Endocriminologist, Yes! Will I Thyvive? YES!
It’s been a little while since I have felt the urgent need to write. I sat in the bottom of that well for so long, I could barely move. My body was all cramped up from sitting in near fetal positions, hugging my knees all that time. Did anyone know that I was ‘missing’? The ghost of me went through the motions every day, so no one really knew that the soul of me was hiding in that dark place, dehydrated and dying, really. I tried and tried to climb out of that well, but I kept falling back, until I almost gave up.
In dire need to help myself, I begged for an appointment to see an endocrinologist. I felt a little better, thinking that I had spoken up, even with my voice weak and hoarse. I was doing something to advocate for myself. The waiting took a month, and while waiting for this splendid appointment that would begin to explore all the hormonal issues that I have had since childhood, I began to look at my history and I put together a timeline of my health that spoke to every symptom that I have been enduring for all these years: weight gain, depression, insomnia, too much hair in places and lack of hair in others, infertility, plantar faciitis, serotonin syndrome, dermographia. The list is endless!
I even showed it to a few persons who have my utmost trust. They agreed that this piece of paper was me in a tight tidy list. How easy it would be for the physician to see exactly where I have been and maybe where I’m headed. Feeling a little positive, I prepared for the endo visit. I didn’t know what to expect, so every nook and cranny of me was clean, shaven, spit shined and polished, with new underwear, just in case…
I have no sense of direction and become lost in just a minute, so it was almost overwhelming trying to get into the huge medical center to find the endo’s office, but I made it. I spoke up and asked for help, and was escorted very pleasantly right to the doctor’s waiting area. How nice these folks are I thought. That certainly makes my nervous stomach feel a little easier.
After a brief intro from a very nice nurse, I waited for my visit with the endocrinologist. My timeline clutched in my hand, I just knew that this would be the day when I finally got some help, some relief from my physical and emotional pain. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Well, maybe not.
Enter the endo. She did wash her hands. I was pleased to see that. Opening my chart, she asked, “Why are you here?” I replied by telling her that since I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism a little over a year ago, and been placed on Levothyroxine, I have not felt better. My brain is still confused a lot of the time. I cannot think. There’s no other way to explain that. I have gained so much weight and the scales will not budge. I have been sleeping two hours or less a night and the insomnia is draining and contributing to this depression, for which I cannot tolerate taking any kind of medication. I have adverse reactions to most medications that I take. I told her that I was hoping that we could explore the symptoms and find out why.
It was then that I presented her with the timeline, the piece of paper that would tell her in few words, everything about me. As I went to hand it to her, she told me that she did not want to see it. She stated that she didn’t care what it said. She had the facts in front of her and the facts stated that my TSH was fine and that was all she cared to know.
I swallowed hard and became very quiet. She did approach me and felt my neck. She even performed an ultrasound. “Your thyroid is smaller, and even smaller on one side, but it has some function left. You’re fine. You are definitely hypothyroid, but you’re fine. You’re just fat and you need to sleep”.
The quiet and the look on my face must have said a mouthful, because she went on to say “What?! You apparently don’t like what I’m saying. What more do you want me to say?!”
I knew that tears were not far behind, but I was determined not to let this person see me cry, so I squeaked out, “I begged to see you because your credentials say that you specialize in metabolism, thyroid and endocrine disorders, which I have had all my life. Why do I not tolerate medications, especially SSRI’s for depression? Why do I have adverse reactions to most medications, especially since last year? Why can I not lose weight? I seem to have minimal to no metabolism”
She just shrugged her shoulders and said, “I don’t know. Some people can’t take meds. Like I said, you’re just fat and you need to sleep. Lose some weight and take some sleeping pills and you’ll feel better”.
(At that moment, if I had had some sleeping pills, well, I shudder now, thinking about what I thought.)
Then, she told me, “Don’t go out by the front desk when you leave, use the back door”.
What the hell?!
Did she think that I was going to cry and did not want people to see me?! Oh, I would cry, many tears, but not in front of her, not in that office. I did leave by the back door, and found the nice persons who had helped me, and nodded a good bye thank you to them, knowing that I would never, ever, ever return. I was pissed. Overwhelmed, and very, very pissed.
I may have said this phrase to you before, oh thyroid, and I will probably say it again, but it has remained with me for years. “When reality gives you a kick in the ass, move it before it kicks you again”.
It was then that I realized that I was going to have to help myself. What could I do to have some control over my emotional pain, sleeplessness and physical ailments?
I had been doing some research on vitamins and supplements for depression, since I cannot take the prescription medications. I decided to try on my own, a course of vitamin D3 and some calcium, magnesium and zinc. I decided to try melatonin to see if it would help me sleep. Those two, along with some omega 3 oils, would be my 30 days free trial to see if I could help myself to feel better.
A few days into it, I noticed that while I fell asleep, and awoke a couple of hours later, it was easier to go back to sleep and I began sleeping four to six hours a night. WOW! That was amazing, not to mention I began having dreams that I could recall. Chalk one up for the melatonin. The fact that I was beginning to sleep more helps my depression as well, I am sure.
But, I also noticed that after a couple of weeks on the vitamin ‘therapy’, I began to feel a little lighter. I even laughed one day. It was a hearty laugh. Only a person with depression would know a laugh so noticeable to self, because laughter does not come easily anymore.
I have just finished a course of physical therapy for the plantar faciitis, and even taught an in-service at work that I entitled, “Happy Feet”, to help my compadres and their tired aching feet feel better.
Life is not perfect by any means. I have not entirely climbed out of the well, but I’ve climbed closer to the top, finding sure footing and safe holds for my hands. I have been here, sharing my words and thoughts, and when I am hiding in the well, I hear people calling my name. Trying to find me. Ready to pull me to safety, should I start to fall back.
My weight? It’s still there. I don’t like what I see in the mirror, but I am more accepting of me as I am right now. And, that’s a step up in the right direction, out of that well.
(Bio) Kathy Taylor, I’m 54, overweight, yes, but taking my vitamins and beginning to smile now. Smiling at others and having conversations and wearing colors. Imagine that!