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Old 09-09-2004, 05:41 PM   #1
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Another numbers-focused endocrinologist...

Well, I had hoped that this guy would actually care, because he came highly recommended by two colleagues as the kind of doctor who pursues issues until he tracks down the cause and who focuses on the patient rather than the numbers. But no. Just another endocrinologist who can't take his head out of the lab reports.

Actually, I think he couldn't get his head out of my medical history. As he looked over my history the first thing that he noticed was that I am on an antidepressant. After that, I think everything I said just went in one ear and out the other. My thyroid, which a few weeks ago was so enlarged that you could see it from ten feet away, has shrunk back down, so his physical exam concluded that there are no nodules and it is not very enlarged, although it does feel "slightly abnormal." And of course, even though my symptoms are all classic hypothyroid, they could all be caused by "something" else. (He suggested an underlying depression or anxiety problem.) And the strangling sensation could be caused by a psychosomatic disorder. Even though it comes and goes along with the protruding thyroid at the front of my neck. And of course, my symptoms were awful when my TSH was 3.14 and when it went back down to .8 I felt great. But "fluctuations that small, within the normal range, are not enough to explain the magnitude of the symptoms I am experiencing."

He decided to run more bloodwork (thyroid stuff, plus B12 and cortisol and who knows what else, since he didn't tell me what he was going to test and all of the lab orders were computerized so I never saw them...) and get another ultrasound. But he is convinced that they will come back normal.

So basically his conclusion is that it isn't my thyroid and that I need to go see a general doctor who can give me a "full head to toe physical, and look at both the body and the mind." So by this time I was crying, which just further gave him evidence that I am obviously just suffering from depression because "it is highly abnormal for patients to respond this way."

I think I actually will take his advice, though. I have found some DOs in the area that take my insurance, so I am thinking that my next step should be to go to one of them so that if they think it's my thyroid they might treat it and if they don't think it's my thyroid they will actually be willing to help me find out what it is, rather than just saying that it isn't their field.

Does this sound like a reasonable thing to do? Any other suggestions?

I should have my latest test results in the middle of next week, and I'll post them when I get them. I got my blood sucked today and I get the ultrasound tomorrow.

Oh yeah... And when he asked about my bowel habits and I told him that they vary anywhere from three times a day to every other day, and it seems to be correlated with my other symptoms, he said that it sounded like IBS. Right. Because that's my only gastrointestinal symptom, and combined with all of my other symptoms that would be the obvious conclusion... Argh!

Last edited by kehorner; 09-09-2004 at 05:45 PM.

 
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Old 09-09-2004, 06:33 PM   #2
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Re: Another numbers-focused endocrinologist...

Quote:
Originally Posted by kehorner
He decided to run more bloodwork (thyroid stuff, plus B12 and cortisol and who knows what else, since he didn't tell me what he was going to test and all of the lab orders were computerized so I never saw them...) and get another ultrasound. But he is convinced that they will come back normal.
But he cannot control this, so don't let it frustrate you. If he ran the right tests (Free T4, FT3 and antibodies) then it's possible he will see something that doesn't jive with his 'you're normal' attitude.

At leat you'll have your numbers and those are something you can take with you ... elsewhere, to someone who will listen. Advice here is to try and get in to see a naturopath or osteopath - someone who treats the symptoms and not just the lab results.

You're not crazy and it's not all in your head and you need to believe that - keep coming back here and we'll tell you! We know how frustrating it is and just what it feels like, you're not alone.

Is there any way you can take someone with you next time you go see him? I took my husband with me and it really helped - it helped me be strong and firm and it helped the doctor see that I had a level headed person with me who reinforced what I said I was going through and what my symptoms were. I had two previous meetings on my own with GPs and boy did they go badly - I couldn't remember all my symptoms and I felt like I was being patronized (I probably was - bet this would not have happened had I had the hubby there with me).

Nat, who had her blood sucked yesterday
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A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

 
Old 09-09-2004, 07:09 PM   #3
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Re: Another numbers-focused endocrinologist...

I'm right there 'arghing' with you...
It's so typical that we begin to think it's all in our heads... I did too, before I was diagnosed.
Do not give up!! Your plan to see a DO or two is a sound one. I never have liked endos anyway... Most do seem to be number-focused and Synthroid-obsessed. You can do better, and you will next time. Keep the ol' chin up, my friend ... If you keep your neck stretched out long enough, maybe your thyroid won't strangle you.

 
Old 09-09-2004, 09:53 PM   #4
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Re: Another numbers-focused endocrinologist...

Yeah, I swear if I get one more doctor telling me it's all in my head, I just may believe them... My parents certainly seem to think it's reasonable. They both said "well, he may have a point, don't just discount it without considering it... the mind is a powerful thing..." Thanks, mom and dad, for the vote of confidence. And I just know that they are sitting there talking about it and wondering if I'm on my way to losing my marbles or something (okay, that sounds a little paranoid...).

But anyway, I guess we'll just have to wait and see. I actually don't even have a follow-up appointment scheduled with this guy. He was so convinced that everything is going to be normal that I don't even want to see him again unless he actually finds something. Besides, it's a long drive and he doesn't participate with my insurance. So I just get to call him next week and then if he does find something then I'll go back in. But I really don't want to actually drive out there and wait to see him just to have him explain to me again that I should have my head examined.

 
Old 09-10-2004, 05:32 AM   #5
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Re: Another numbers-focused endocrinologist...

I am going through the same thing. I too seem to hear "stress" so often that it is starting to make me sick (no joke intended). Even with bouncing around numbers and postive antibodies I also hear the same thing. "Nothing really concrete, I really don't know how to treat you". Since I seem to have problems getting in touch with my endo and talking with her, yesterday I faxed a list of all my symptoms. When the nurse finally called me back with some results she could not even say the names of the tests correctly. I too have been told I have ibs when some days i go 3-5 times and sometimes don't go for days. Hair is falling out by the handfuls and I weigh about 40 pounds too much. Weight goes up and down like a yo yo. Very frustrating!

 
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