Could they have come up with a worse name for a disease? I mean, I’m just wondering.
It’s named after Dr. Robert J. Graves, but couldn’t they have called it RJ’s disease, or something? Why don’t they just call it Cadaver-itis?
Wait, that would be a swelling of the corpse and that’s just gross.
But really? Graves disease?
And would you want to see a physician named Dr. Graves? Talk about poor marketing. Business must have been booming for that guy. I bet he made a killing.
Okay, anyway. Back to my list. My naturopathic doctor had given me three things to do: see another endocrinologist, get an eye exam and have a bone density test. Here’s how I did:
1. See an endocrinologist.
My nat doc indicated that there was some degree of urgency for this item, seeing as my levels were so high. In fact, he didn’t even want to prescribe a thyroid blocker for me because he thought that with those kinds of numbers I’d be able to get in to see a new doctor faster. Perks. Yay.
I asked him if he could recommend someone to me. He had only one suggestion, but that particular doctor was over an hour away from my house. This doctor also did not get great patient reviews online. I called my OB-GYN, who had given me my original referral. She didn’t have anyone new to recommend. There aren’t a lot of endocrinologists in Maine and other than asking my current doctors – both of whom came up short – I had no way of knowing whether one was better than another.
So, I ended up back at the endocrinologist who had diagnosed me five years ago. I know. Why, right? When I already knew I didn’t like how he handles my case. The fact of the matter is that I didn’t know where else to go.
This time, though, I asked my husband to come with me, which he was glad to do. I guess I thought that if he were there he could help me make the doctor understand my concerns. Right.
We got an appointment right away and within a week I was back in the waiting room filling out all the useless forms that they make you update and then never look at: family history, current symptoms, past symptoms, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Funny, since once you get in the exam room, the doctor asks you the same exact questions.
I really despise it when people waste my time.
The nurse brought us in and took my pulse and blood pressure. Many people can assess their general thyroid condition by monitoring their pulse. I am not one of them. My heart rate doesn’t go up when I’m hyperthyroid, so this does me no good whatsoever as an indicator. Probably better for my heart, though. My pulse and pressure were excellent, as always. I’d be in great shape if I weren’t so messed up.
Then the doctor came in and we started talking. I expressed my concerns about being 35 years old with a husband just back from a year-long deployment. I explained that radioactive iodine was out for me, not least because I didn’t want to wait another year before trying to conceive. He smiled and said, “Six months.” Whatever. I’d wait a year, but either way I’m not doing it, so moot point.
He did not recommend surgery, as both the wait time and the recovery time were longer, so it could take up to a year anyway.
Our last option was putting me on another blocker, but I was afraid of potential effects from being on medication while TTC or being pregnant. The doctor told me that he could put me on a drug called propylthiouracil (PTU) which was safer for pregnancies as it didn’t penetrate the uterine wall as much as methimazole does.
I had a surreal moment, wondering whether we were actually talking about my uterine wall and whether or not certain drugs could be harmful to a potential fetus. I never wanted to do things this way.
But my doctor didn’t bat an eye. He assured me that pregnancy and breast-feeding were not issues with this drug. Okay. Well, not my first choice, but really, what choice do I have?
Then I asked about the dosage. Historically when I’ve been on blockers they’ve dropped me into the low end of normal, or even into the realm of hypothyroid and this is when I really feel like crap. I’m talking about the kind of thing that affects my quality of life: persistent, low-grade depression that makes dragging my ass off the couch a chore and produces thoughts that are so negative – even for me – that it begins to wreak havoc on my personal relationships. Then there are the chronic fatigue, the muscle pain and the constipation.
I’d rather be hyperthyroid any day of the week. At least paranoia is functional.
I specifically stated several times that I wanted to stay in the mid to high range of the scale. I asked whether the dosage could be lowered or the medication taken every other day or even once a week, if necessary. The doc indicated that we’d work it out, saying that he’d monitor my levels frequently - every two to four weeks - and so I asked him to write the script.
I had it filled and began taking it on January 24th. He ordered lab work for two weeks from that date.
I’ll tell you about those results tomorrow. For now, let’s get on with the list.
2. Eye appointment.
Done. Everything is fine with my eyes other than that I stare at a computer all day long and I’m 35 years old. I don’t have Graves eyes, which is about the best news I’d had so far.
3. Bone density test.
I haven’t had this done yet. For no other reason than I just don’t want to.
About a month ago, T and I were out shovelling the driveway when I slipped on the ice and fell square on my knee cap. It hurt. But I laughed, then I got up and I walked around.
“I just had my bone density test!” I called to T.
“Oh?” he said.
“Yeah, I just fell on my knee and it didn’t shatter, so I guess I’m good.”
Works for me. I’m tired of doctor’s appointments.
How about you? How do you feel about doctors appointments? Do you mind them? Hate them? Avoid them altogether?