Getting a second opinion is a troll
I went for a second opinion on my Hashimoto’s treatment from the head of the endocrinology department. Getting a second opinion from a doctor in the same department is sort of a “babe?”, because they’re not super eager to contradict anything their colleague has said. I went anyways because I really want more information on my condition, aka, I want more lab work done and my medication adjusted. Despite having a TSH within ideal range, I still had terrible headaches and days where I felt too tired to get out of bed. My original endocrinologist wasn’t too worried about my symptoms and directed me to see my primary care provider, who in turn told me that she didn’t want to “step on anybody’s toes” by ordering a complete thyroid panel and antibodies. Hi healthcare, can you plz get it together?
So I had some trepidation- I’ve never requested a second opinion before or even had a condition where I felt I needed a second doctor’s input. I was feeling pretty nervous, since the last time I was in that building, I got this rather shocking diagnosis and the endocrinologist had an unfortunate bedside manner at best. “Unlucky” was one of the words they used to describe my situation- which was a deep psychological troll of a statement that sent me into a tailspin that I am still trying to unwind. Perhaps that is also why I was there, I wanted to right that wrong and start this story over again.
This endocrinologist was friendly, and I could sense her concern- warily engaging me, trying to evaluate my level of crazy. And I know this look, because I used to give it. I have to admit that I, a registered dietitian of this century, was wary of patients who claimed they have “leaky gut”. I can tell you from my clinical practice, no doctors I worked with were talking about healing their patient’s “leaky gut”. Didn’t happen. So it wasn’t a focus of mine, because I had real problems- like getting-doctors-to-agree-to-feeding-patients-within-a-week-of-admitting-them-to-the-hospital kind of problems. There’s not a lot of room for things that cannot be easily measured and documented, tested for in black and white, and as a clinician- I really didn’t want to “go there” with my patients. There are so many things in our bodies that we didn’t quite understand the mechanism for yet, and therefore these things are on the fringe of our proverbial comfort zone. So, I get it. I understand her hesitation with me. But I do admit, it’s hard to be on this side of the diagnosis.
I told her I couldn’t believe that there was nothing else I could do to manage this disease besides take my medication, and she didn’t correct me. When I described the headaches, and random days of overwhelming fatigue- even with optimal TSH levels, she pointed to my history of depression and anxiety.
Aaaannnd that was SUPER triggering. To blame these symptoms on my mental health was a troll to say the least. This appointment was not going well.
I told her that I go to monthly counseling, trying to communicate that I’m managing my mental health, and she smiled and said “Yes”, and her eyes said, “You poor broken bird”.
Let’s just be clear: I’ve taken some drastic measures to manage my health- I changed careers to decrease my stress, cut out gluten, soy, corn and dairy from my diet- and these aren’t things that someone with crippling mental health issues would be able to do.
I could tell we weren’t going to get anywhere. We were just going to keep circling around the truth, which is that autoimmune disease is historically poorly understood, and primarily blamed on the patient. This appointment felt like some cosmic payback for all the patients I couldn’t help in the past, and wasn’t able to admit it at the time.
At this point, since she already thought I was a crazy person, I might as well go all in. Telling an endocrinologist, nay, the head of the endocrinology department, that you sought out a naturopath in order to switch to the “natural” version of your meds, and have been taking them for the past month, is a full 5150.
AND, despite me telling her that since switching, the headaches were gone and I have been feeling much better- she retorted that these natural forms contain more of the short acting thyroid hormone, which gives an immediate boost of energy, and tends to be preferred by people with a history of depression (LOL!).
So we were even. I cheated on Western medicine with a naturopath, and she trolled me for my mental health! LOL!
You might be thinking that this was really not going well for me, and I might agree with you, but in the end, she agreed to add T3, T4, and antibodies to my lab orders, and start me on some synthetic fast acting thyroid hormone (pending my lab results). Managing these hormones independently will make it easier to find my optimal dose. So, I feel like I came out on top. Getting blamed for my own condition was triggering, but finally getting to manage my disease the way I want to feels worth it.
Being able to laugh about how my life has become a dark comedy is truly a life-saver. Being able to LOL at doctors gives me LIFE, (I’m not bitter at all!), and being able to use my experiences as material for this blog is the icing on the top. Getting trolled by life is gonna happen, so when you’re in the midst of an epic troll-down, try and have a giggle about it. I promise you, you’ll feel better. XOXO.