Tuesday, November 30, 2010

It pays to be proactive with your health

Ok, I made my ex-doctor (before I fired her) give me a referral to an endocrinologist (one that I picked out), and it's a damned good thing I did. Even though all my thyroid hormone levels are normal, my thyroid is enlarged enough that, with the family history of thyroid cancer, the endo thinks it's a good idea to have my thyroid removed.
Dr A and I had a long talk about my weight, and she really understands, a lot better than Dr W ever did. Dr A agrees with Dr W that calories in/out works, but only for some people. Dr A said that genetics can interfere with that, and if there are a lot of fat people in your family, you can end up being fat and there isn't much you can do about it other than eat healthfully and exercise, which isn't going to make you lose weight, but will help you stay healthy. When I told her that all the women in our family, both sides, start out average-sized, then get fat when they have kids and get fatter as they age, but live to their mid/late-80s, she said that I shouldn't worry so much about my weight, but worry more about whether my other numbers are good and if my heart and lungs are functioning the way they should. Which was rather refreshing to hear, ya know? And that was the first doctor's office I've ever been to that actually had gowns that fit me and chairs that didn't dig into my hips/thighs when I sat in them. It was a totally awesome experience.
There isn't any way to shrink my thyroid and it will only keep getting bigger, which can cause a lot of problems farther down the road. She scheduled me for another thyroid ultrasound, which I had done yesterday. They called with the results today, and if it weren't for the fact that I have a consultation with a surgeon next week about removing my thyroid, they would want to do a biopsy of the mass they found at the back of my thyroid. It's not a nodule, they aren't sure what it is, but since the thyroid is coming out, no biopsy is necessary. Thank you Dr W for blowing off my concerns about my thyroid.....NOT. And thank you, Dr A, for taking me seriously and checking things out further.
I also saw Dr J today, he's my orthopedic doc that takes care of my arthritis. He couldn't believe that Dr W wouldn't prescribe anything stronger than relafen for my knee. So he gave me a prescription for Celebrex to see how that works for me. He did say that I'm looking at having my knee replaced some time in the near future. He told me that it would be 3 days in the hospital, then maybe a week in a nursing home. I told him I thought I could probably come home from the hospital, after all, we have a handicapped toilet and shower, I have a walker already, and I can sleep in my recliner until I can do the stairs to the bedroom in the basement. And there are no other stairs in the house that I would have to do right away, and no steps into the house. Best of all, my weight isn't even a concern for him as far as doing the surgery (is he an awesome doctor or what).
I also have an appointment next week with the gynecologist to check out the bleeding. Now that's been going on for 2 1/2 years, and started back when I was taking Cymbalta and relafen (and vaginal bleeding is a side effect of those two drugs interacting with each other). Even though I quit taking the Cymbalta 4 months ago, the bleeding didn't stop (it's been an on-and-off thing all this time and Dr W has never followed up on it since I first mentioned it to her, other than having me see the gynecologist 2 1/2 years ago for an endometrial biopsy, which came back negative). So, even though that biopsy was negative, and bleeding is a side effect of the 2 drugs I was taking, she's just sure I have endometrial cancer and need another biopsy done. Yeah, having one of those done is just so easy with a stenotic cervix (it hurts, let me tell you). But I'm having it done, just in case something has changed. And if the gyno recommends a hysterectomy, I'm demanding that it all come out, ovaries too, since ovarian cancer killed my mother and several other relatives on her side of the family. I'm not going to piss around with it, if he wants to take out part of it, it all comes out. I'm done taking advice that I don't think is good for me.


  1. Fabulous new doctor you found, good job.

    So by saying your thyroid numbers were normal, did they give you a specific number? I had a super crazy period until I was on thyroid meds for a 6 months and it finally started normalizing without any other drugs or interventions (I could make my period be pretty normal by exercising 3 hours or more a day, not really something I could commit to until menopause). I read on Well Rounded Mama's site that a messed up thyroid could mess with your period. Oh, and I also had "normal" thyroid results but my doctor prescribed a thyroid replacement anyway because I had all the other symptoms.

    Good luck with your ob/gyn.

  2. Kate - My TSH was 1.41, Free T4 was 1.03, and Free T3 was 2.8, which are all within the normal ranges of the lab they used.
    The thing with the bleeding is that I'm post-menopausal, so Dr W should have been more concerned about it than she was, especially knowing that my mother had ovarian cancer. She did the one referral to the gyno, and never asked me if the bleeding ever resolved at any of my visits after that. She's done 2 pap smears since then, so that would have been a good time for her to ask about it. But she blew that off, just like she blew off my concerns about my thyroid. Which is why I walked out on her and won't be going back.

  3. They usually leave the ovaries so that they still make some of the hormones you need in your body......but given your family history, I understand your concerns, esp since ovarian cancer is so hard to find in its early stages.

    Glad you found a much better doctor this time! YAY!

  4. I'm over the moon for you! What a difference a week makes! It's amazing how much it means to find a doctor who can truly see you and not just fat. Your new doctor sounds like he/she understands on a much deeper and thoughtful level the issues you have and you will be much better off without having to endure the fat-goggle wearing EX-doctor you had! Just think how much better off you will be now that you don't have to prepare yourself mentally, or put on your thick skin, just to see the doctor. Maybe you could ask your endo doc to recommend a good GP to you? Most doctors know who the good ones are :)
    *hugs & happy faces to you*!!!

  5. Well-Rounded Mama - That's the thing, with me being fat, Dr W made the comment that she couldn't feel my ovaries, and when they did the ultrasound, they couldn't find my ovaries for the same reason. So if I did end up with ovarian cancer, it probably wouldn't be found until it was too late to do anything about it. Not a chance I'm willing to take with the family history of ovarian cancer, and I don't care if the doctors like my attitude or not.
    And yeah, I'm so glad I found a good endocrinologist, she's great.

  6. Regina - I had thought about asking her if she knew of a good GP who isn't fat-phobic. I'll do that the next time I see her, which will probably be after I have my thyroid removed, as she'll have to decide what dosage/type of thyroid meds she wants me to take.

  7. Good luck with the thyroid removal! I'm glad they found whatever it is.

    If you find a doc willing to take your ovaries, let me know - I can't find one that will do this for me either. I'm an "all or nothing" about this too - if I'm going to be down 6-8 weeks it better be to completely take all the crap out.

  8. Thank Maude you found an amazing and caring doctor! And thank you, from me, for not giving up! I wish I had more to say, but just thank you for this post and all of your posts. Rock on!

  9. I am so glad that you found a team of doctors who take your health concerns seriously and who are not fixated on weight as being the culprit for everything! When I had my hysterectomy a couple of years ago, I also insisted that they remove everything. I'd had an ovary removed 16 years earlier because of a benign mass (though they didn't know it was benign until they took it out), and then a few years ago got to the point where I couldn't live with the pain and bleeding caused by fibroids. They initially wanted to only remove my uterus and leave the remaining ovary in place, but I told them to take it all out. With my history, I didn't want to end up having to have another surgery for further lady problems a couple of years down the road. Your family history I think is even more reason to just get it done and over with. I hadn't realized how awful I'd been feeling all those years I lived with chronic pain and tiredness. Hope all goes well for you!

  10. Thank the Lord! So happy you are FINALLY getting the kind of help you need and deserve.

  11. I am glad you are getting treatment for your thyroid, the thyroid alone could be affecting your weight, did they say why it is swelling, do you have goiter or nodules? Happy you have some doctors now listening.


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