Thursday, November 1, 2012

Why I blog about my health...

As anyone who knows me for any length of time can tell you, I am not shy about sharing my story.

I blog about my health because I am a strong believer in being an informed consumer of health care and I want people to know that finding your voice can impact your quality of life.

When I was 16 and took myself off my thyroid medication because I felt so horrible and worn out that brushing my hair was a cardio workout but I didn't have a voice.  I didn't have a choice in what doctors I saw, I didn't have options and I wasn't in charge of my own health care decisions.

That all changed when I was 22.  Fresh out of college and on my own for the first time, I landed my first job and got health insurance that I was in charge of.  I found a good general practitioner and began researching what I needed to do to finally get my thyroid in order.

My first appointment and lab draws happened and I got a frantic call from the doctor.  A second set of labs were drawn and only confirmed what the first set of labs saw - my TSH was 35.  Not three point five but THIRTY FIVE.  That's 7 times the highest level of the widest acceptable lab range.  When I realized just how bad that was I really dug in to the research and found options.

My GP worked with me for about a year, my labs got close to normal and I started to have problems with my hair falling out again and I was exhausted, I asked about cytomel or armour thyroid.  He didn't want to do it.  I asked for a referral to an endocrinologist.

She was not keen on letting my try cytomel or Armour but relented when faced with my history and a lot of pleading.  Added cytomel and BAM 60 pounds fell off my body.

Since then I've been a huge proponent of pushing your doctors and doing research on any health issue I don't know about.  I want to understand my body and what it does and how it works.  I'm the expert on me, not some jerk in a white jacket.

If I had known then what I know now, I know I wouldn't have spent my high school and college years morbidly obese.  I know I would have asked questions and would have made the doctors listen to me about my symptoms.

I also would have said SCREW YOU to the doctor I accused me of being a closet eater and lying to him about everything and looking for an easy way out of being fat.

So that's why I blog about my health.  I don't want anyone to have to deal with what I did as a kid or as an adult, either.

Find your voice.  Ask questions.  Research.  Find a community.  Be your own advocate. Keep your chin up, AND NEVER GIVE UP.

3 comments:

  1. You rock, Sammie!!! I love the line being the expert on yourself. After years with allergies and being told that my weight was the reason for my SEVERE allergies that caused me to break out in hives - I dumped that doctor, wrote a complaint letter to Kaiser and switched to a PPO. Now I have an amazing doctor. So yes - it's all about being the expert on you!

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  2. Great post, many of us are intimidated by our physicians and we shouldn't be. They are just people like us with a little more education in a certain field. Confront them and make them do their jobs better. That's what they are getting paid the big bucks to do.

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  3. AMEN!!
    It is our job to be an expert on ourselves, and build a health team that's on our side. I'm joining you in a giant EFF OFF to that doctor for accusing you of such a thing! I have a sneaky feeling my doctor feels the same way ... she just never says anything.

    Here's to a step in the right direction, and getting our ailments in line! :)

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