Sunday, May 22, 2005

Going S l o w

We've been busy lately. Fortunately, the baby seems to have gotten over the stage where he cries when you walk across the room without picking him up -- that was really a drag.

I've also been tired lately. It could be because I have three little kids and never get an uninterrupted night's sleep. It could also be because I'm hypothyroid. I was diagnosed back in November as slightly hypothyroid (TSH of 3 point something). I didn’t have many symptoms except fatigue, which can be explained in other ways. I had lost a lot of hair in the first few months postpartum, but seemed to be over that. I declined medication at that point because I hate the idea of everyday medication, and because my TSH was pretty borderline. The doctor and I hoped that it was postpartum hypothyroidism, and that it would improve.

At the baby's one-year checkup I had another blood test. I thought I was feeling pretty well, and was hopeful that the results would show an improvement. I didn't hear back from doctor’s office, and four or five weeks later, when I had been tired for a week or so, I called the office talked to a nurse who looked up my test result and told me that my TSH had worsened (to 5 point something). After another few weeks of being tired and wrestling with the medication decision, I decided to get my prescription filled. I’ve been on a generic version Synthroid for a week and a half, and I’m not feeling noticeably better yet (I hear it often takes a few weeks to have an effect).

So, as you may have guessed, there’s a rant or two coming. First, why the heck didn’t my doctor’s office call me? The doctor still hasn’t called – I need to call in to tell her that I started the Synthroid. Secondly, what is killing our thyroids? Synthroid is the most prescribed medication; 40% of the population is estimated to be hypothyroid (many undiagnosed). I may yet explore alternative treatments – I have an appointment with a holistic MD in August. I’m willing to see a naturopath or a doctor of Chinese medicine – however, I’d like to feel that the treatment is likely to work before I throw my money into it. And third, what's with this –
Doctor: Your thyroid is low. Here's a prescription for medication you'll need to take for the rest of your life.
Me: Is there any way to encourage my thyroid to work better?
Doctor: Not as far as I know.
End of discussion. We also did not discuss why my thyroid might be broken. This symtomatic approach to fixing ailments drives me crazy. Why can't we figure out why things go wrong and figure out how to fix that? I often think that if we knew exactly how to eat (and it would be different for each individual) we could improve many of our health issues. (I know there are books on this, and I haven't read any of them. ) But there's not a lot of money in that, and there's plenty of money in pharmaceuticals.

It's been quite a journey to decide to fill the prescription. As a friend noted, it's a self-image thing – I'm not a sick person, I'm not one of those people who takes drugs. On forms that require you to list medications, I haven't had to write down anything since I went off the pill back in 1998. That has changed. Bummer.

No comments: