It’s a scary place to be. You’re having symptoms you’ve never had before and your doctor doesn’t seem very concerned. Of course, you don’t want panic or alarm from your doctor, but concern and attentiveness, yes. As I have written about previously, I was recently diagnosed with a thyroid condition known as Hashimoto’s Disease. It’s usually not life threatening, but mostly a quality of life/pain management issue.
My doctor only wanted to see me once every six months and she never asked how I was feeling, only medicated me based on the limited amount blood work she did. I knew I could and should be feeling better, but my doctor didn’t seem too concerned. I have never in my life decided to seek out a new doctor based on care I had received. Until recently, I took what a doctor said as Gospel. Who was I to second-guess a medical professional who has spent upwards of 12 years of her life studying medicine?
I started doing a ton of research on my condition. I joined online support groups to hear what other people had to say about their experiences. As it turned out, I wasn’t alone. There were hundreds of people who were sharing these same experiences. Doctors were prescribing meds that were ineffective and doing insufficient amounts of lab work to arrive at conclusions that weren’t accurate.
I learned about what tests to ask for, what different drugs were supposed to do, and what seemed to work for people. I understand that a support group and an internet search can’t replace a medical degree, but all of these people felt like crap and I did too.
Armed with a new education and barrels of research, I went to see my new doctor. I was let down yet again. The doctor didn’t really listen to me and wouldn’t order the tests that I requested. She refused to prescribe a medicine that I had been interested in exploring because it’s unconventional. I also know that this particular drug comes from a natural source and cannot be patented. Therefore, drug companies can’t make money from it. Is that why it’s hard to find a doctor to prescribe it? I don’t know the answer to that question, but I sincerely hope that money would never stand in the way of a patient feeling better. I choose to be optimistic.
Yet here I sit, searching the internet for a recommendation of a good doctor in my area that will test the things that need to be tested and prescribe what could help me get my life back. It takes a lot of time and patience to be an advocate for yourself. I know that in the end I will be happy that I took control of my health and played a more active role.