Monday, August 17, 2009

Thyroid and Antidepressants

I have been vindicated! I cannot tell you how happy I am to write this post (although some of you may think I'm crazy before it's over). I have been on a long journey and have finally come to the end. Let me slow down and start at the beginning...

About six years ago I moved to Little Rock, AR to begin grad school. At that time I started feeling funny - not quite myself. Gaining a little weight (even though I was still training for Miss LA and had never had this problem before), emotional, and fatigued. All normal reactions to grad school, so I just wrote it off. My third year I began my residency and moved to Monroe, LA. There the symptoms really started to kick in - terrible fatigue (the kind that you're so tired when you're driving home at 5pm after work you feel drunk), more weight gain, really emotional, and fast heartbeat. Again, I attributed all this to stress and beginning a new career. This is three years now. So I moved back to Shreveport and started dating Don. He and his family were just shocked at the fact that I was always tired. I would go to bed at like 8 pm every night. Poor Don started getting very worried. But I was putting on a brave face and pushing it hard to keep up. I'd already mentioned all my symptoms along the years to my doctors and they all said it was nothing. My Ob/Gyn in Monroe said it could be my thyroid, but instead of giving me a blood test she gave me a quiz. A QUIZ! Really? Can we say lazy?

Anyway, the wonderful day came when Don proposed. Soon after that he put his foot down and made me go to the doctor. I went to my family doctor, explained all my symptoms and told him I would not be leaving until he actually did something. He drew some blood and told me he'd call me with the results.

The results came back that I had hypothyroidism. What? Basically, he said my thyroid was a little underactive and I would need to take a synthetic hormone for the rest of my life. I could live with that. Anything to make me feel better and help me loose the 20 lbs I'd put on. But the annoying thing was he never did any follow-up. I learned later that I should have been getting blood work every 4-6 weeks to check my levels and ensure my dosage was correct.

So, of course, I started to feel like crap again about 3 months later. I found an endocrinologist, and thought this person would take care of me. He was nice and he listened - but he prescribed me an antidepressant. So instead of looking into my strange symptoms and finding out what was wrong with me, he decided I was a little high strung and depressed. Yeah, that makes sense.

I gave up at that point. I was tired of going to doctors and being made to feel I was crazy. I must be a hypochondriac because my symptoms in someone my age without children just didn't make sense.

Don would not have it. The breaking point was when my heart starting beating so fast and so hard I thought I was going to pass out. Literally started seeing stars. Well, I'd just started my new job in the clinic and so I made an appointment with our endocrinologist. Who just so happens to be a woman. She spent 5 minutes talking with me and knew exactly what was wrong with me. Of course, she took some actual blood to confirm (no quiz here). Turns out I do not have hypothyroidism, I have the complete opposite - Grave's Disease. Grave's disease is hyperactivity of the thyroid. So my other doctor basically prescribed me more of what was making me sick and made the problem worse. My current doctor said she's surprised I didn't show up in the ER with cardiac arrest.

So that was a happy day. I finally knew what was wrong with me. I was not imagining it or being a crazy hypochondriac or anything, I really was sick. The treatment is to basically kill my thyroid and then start me back on the synthetic hormone. We killed the thyroid by taking radiated iodine. Nice huh? I could not be around people for 2 whole days because I could have given them radiation poisoning. Don had to sleep in another bed room for 2 weeks.

It will all be worth it though. I will be well and feeling good. I go back to the doctor on the 3rd to follow up the killing of the thyroid and get my new hormone dosage. We did have to put off having children for a year, but this way my baby will be healthy as well.

Well, that's my long story. I felt some of you might benefit from my struggle. Do not ever let a doctor intimidate you or make you feel like you're crazy. You know your body better than anyone and you know when something is wrong. If your doctor won't listen to you, find another.

Ok that was long, so I'll stop now. Good bye.

5 comments:

Charon Benton said...

I'm glad you trusted your instincts and continued to find a dr. that would listen to you!

SasparillaSasquatch said...

I'm glad you trusted this Don character... sounds like a sharp guy.

TheFancyFritter said...

Oh wow! I'm so glad that things are always figured out! I remember mom had to her thyroid removed after she had Lindsay...I can't remember if it was the same thing you have though. I'm so glad you finally found a good doctor too! :)

TheFancyFritter said...

OK! I gave wrong information! LOL..My mom had a lump removed off her thyroid after Lindsay was born. She didn't have it removed! LOL...Just wanted to set things straight...lol..I hope you don't have to have it removed either...

Anonymous said...

I just got a call from mt GP that my blood test came back with abnoramal thyroid. This little post is encouraging! Thank you!