Over and over I stalked down any scent on the trail to a diagnosis. Days and months and years of sniffing along lab work and symptom lists. Scratching at my own medical records and requested doctor’s notes. The most recent malady being intense joint pain, tendonitis & bursitis in both knees that halted my workout schedule at 14-weeks postpartum. This had begun a downward spiral.
Proven twice the size of a normal gland, my enlarged thyroid has also repeatedly shown ultrasound results of having multiple nodules. So, where was my answer? The lab results from drawn blood samples come back as acceptable to the family doctor. Something is missing, this doesn’t seem right.
Thursday July 21st, 2016 my past struggle, and future path, collided in one mid-morning doctor’s appointment. A defining moment. A target acquired. An instant validation.
I have Hashimoto’s disease. I have Hashimoto’s! A name for the mystery. I wanted to spin around and shout! Later on after the appointment ended, my drive home was initiated by the old hymn, “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow!” and heartily repeated so many times I lost count.
Just minutes beforehand I had neatly stacked my printed labs and graphs of blood work comparisons and handed them over to the cross-legged doctor. His long and lean physique moved forward to grasp the white stack of paper. Included also were highlights of my mother’s health history typed from memory and a current list of my own symptoms. This golden contribution proved helpful to the endocrinologist who didn’t have that data in his system prior to our appointment. I was, indeed, right to be prepared! Months of research and searching. Months of pouring over my labs and digging for that treasure. Though I’m not a doctor, you would have sworn that I knew what I was looking for! The extent of my devotion bordered on obsession, and the treasure-hunt never ended. There just has got to be an answer in here somewhere. Thank God the patient-access to personal medical records allowed me to create handy graphs of the past few years’ results. This TSH. That T3 and T4. Pituitary panel results and so on.
In fact, the final revelation-the name of the disease- from the Doctor was anticlimactic. “I told you at our last appointment in 2012 that I thought you had Hashimoto’s.” In fact he had not told me. Rather, he had noted it on his doctor’s notes, only made available to me by request in the month of July this year. I replied respectfully, letting him know as such. I have been wandering in the wilderness, in and out of doctor’s offices hunting down an answer for over 5 years! Testing blood so much that my left arm was noted a few weeks ago as “having scar tissue” where the lab technicians had repeatedly drawn samples.
As it turns out, “someone” dropped the ball. In his notes from 2012, I was to have repeated labs to confirm his hunch that Hashimoto’s was the answer. That was NEVER done. Flabbergasted, I remarked, “I don’t know why it wasn’t followed up. Must have been an insurance coverage reason why it wasn’t done.” Doctor man had a rebuttal, “No it was a hospital issue. When that specific hospital tests a thyroid and numbers come back normal, they don’t retest. But I needed that information because numbers tend to fluctuate over time and it would’ve given us a better look at your thyroid function.”
I am *choosing* not to be angry over my delayed diagnosis. All these years there was an answer right under my nose, but undetected. Until now. The point is I cannot control the fact that the medical community failed me and left me to suffer. I CAN control my response going forward.
One hundred days of Hashimoto’s will be my journey into the future. My path of healing where holistic approaches & conventional medicine collide, centered by my reliance on God. This will document the refining of my holistic approaches and the beginning of my prescription, Levothyroxine.
You are invited to tag along.
Next entry: What is Hashimoto’s disease?