For the first time I can remember, I’m excited that my doctor found a problem. Normally I want a clean bill of health. But, in this case, I knew something was wrong and wanted it treated. So I’m happy that I found a doc who took me seriously!
I’ve known for a long time that my thyroid was sluggish. But, that’s considered a fat girl’s excuse for not being thinner. So I was ignored.
Not that I’m fat. But I could lose a few and my docs acted like I must be hoarding food if I didn’t lose weight. It’s frustrating to believe that you have a health problem, yet no one will address it. Over the years, friends from out of town who’d visit would consistently ask why I wasn’t anorexic thin, considering my level of exercise, athletic prowess, and reasonably healthy diet. I wondered too. I happen to love veggies and while I’m not a vegetarian, I consider myself a veggie-holic. I’ve always limited fat and red meat. Yet it felt almost impossible to lose weight and just a treat could make me gain a pound.
Years ago I was treated by a chiropractor after a car accident. He asked if I don’t lose weight from exercise and gained too easily. Yes! The doc said my neck was resting on my thyroid in a way that kept it from functioning at full capacity and would I like him to adjust it? Yes again! Two months later I moved to Fantasy Island. I was able to eat cheesecake every day and still lose weight. The adjustments wore off after a few months and the doc became unavailable. But I had a taste of a properly functioning thyroid.
I read A LOT about health to empower myself. And I prefer a natural approach when possible. Two years ago I noticed myself getting many signs of an underactive thyroid and asked my primary care doc to test mine. My TSH (the number they monitor) was 3.76. I asked for meds but she pooh-poohed me and said the number was fine. Yet my weight began going up as I ate less and ran more. My hair got brittle, my LDL cholesterol went up, I felt more tired, and other symptoms. All at the same time!
Yet she used the typical excuse—hormones! Since I’m a woman and not getting younger, everything that goes on with me is blamed on that. But my gut said it was my thyroid.
All my doc cared about was putting me on cholesterol meds. Since my triglycerides and HDL numbers were excellent, my gut said not to take any. The side effects aren’t pleasant. So I refused them. Last year my TSH went to 4 but doc again ignored my concerns. So I spoke to my gyno, who just rolled her eyes and said it was fine, and I should take cholesterol meds.
Give the girl some pills so you can send her home! Taking the easy way.
Motivated by self-love, I voraciously read everything I could about the thyroid and cholesterol. I was especially revved by reading what Dr. Christiane Northrup, author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom, among others, said. I also heard her speak. She said that women’s cholesterol levels tend to be higher than men’s and advises against meds if possible. Yeah! So I began a natural war against my cholesterol in June—cutting back even more on things in my diet that could hurt it, and taking some natural substances, including plant sterols and stanols.
Dr. Northrup does advise taking meds for the thyroid. I read an article in a health magazine that said many docs don’t take elevated TSH’s seriously and learned a normal one is 1.5. The writer advised seeing an endocrinologist if your doc ignores higher numbers. I called the Thyroid Foundation of America and the kind woman who answered explained that I needed an endocrinologist who specializes in thyroid. Many mainly do diabetes problems. She helped me locate one my health plan.
I went to him and he agreed that meds can help regulate my thyroid. It’s not super high but high enough to be causing my symptoms. This morning I joyously took my first low does of the hormone that balances the TSH. My gut is excited. I believe that soon I’ll have more energy and feel better in other ways. And my running will manifest better results!
Adding to my joy, I’m winning the war against my cholesterol! My LDL went down 17 points and my total cholesterol is down 23 points. I’m writing a whole article about how to regulate cholesterol naturally and will post it when it’s ready.
You can be your own health advocate!
Too many doctors just treat patients in the easiest way possible. Many don’t believe in natural alternatives. While I’m not against real medication, as evidenced by my desire to take them for my thyroid, I’d rather use something with fewer/no side affects if possible. My cholesterol levels are improving without my liver being at risk from the side effects. And I found a way to help my thyroid despite the two docs who pooh-poohed me.
Knowledge really is powerful, especially when it comes to your own health. Alternatives are out there for those who seek them out!
Part of the problem I’ve noticed with many docs is they don’t have good listening skills and because they’re often rushed, they begin with their own agendas. When I told the one who just tested my cholesterol that I was happy my cholesterol had gone down a good bit, he just said, “but it’s still high.” I tried explaining that I thought going down 23 points in 4 months shows that my efforts to lower it are working. His reply, “but it’s still high.” And he tried to prescribe meds. I wanted to slap him!
When I was a DoorMat I’d have listened and begun popping the pills he recommended. Now I empower myself with knowledge.
I don’t profess to being smarter than a doctor. But my last doc new NOTHING about foods with healthy fats. “Fat is fat” she barked when I explained why some nuts and fish oils helped lower cholesterol. I read every health magazine and question what I’m told. My neighbor always refers to her doc at the loony lady. I’ve given up suggesting she get someone else. She’s comfortable with a doc who doesn’t give her good health care. She’s also devoid of self-empowerment. I’m getting new doctors, and will continue to switch until I find one who I feel is best for me. And, I’ll continue to read everything I can to learn about my options.
I equate taking good care of yourself as a beautiful act of self-love.
My body lovingly responds to my efforts by healing. A positive attitude toward health problems can also help you to heal. You only have one body. Don’t abuse it with ignorance. If something’s wrong, do whatever you can to find the best solution. Love YOU enough to g
ive yourself the gift of being as healthy as possible.
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