Written by: Tristin Fleetwood
My Journey with ‘Doctors’
Finding a Diagnosis
I cannot even begin to express my concern for those of you seeking thyroid care in the medical world. I am completely shocked at the number of different diagnoses I’ve received from a variety of health care professionals. Over the last four year alone I have received 8 entirely different answers about my enlarged thyroid and overall health. You read that right, 8 different diagnoses. Along with these 8 ‘answers’ if you can even call them that, I’ve received 21 different prescription plans. That is 21 different medications that ‘doctors’ have pulled out their pad for and just written a prescription without any further exploration into my overall health and well-being. What really worries me, is all of the other people in the world who have been prescribed these things and don’t know any better than to just take them. In all honesty, I believe that if I had taken all the medications that I have been prescribed that I would not be here sharing this with you today. I would be 6 feet under doing my best to ‘haunt’ these so called doctors.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do have respect for the medical industry. Yes, there are doctors who still really care about what they’re doing, and are trying to get the answers for their patients that they deserve. Bravo, to those doctors! And an even bigger congrats to the patients lucky enough to have found them. It’s the doctors who have been practicing for way too many years, that are either completely burnt out; or don’t even care to learn the various new techniques in medicine, that I’m concerned about. It’s the doctors that are new to the field that make quick guesses and judgements at their patient’s expense, that I’m concerned about.
Here’s a brief background on myself; I have a non-toxic diffuse goiter, hemi-plegic migraines, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, anemia, and several neck/back issues. I’m in my early twenties, and my days quickly go from not even being able to get off the couch, to so much anxiety that I have panic attacks. Now I’m going to say this probably more than once, so here it goes; I am NOT a doctor. I am not giving any of you medical advice to follow, and I am not responsible for any changes you make to your medical care after you read this article.
However, in this day and age I believe that anyone who is diagnosed with a condition, or trying to find a diagnosis, begins to do a little of their own research; or at least they should. I say this because when I received my first diagnosis about my ‘non-toxic diffuse goiter’ I stayed up that night for hours. I read every article and medical journal I could find, trying to locate some kind of an answer on what could have caused it in the first place, and what the best steps for treatment would be. I wanted to walk back into that office for my follow up appointment knowing just as much about my thyroid as the doctor looking back at me. By the time I was done with research I felt like I should have just went to medical school to become an Endocrinologist. I mean heck, it would certainly pay better; and I was walking proof that your thyroid could change your whole life. I remember very vividly walking into the doctor’s office for that first follow up appointment. The doctor I had seen previously was out on vacation and I was put with someone new. The man slowly walked into the office, verified my name and date of birth, then asked if he could touch my neck. I obliged, and stared at him very intently as he examined my enlarged thyroid gland. After a good five minutes of moving my neck around and squeezing and poking the gland, he sat back in his seat and begin to write in his journal. Still staring right at him I asked him for his thoughts on what he had seen and felt. That man looked up from his journal and said; “I felt nothing, the thyroid appears to be completely normal, no enlargement or nodules. I’m not sure what the other doctor was so concerned about. I believe that you have a ‘fat-tissue deposit’ in your neck and you require no further treatment from us.” I remember literally laughing in his face. A ‘fat-tissue deposit’? Are you freaking kidding me? I weighed barely 100 pounds and didn’t have an ounce of fat anywhere else on my body. I then proceeded to ask him what his suggestion would be for treating said ‘fat-tissue deposit’. He looked at me and said; “Weight loss supplements, and diet routines.” Something I didn’t mention earlier was at the time of this appointment, I was 18. I was 18 years old, weighing barely 100 pounds, 5’ 3’’; and this jack-ass (for the lack of a better term) just told me I should start dieting and taking weight loss pills. I walked out of that office in tears. I walked straight past the check-out counter told them to bill me later and just booked it for the parking lot. I sat in my car for hours, just looking at myself. Thinking am I really that ‘fat’? Should I really start taking diet pills? No wonder young women have so many body image problems. Not only is society telling them to be as skinny as possible; but now I had just learned that doctors might be telling them as well. Wow this world can really be an awful place.
Over the next several years I sought out other doctors to get a better understanding of all my health concerns. I learned that my thyroid was 2.5 times larger than it should be (so screw you, ‘fat-deposit’ guy), but what I also learned was that doctors really did not know what was wrong with me. Here are the diagnoses I have received in the last four years (besides ‘fat-tissue’): Hypothryoid, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Depression, Hyperthyroid, Fibromyalgia, Anxiety Disorder, Anemic-Hyperthyroid and save the best for last Bi-Polar Disorder. What you’re looking at is 8 different doctors with 8 entirely different medical conclusions. Talk about confusing. I have been prescribed, 4 different types of thyroid medication, I have been prescribed depression medications, anxiety medications, extreme pain medications, iron supplements, ‘weight management’ medications, diuretics, and so much more. No I haven’t taken half of these prescriptions, many of them I didn’t even bother taking to the pharmacy to fill. (Imagine what my health would look like if I had.)
So, after sorting through all of this medical “crap” it took me 4 years and 8 different ‘answers’ to finally convince myself to seek a different form of medical practice. After being referred by several friends to see a Naturopath, that is what I did. It was honestly the best decision I have ever made. In 10 minutes he was able to link all of my health concerns together (goiter, hemi-plegic migraines, IBS, anemia, and back/neck pain). He diagnosed me with a Blood Deficiency, and has helped me to really get to the root of all my health concerns. Along with a diagnoses, at this point in time my specific condition is completely treatable with herbal supplements, some diet shifts, yoga, and exercise. I’ve just began my journey down this path, but I’m already feeling tremendously better and am seeing wonderful results. Fingers crossed the improvements just keep on coming.
What I really want all people to remember, is that it’s okay to ask your doctors questions. It’s okay to second guess their opinions and look elsewhere for help, and it’s okay to do some of your own medical research. There are some amazing methods out there for finding a doctor fit for you; whether it be a friend’s referral, or an online search such as http://hypothyroidmom.com/30-online-resources-to-find-a-good-thyroid-doctor/. I encourage you ALL to strive for the healthcare that you deserve!