When I first became ill, I saw many doctors and yet not even one of them considered the possibility that it could be something as common as thyroid disease. Currently there are about 27 million people in the United States alone who have hypothyroidism and half remain undiagnosed which makes me wonder what is so difficult about diagnosing thyroid disease. I recently saw an interview with an ob gyn and she said that when a woman complains of unusual fatigue the first thing that needs to be checked is her thyroid. Sounds simple enough. The thyroid is responsible for many functions in the body – the thyroid hormones keep every cell in your body working right by controlling the metabolism. A healthy thyroid keeps your metabolism at a normal pace which in terms helps your muscles, brain and other organs function right. It also is responsible for regulating your body temperature, energy level, heart rate and growth rate.
If the thyroid is such an important gland how come it’s so neglected by doctors? I’ll share with you my experience with doctors while trying to get a diagnosis. When I first felt really sick in 2008 I went to an emergency clinic near my house. I felt like I was going to die – my heart was beating fast, I was nauseous and felt so weak that I thought I’d pass out any minute. They made me wait for about an hour and when the doctor finally saw me he concluded I was just tired, probably had a virus and had allergies. They ordered some blood work too. I was given a prescription for allergy medication and antibiotics and they sent me home. A few days later they called me and said all my tests were normal and I was fine. But I didn’t feel fine; all I could do was lay in bed with absolutely no energy.
A couple of weeks later I went back to the same clinic and this time was seen by another doctor. She informed me that some viruses last up to a month so I should just give it time. I was given more antibiotics and sent home. OK, so it’s just a virus, I thought, I’d get through it. But a month after my symptoms had started I was still feeling sick and weak, and I also noticed I had gained some weight but I thought it was from eating more and not being active. I went back to the clinic a third time and was seen by the same doctor as the second time. She seemed rather annoyed with me and told me there was nothing wrong with me. She also pulled my family aside and told them I was too anxious and stressed out. I wanted to ask her, “Wouldn’t you be anxious and stressed out if all of a sudden your life was turned upside down, and you’re unable to get out of bed and take care of your child?”
Hypothyroidism Diagnosis Impossible
I decided not to go back there again. I went to another doctor who tested me for Lymes Disease which came back negative. No diagnosis again. Another prescription for antibiotics… I went to yet another doctor who wanted to retest me for Lymes Disease since the antibodies might not show in the beginning. Negative again. He too said I was healthy and it was all in my head. My condition improved after 3 months of unexplained symptoms which is quite common for Hashimoto’s, and I thought I was cured. But the symptoms returned in 2010 and I felt worse than ever. That’s when I was finally diagnosed. I was angry that all those doctors didn’t even think to run a simple thyroid panel. If I were a doctor and had someone complaining of fatigue, sensitivity to cold and weakness, I think I would have at least checked their body temperature – when you have hypothyroidism your body temperature would probably be lower than the normal 86F. Why was it so difficult to do that and I had to suffer all these years? I know what their excuse would be because I’ve heard it many times – that these symptoms are too general and nonspecific but I don’t agree. Sensitivity to cold is a very typical hypothyroidism symptom and they should at least have known that. But I guess it’s easier to just prescribe antibiotics and not deal with you that much. If you’re suffering from unexplained symptoms, keep looking for an answer and don’t let doctors tell you it’s all in your head or it’s just a virus or it’s just allergies. You know your body better than anyone else. Don’t give up, and someone will eventually listen to you. Share your story in the comments section below or use the link on top of the page to submit your own thyroid story and be featured on ThyroidDiseaseSucks.com.
If you think you might have a thyroid problem and your doctor hasn’t ordered the right tests as was in my case, you can use a home testing kit to check your thyroid hormone levels. I recommend these Thyroid Testing Kits – Click Here. They are more affordable and you don’t need a doctor’s referral. The results are sent to you in about 24 hours and it’s all confidential.