Going For The Throat Art Imitates Life
Going for the Throat, Written by Robyn Davis Hahn
I don’t watch much television. I’m not opposed to the “idiot box” per se, and in fact quite enjoy a bit of mindless entertainment now and again. The simple truth is that I just don’t have time to sit and watch, and frankly, if I did I would likely fall asleep. But it’s my understanding that there is a medical drama out there about a surly doctor who solves interesting and bizarre medical mysteries in a neat-and-tidy one hour format.
In all seriousness, I do not live under a rock, and I realize that “House M.D… is an award winning show with a large fan base. I’ve even seen 2 or 3 episodes, more or less. One would think I actually did watch this show regularly, though. EVERY time I hear a story about a person with a years-long struggle without diagnosis, who eventually finds that doctor who figures out their thyroid disease, but then is inappropriately managed by this (now dour and crusty) doctor–an image of Hugh Laurie pops into my head.
Thyroid disease often has vague, nebulous symptoms that creep up slowly enough to even be missed by the patient for many years. Clearly, awareness that a disease could and should be suspected for women who complain of being tired, unmotivated, and gaining weight is needed, for both doctors and the general population.
But I would also purport that thyroid disease is a de facto medical mystery, regardless of our level of understanding. Put simply, I now believe that there is no “typical” thyroid disease–we may have consistent or comparable symptoms, but that’s where the similarities end. Since being diagnosed myself and hearing about friends’ thyroid journeys, I have noticed that the beginnings have that familiar ring, but then the stories diverge. It would seem that none of us responds the same to treatment–some do great on synthetic T4, others NDT only, some a combination with T3. I have friends on over 200 mcg of T4 daily and friends on 75 mcg. Some were initially seriously ill with a TSH of 5, others with a TSH in the 20s. Additionally changes in lifestyle and diet are met with varying results, putting some into remission and making no difference to others.
Why is thyroid disease so hard to treat?, Treatment appears to actually be more difficult than diagnosis (which is already a feat in itself), and I’m not sure our doctors have the knowledge, or if that knowledge is even possible. Humans are far more intricate, delicate, and complicated than we usually admit or recognize, and obviously one size does not fit all. When dealing with the thyroid–a key player in so many body functions and processes–multiple cause and effect cascades are triggered, the ramifications of which may not be immediately, or ever, apparent.
Where is Dr. House when you need him?
Robyn – Robyn[at]dearthyroid[.]org
Tags: Going for the Throat: Art Imitates Life, House, no typical thyroid disease, patients response to thyroid treatments, Robyn Davis Hahn Health Care Writer, television drama health, thyroid diagnoses difficult, treatment versus diagnosis, why is thyroid disease hard to diagnose