The Difficult Patient

22 Nov

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine’s doctor writes “difficult” in her chart? It’s one of my favorites. And now it is officially my life.

This little Armour Thyroid experiment has been a failure. All my research pointed to Armour as the ultimate answer to my prayers. But in 3 weeks, I have gained 4 more pounds, I am more tired, and I have such bad brain fog that I asked Andy what you call that red thing that you put fires out with. It’s the opposite experience that most people have with Armour. I even tried chewing it up like all the blogs say you should do to increase its absorption. Still I feel worse than I did on Synthroid. My labs are consistent…I should be anxious and losing weight like crazy and having heart palpitations. But I’m not.

Today I heard back from Dr. E’s office. She is happy to switch me back to Synthroid, but this time, I can only have 112 mcg. That’s right…because of my stupid TSH being suppressed and regardless of how I feel, she is REDUCING my hormone dose and then rechecking in January. This is how it sounded in my head:

“Sarah, since you are so difficult and had to play around with your medications, we are going to screw you over and have you get really fat and tired before we help you. That way, it will be our idea and not yours. Merry Christmas!”

I am so ANGRY.

There is really nothing I can do. I can exercise more and eat better, but really, I can’t switch doctors at this point. I haven’t even had my scan yet. So I have to force myself to do what she says and wait it out until January. My family promises to still love me even if I turn into a giant marshmallow. And I am buying a t-shirt that says, “It’s not my fault. It’s my thyroid’s.”

Why are doctors so afraid of a low TSH? Why does that number eclipse my symptoms? Why is a doctor HAPPY to hand out Zoloft, Xanax, Vicodin and Ambien, but won’t aggressively treat a thyroid disease? If you compare the side effect profiles of the drugs, it truly doesn’t add up. My personal opinion is that thyroid patients are labeled as difficult. Our symptoms are too easily misunderstood as whining. And after all, women are supposed to suck it up when it comes to quality of life. We need THREE different billion-dollar erectile dysfunction drugs, but the best we will do for thyroids is what we’ve been doing since 1960.

It’s not just frustrating, it is an outrage. So if you’re a furious thyroid patient who is stumbling upon my blog looking for answers, all I can say is this:

  • Look for support from Facebook groups, blogs, family and friends, but don’t expect your doctor to be your therapist.
  • When you discuss your symptoms with your doctor, be quantitative and try not to be emotional.
  • Make a list of questions for your appointments, not instructions.
  • No matter how bad you want to, never say, “If you always do C when A=B, then why did you waste all that money on medical school? Couldn’t you have just downloaded an iPhone app?”

Sigh…guess I have to take my own advice and be a patient patient. Until then, it’s not my fault, it’s my thyroid’s.

2 Responses to “The Difficult Patient”

  1. Paul May 15, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    I hope you know that when you make the switch from synthroid to NDT you need to do it slowly and take enough eventually. You also need to give it time. You also need nutrients that help you absorb more easily. It sounds like you didnn’t have enough and didn’t give it enough time. You should join the Thyroidess group on Yahoo for support and advice. And please look for an open-minded dotor in your area, ask the group if they know of one. Good luck. You don’t have to stay in this condition.You need to be in chare of your own body.

    • sarahyoung1119 May 15, 2014 at 11:03 am #

      Hi Paul! This is an old post. I did do a slow progression to NatureThroid…replacing 25 mcg Synthroid with 1/2 grain each week over a 6 week period, and I went through months of balancing my vitamins and iron. It was still a disaster. It could be because I do not have a thyroid at all, but I do not tolerate NDT. The good news is that I did finally stabilize on branded Synthroid and Cytomel. I am doing much better, was able to lose weight and pretty much feel normal now! 🙂

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