get more sleep. It is almost impossible.

It’s uncontrollable and exhausting and the embarrassment factor makes me want to stay in my house and go nowhere. To a certain extent, I enjoy being a hermit, but I don’t want to spend the rest of my life that way.

Over the last year that this has been happening I have put off making a doctor’s appointment because I find 98% of the doctors I have been to irritating and frustrating.

And I’ve further convinced myself that whatever doctor I see is going to attribute these problems to menopause – based strictly on my age. And they won’t listen to me when I try to tell them it may be something else because, I’m old, menopausal and deluded. Oh, and stupid. I heard some rumblings in the menopausal direction the last time I saw a doctor.

But the truth of the matter is, I really don’t think this problem with my internal furnace is menopause related. At first I did, but I don’t think that anymore. I think it’s directly related to my untreated thyroid gland, with perhaps some adrenal issues thrown in for good measure. But even when I ask, they refuse to do any testing on my adrenal glands. Why is that? Why do they act like running a special test is taking money out of their pocket?

Here’s how a typical appointment with an endocrinologist goes. It is already frustrating enough without adding in the menopause factor. (In the vernacular of MizFit, please to excuse the language.):

Asshole Endo #9: Your thyroid is really enlarged.

Me: (Thinking: No shit, Sherlock; it looks like an Adam’s apple) Yes, it is.

AE9: We should send you for a biopsy.

Me: (Sigh – I’ve done this many times before) Okay.

One week after the biopsy I go back to the Endo for results. Because, you know, they can’t just tell you on the phone – there’s no office visit money in that.

AE9: Good news – the biopsy is negative.

Me: Good. (Waiting to hear where we go from here)

AE9: So make an appointment in about three months and we’ll see how it’s coming along.

Me: (Thinking: Fuck you, fuckstick Aw, go jump in a lake.) Okay.

So, again, I have wasted my time giving this doctor my 20-year thyroid history, just to have my symptoms ignored and told – “Come back in three months”. Do you think there is anything they could possibly do to alleviate any or all of these symptoms?

No, there is not. Because, apparently, they are confused. And stupid, but that’s another story. Although my blood work sometimes shows my thyroid to be OVERactive, my symptoms have always been those of an UNDERactive thyroid. I have read this is common with Hashimoto’s disease – for your TSH levels to swing back and forth. Ignoring my symptoms, and looking only at the blood test results, their biggest suggestion is that they can “nuke” the thyroid (radiation cocktail) and kill it. No thank you. I have read too many horror stories.

(Interesting side note: Recent studies have shown that the use of radioactive iodine to destroy the thyroid is usually the LAST course of action in Europe, but it is the FIRST course of treatment in the U.S. Why? Because it’s easier for the doctor. For some entertaining reading on this ridiculous procedure go here – and be sure to scroll down and read the “precautions” and you will see why I would rather have them cut the dang thing out than “nuke” it)

So to make this long story short (I know, too late) I have finally come to a point where I’ve realized I’m just going to have to bite the bullet and make that appointment because there may be no other way to get some relief. Ignoring it really isn’t working for me.

And if the next one doesn’t fix me, I’ll try another one. And another. Because my health (and my quality of life) is really too important to leave in the hands of healthcare professionals who don’t care. I’m sure there is someone out there with whom I will “click”, so I’ll just keep trying.

Now on to the muffin tops. I notice that I have developed them. Ick. See what happens when you feel generally poopy and think eating well and exercising is too much work? Muffin tops. This cannot happen. So, it’s off to endocrinologist number 10 for me. As soon as I can work up the energy to find one and make the phone call.

Wish me luck. No, wait. Wish HIM luck. Because if he tries to blame this all on menopause, I may have to kill him.


Laretha said...

a very good friend of mine was just diagnosed with this! thanks for the info and the humor.

Babylon said...
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