Ever since my first lab work for Hypothyroid testing came back “normal,” I have a terrible fear of failing my labs. I always knew my body wasn’t working right, but year after year the lab work claimed otherwise. Frustrating! And the doctors only believed the numbers, they didn’t believe me. It was a dreadful feeling. In my heart I knew something was wrong. But somehow I felt like a liar, because see there, the numbers don’t lie so it must be me. But how does one actually fail at lab work?
Its easy to feel judged and criticized if doctors only look at labs. Therein lies the problem. It wasn’t my lab work that was failing, I hadn’t found the right kind of doctor, someone who looked at the lab work but also listened to how I felt.
When I finally found the doctor who treated me (let’s call him Dr. B) he explained that lab work has ranges of normal, but “normal” is different for everyone. In addition to lab work, he said we needed to look at symptoms, as well as a my “sense of self” (meaning, trust my own instinct about my health). Hallelujah! This philosophy about medicine was totally different from my past experiences.
Here is a great example of where symptoms and labs didn’t line up, where my lab work failed me. In my situation, my TSH was low before getting treatment. Currently with treatment my TSH is .01. By the standards of many doctors and Endocrinologists this TSH level is considered suppressed, which means they would take me off thyroid medicine immediately (horrifying). Yet with suppressed TSH, I feel better now than I ever felt in my life. My Hypothyroid symptoms are almost all gone. Its confusing when the labs say one thing but your body says something else. Luckily my doctor looks beyond labs.
Still many doctors and Endocrinolgists are using the unreliable TSH test results to diagnose Hypothyroidism. According to my experience and patients on Stop the Thyroid Madness TSH is not a reliable marker for Thyroid function. If treatment is based entirely on the TSH test, how many people out there are “failing at lab work” and not getting treated?
So beware any doctor who makes you feel like a Hypothyroid failure! It may not be the lab work after all.
Whether you are just getting diagnosed as Hypothyroid and want to try a natural desiccated thyroid medicine like Naturthroid, or you’ve been diagnosed and want to switch from a T4-Only medicine like Synthroid or Levoxyl there are ways to talk with your doctor. Start with then end in mind; the goal is getting to “Yes”.
I have found the easiest way in getting to yes is to approach everything like an experiment. This takes the pressure off everyone, and gives me a chance to learn with the guidance of my doctor. Here is what say:
Hi Doc, Let’s try this experiment and see what happens! If we feel it doesn’t work I am totally open to trying something else.
Finding the right treatment has been a journey for me. I needed to be able to test and try new things. So this approach created an open dialogue with my doctor which allowed us both to learn. Success!
Please note: any experiment is at my or your own risk. So be careful, educated and ultimately follow the advice of a doctor you trust.
Getting treatment for Hypothyroidism can seem overwhelming and intimidating, so today’s post is about KISS. Keep it simple sweetheart!
Getting to Yes with Your Doctor
Whether you are just getting diagnosed Hypothyroid, or switching from a T4 medicine like, simply tell your doctor that you want to try natural desiccated thyroid meds as an experiment! That you have heard good things about this type of medicine and want to try it first. But if it doesn’t work you are totally open to trying something else. The goal is getting your doctor to say “yes,” so lowering the pressure makes it easier for them to agree.
Switching Meds May Be an Easy Phone Call
If you are taking a synthetic T4 med like Synthroid switching to a natural desiccated medicine like Naturthroid may be easier than you think. So save yourself a trip to the doctor. Instead call up your doctor today and ask them to call in a new prescription to your pharmacy. Do it with a smile in your voice. Ask them to advise on “How much should I take?” rather than “Should I or shouldn’t I switch?”.
If the Labs Say You Aren’t Hypothyroid
If you doctor says “according to the labs you are not hypothyroid”, show them your body temp chart and symptoms checklist and explain that you have most of the symptoms (assuming this is true) and would like to try treatment as an experiment. This takes the pressure off big time. And if it doesn’t work you are totally open to trying something else. If the doctor still resists just smile, say thanks anyway, and get out of there as fast as you can. Then email me and we will find you someone better.
Even though the journey will be challenging at times, think of yourself as a Georgia Peach. Sweet on the outside with a solid core. You know what’s best for you, and you are taking care of yourself!
Miss LizzySimple Tips for Starting or Switching Thyroid Medicine