Volcanoes and Pharmaceutical Synthroid Reliance
(Guest Post, Written by, Michelle)
With all the travelers being stranded in different countries due to the volcano eruption this last week, it got me wondering about travelling with my Synthroid, and without my thyroid.
Just the other day, my parents were talking about how they used to count out the number of pills they would need to travel with, and how now they pack more, just in case. In fact, on their visit out West this week, their plane experienced mechanical malfunction issues mid-destination causing a delay of almost a day arriving.
Then, the next morning after our discussion, I saw a ticker tape on headline news reading “NY woman with medical condition running out of meds, stuck in UK due to volcano“. Bingo! I thought. This is exactly what I was discussing with my family. I turn up the sound on the TV just as the words “stranded, running out of synthetic thyroid hormone” flash by. Maybe I missed the part where they talked about her thyroid medicine; how much she had left, and if it is possible for her doctor to somehow get her meds in the UK. The questions being asked were about how her husband is coping with the kids’ schedules and what our government is doing since the UK is apparently sending warships to collect its stranded citizens. And the piece was over…What?! Now I have more questions than ever!!
Before my decision to have surgery, I remember my doctor discussing “synthetic thyroid hormone being widely available, throughout the world, even”. But, now I’m wondering if that is true. What if I, like the lady on the news, am stranded in a foreign country with no insurance coverage, and no local doctor? I am reliant on this medication to keep me alive. It’s not a mere “supplement”. I HAVE NO THYROID!
Well, now that I am reliant on that medication to keep me alive, I am wondering, what do we do if we’re stranded in a foreign country without our meds? I know the difficulty I’ve had in the past simply being in a different state than my doctor, or in an “out of network” state, trying to get a prescription filled (adult chicken pox anyone? just me?).
My mother recently came down with bronchitis while vacationing in Hawaii. It took some doing, but they were able to track down a pharmacy their insurance would take, and their doctor could prescribe through.
So, now this whole box of worms is open in my head. This new reliance I have on thyroid replacement hormone to keep me going. What if the pharmaceutical companies ever have a collapse like the automakers, the banks and mortgage lenders?
I just, this week tried to refill my Synthroid a little early, so I wouldn’t run out while travelling. Apparently my insurance will only “allow” the refill when I have only one week left. Well, I’ll pay out of pocket to have it, thank you.
With all the pieces that have to fall into place to get our monthly doses filled; the insurance, the doctor, the pharmaceutical companies; our lives seem reliant on all these aspects out of our control. When discussing this with my mother-in-law, her response was “I guess people in the old days just used to die”. Hmmm…
My mother asked me last night what the effects would be, and how long it would take for the effects to be noticed if I stopped taking my Synthroid. I am not a doctor, and I explained, to the best of my understanding, that I believe the replacement thyroid hormone takes about three weeks to work its way out of a person’s system. But, that the effects would be apparent before three weeks.
And then, as I understand it, the body would start to shut down; than coma; than death.
I was explaining this logically and unemotionally. Then, I looked at her face and realized what I was saying.
Without our replacement thyroid hormone: Are we all just 30 days from death?
Aside: Please continue supporting, Dr. Sarah Myhill, to end the witch hunt for this fine doctor in the UK.
Tags: Dear Thyroid, NY woman with medical condition running out of meds, reliance on synthetic hormone, stuck in UK due to volcano, thyroid patient concerns about medication, Thyroidectomies, traveling with synthroid, Volcanoes and Pharmaceutical Reliance, without synthroid what happens to thyroid patients, written by Michelle