Are you fatigued and depressed? Are you gaining weight but losing your hair?
Is your marriage in shambles because in addition to everything else, your sex drive is missing in action?
You could be suffering from hypothyroidism.
Hypothyroidism affects millions of people worldwide, mostly women. Yet it’s one of the most unrecognized and misdiagnosed illnesses in the world.
It can make you think you’re losing your mind.
You’re grumpy and overwhelmed by simple tasks.
I wasn’t suicidal, but death didn’t sound bad. I was tired and had gained 40 pounds in a year.
Something was wrong.
I asked my doc for a copy of my bloodwork. Then I asked for a referral.
He gave me attitude.
“Doctors are human, too,” he said, avoiding eye contact. He scratched out a script for the sixth antidepressant in four years. He had no problem prescribing antidepressants. But a referral? Out of the question.
“When a doctor sees you’re on antidepressants,” he lectured, “he’s not going to take you seriously. I mean, you’re on an antidepressant. We’re human.” He handed me the script and the referral and walked out of the room.
For years, I’d complained of:
- dry, brittle nails and heels
- hair loss
- weight gain
- achy joints
His explanation for the fatigue? Children.
His explanation for the weight gain? Age.
He handed me script after script for sleeping pills and anti-depressants.
If I hadn’t demanded a referral, I might’ve been dead, divorced or both by 50.
I was that miserable. My marriage was slowly deteriorating, along with everything else in my life.
My doc, like so many others, didn’t connect the dots and realize I’d been complaining of common hypothyroidism symptoms. My bloodwork “said” my hormone levels were “within normal range,” so my doctor said my thyroid was okay.
Everyone has a hormone level that’s ideal for them. Just because I was “within normal range” didn’t mean everything was normal.
My doc been treating my lab results—not me— for years and didn’t want to give me a referral . . . until I pushed back.
The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland that sits below your Adam’s apple, about 8 inches below your nose. According to the American Thyroid Association, when your thyroid hormone levels are too low, you can suffer from symptoms that wreak havoc on your life.
You gain weight. You’re exhausted. You’re depressed. You think you’re cray-cray, usually because your doctor can’t find anything wrong with you.
I took the referral, saw an endocrinologist, and realized my doctor was right. The endocrinologist didn’t take me seriously … after I told him I was taking antidepressants.
Even though I had family history and symptoms, after I said the “a” word, he switched gears.He said my numbers were normal and my symptoms could be attributed to lots of stuff.
I was a walking poster child for hypothyroidism.
But he wouldn’t cave. “No self-respecting endocrinologist in the world would prescribe thyroid hormone with your numbers,” he said.
He shamed me into going away. I did. My life continued to crumble: my marriage, parenting, relationships. I felt like a failure.
Maybe I was little wacky because I went back to my same primary care doc a few months later complaining of the same symptoms.
He was ready for me. Armed with the endocrinologist’s report, he handed me a referral for a psychiatrist who could prescribe an anti-psychotic.
I walked out of the office near tears, doubting myself and feeling defeated.
Thank God my hair was falling out.
Eventually I found a new doc, who noticed the short broken-off strands of hair, which were sprinkled all over the exam table, my shoulders and my back.
She sent me to a different endocrinologist, who after looking at my lab results, reluctantly (because of my numbers) agreed to try a three-month trial of thyroid hormone.
By the time the trial was over, my thyroid numbers had inched up into the middle of the range, and I had gotten my groove back. All of it.
I had a treatable condition, which took five years to diagnose because my doctor refused to look outside of the scope of common practices.
Your physical health is tied to the health of your marriage.
I trusted my doctor. It never occurred to me he might not be fully versed in hypothyroidism, its symptoms and causes.
Don’t get me wrong. I have huge respect for the medical profession. But this has taught me I’ve got to question my doc, get a second opinion and refuse to give up if I believe I’ve got a legitimate health issue.
Doctors are fallible.
After all, they’re human, too.
We’re all not so excellent at some time or another. Learn about the little things that make a big difference in marriage and in life.
Known as the Not So Excellent Wife, Sheila Qualls shares eye-opening revelations that inspire wives to thrive in relationships and in life.
After 32 years of marriage, she knows what it’s like to have a happy marriage and she knows what it’s like to have a hard one. Five years into her marriage and on the brink of divorce, she learned the secret to turning her man into a loving husband.
She’s now a wife coach and her marriage can be your classroom where she teaches you how to change your man into the husband you want.