Shake hands with your doctor.

Watching a British comedy sitcom and drinking PG Tips English Breakfast tea this morning, I begin to think in a British accent.  Brilliant, yeah?  Sort of how I started thinking in Spanish in the Dominican Republic as a triage translator for the missionary doctors & nurses.

What’s disrupting my psuedo-British misty morning is this “hold music” on the phone-line to my endocrinologist’s office.  Well, it’s not really music at all, but a very American lady talking about quality health care and community.

I sip my tea.  The sun shines nicely in the window by my favorite lamp as I continue to wait on hold.  It appears to be shaping up to a brilliant autumn day.  How lovely!

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Last week, I had a check-in with the endocrinologist over the phone.  The challenging conversation tested my skills in advocating for myself.  Once again I spoke as a partner with the doctor in my own health.  (My numbers were: TSH: 0.008, T3: 3.28, T4: 1.27.)

TSH is way under normal range; the low end starts at .30.

However, the other two ranges “look good”.

To give you an idea of the respectable debate that occurred, this is a copy of the letter I wrote to him as a follow up to our talk:

October 21, 2016

Dear Dr.,

Our conversation on the phone after 11:00am yesterday, October 20, 2016, was helpful.

Proof I need medication, in your words:

  1. The healing that occurred on my dry, peeling feet since beginning Levothyroxine back in July is an indicator in favor of medicating.
  2. It is plausible that the initial “miraculously feeling better” on the medication back in July indicates a need for it—which I did indeed experience, having documented it, & called your nurses to report when that initial feeling eventually wore off.

You explained these were not indicators of needing medication:

  1. Weight-loss.  You said this was from the initial high dose (125mcg) & doesn’t necessarily mean I need medication.
  2. My goiter shrinking is just from the thyroid not having to work as hard, doesn’t necessarily mean I need medication.

I appreciate that you explained this. I understand you’re not convinced that I need medication. On the contrary I am 100% confident that if we find the right dosage—or the right medication—that I will find relief. When we discussed Armour*, these were your thoughts:

  1. My labs aren’t reflecting the disease/how I feel.
  2. NDT* would not be detected well in labs, as you said.

So I conclude, perhaps, that Armour would possibly be an option (?) since the labs wouldn’t be an accurate tracker of me anyway. I am open to trying a natural alternative, and much prefer natural approaches. In the meantime, I’m glad for lowering the Levothyroxine to 50mcg.

I am so grateful for all of your help, and partnering with me to find the answers. Your help is very valuable and I thank you for being the first doctor to diagnose me after many years of suffering.

Sincerely,

Jessica

*This asterisks & explanation has been added for my blog readers and wasn’t in the original letter.  You may already know, NDT is Natural Desiccated Thyroid medication, like Armour brand.  Sourced from animal thyroid, it provides a natural alternative to synthetic drugs like Levothyroxine or Synthroid.In the end, he did lower my dosage a second time to 50 mcg, to relieve the most pressing symptoms of ongoing fatigue and new anxiety that occurred after he lowered me from 125 to 88 mcg.  

I’m so confused at his approach!  He says I do have Hashimoto’s disease…but is considering the idea of taking me off the medication.  I would rather keep adjusting the dosage or try Armour than go off of everything.

Imagine!  Years of suffering leading up to momentary relief on medication, and then being taken off it?!  What the what?  I am willing to keep working with him, though.  I trust him as a partner, but not as an end-all & be-all.  We’ve got to do this together.  I need his help!

Here’s to advocating for yourself.  Need a resource to help with that task?  Attend this free online Thyroid Summit.

Cheers!

Jessica

This has been Day 30 of One Hundred Days with Hashimoto’s.

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1 thought on “Shake hands with your doctor.

  1. Definitely sounds like a discussion that we had earlier about changing to the natural source. I will update you on blood work after being on armour for six weeks. For now, I don’t feel any difference. There for a while I was sleeping longer at night but I’m back to my old patterns again. Weight-loss has become more difficult or should say nonexistent on this medication, in fact the digital mark on my scale is moving upward since the change from levothyroxine to armour. Only time will tell.

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