Anyone Here Canadian Too?
I'll introduce myself and tell my story. I'm a Canadian 34 year old mother of two children, both girls 9 and 2 years old. My pregnancy with my 9 year old was fine but my pregnancy with my 2 year old was not so fine. I was exhausted all the time and I started some "phantom fevers" in my third trimester. I was hospitalized twice in October of 2005 for what the doctor determined must be uti's since my urine was not good. I spent 5 days in the hospital each time and felt generally ill and contractions started with each hospital stay. I left the hospital Nov 1 having dialated 2 centimetres and was told I would not carry my baby much longer. I managed to hold her in until Dec 2 and 37 weeks. I started another fever and contractions. By the time I reached the hospital I was 4 centimetres and it was time to have a baby! She turned out beautiful and healthy but I was so weak and exhausted. I chalked it up to having had a baby of course and blood loss, sleepless nights and so forth. But it started worrying me that I would get dizzy/vertigo kind of spells and muscle aches and sometimes I would "get a chill" for no good reason. This went on for a year and so I went to see the doctor who delivered me and my husband came with me. She listened to my complaints and then asked my husband to leave the room so she could examine me. Well, she didn't examine me. She told me I had post-partum depression and that I looked to her like a new mother who was not handling her new role very well. She said that stress causes people to feel physically sick and to imagine they don't feel well. She really upset me and I started to cry to which she told me that since I was crying it was just further proof of her diagnosis. My husband returned to the room and asked me why I was crying. I told him and the doctor denied everything. She told me that she was a medical professional and she would not tolerate a patient accusing her of anything in her office and that I should leave as she would no longer treat me. I was totally scarred by what happened and my husband pushed me to go to a private doctor because I refused to go to a public one and be humiliated like that again.
Needless to say, the new doctor was a man and had me spending money on xrays of my back for scolliosis?, blood panels, and a rheumatoid arthritis test. In the beginning his office called with every test result but after spending $2000 his office stopped calling me with any results as they were all negative. The last time I saw him he charged me $200 to tell me that he would refer me to someone who "had experience in these matters" whatever that meant. My consult was 10 minutes even though I waited an hour to see him and it cost me $200. So I just stopped going to any doctor period.
I work and my job is about 1.5 hours public transit from home and it was okay for the first 6 months but then the last 6 months were a struggle as I was so tired all the time not to mention how awful I was feeling so I switched jobs to be closer to home. I found work doing customer service by phone only a few minutes from home and things seemed good for the first month. Then after my training I had to go on the phones with customers and my health took a nose dive.
I started these red patches under my eyes that spread to my cheeks and the skin swelled under my eyes too. My eyelids swelled and my face started turning red in patches all around it and the redness was very warm to the touch even though I would be so cold. My eyelids starting these scaly patches and my scalp turned into sebboric dermatitis pretty much overnight. This started January 26 of this year and it went up and down for two weeks and I felt like crap so I went to the emergency room Feb 15.
The doctor decided to test my thyroid (my sister is hypothyroid diagnosed 18 years ago) and they tested me for lupus and sent me to the hospital dermatologist. The dermatologist was great and she treated me with a follow-up on Feb 19 where I would also get my test results. Now being Canadian I'm not sure that the values are the same as America. Is anyone here Canadian? I understand the TSH but not the Free T4. Does anyone know anything about this?
My TSH came back 6.2 and the labs values are .4-4.5 and it was marked high
My Free T4 came back 12.6 and the lab values are 9-26.00 and marked normal.
The Free T3 was not tested.
The ANA test came back:
ANA titer 1:80
ANA pattern: speckled
I don't know what these mean. The dermo checked my neck and I have a goiter the size of a nickel on the right side of my thyroid. She has referred me to an internist but I'm still waiting on an appointment.
I have also known about a "soft lump" on the left side of my neck about midway between my collarbone and my ear that is movable, small enough to say it's about 1 centimetre and it's never bothered me until lately with pain around it not actually in it. The pain is a deep aching and it only comes on when I have what I call my "crisis moments".
I'll give you an example of what I go through sometimes: Today I was at home with the day off and studying for an exam at work. My baby is home sick with a cold so my 9 year old walked the half block to her bus stop alone.
I was feeling fine when I got a call but missed it because it was in the other room. I checked my message and it was my daughter's school saying she was absent. My heart fell to the pit of my stomach. She had left the house at 8:15 and it was now 11:30 and they were informing me my daughter was missing. I started calling her school but it was the answering machine. I tried about 6 times and then started bundling up my baby to drive down to her school but then as we were on our way out the door I reached the secretary. She told me I was called in error. Her school bus was late and so had been marked absent but that they had checked her class and found that indeed she was there.
I hung up and calmed down but my face did the thing it does where it turns red on the cheeks and is very heated. I started this terrible headache on the left side of my head just over my left temple and I felt so incredibly exhausted and fatigued you cannot even imagine. The more I tried to just relax the worse I felt. My stomach wasn't nauseous but it was aching like when you're really hungry and then the chill set in. I turned up the heat, put on a sweater and then a blanket but I was still very cold. My feet were frozen and my hand s were white blocks of ice with deep purple nails. The pain in my head started moving down to my neck to where that soft lump on the left side is and radiated around in my neck and down my left arm. It ached in a very deep bothersome way in the bicep and neck with terrible weakness in my left hand, wrist and fingers. I had aches when I walked too. It lasted for several hours and after I couldn't take being frozen anymore, I ran myself a piping hot bath to unthaw my frozen hands and warm up. This "crisis moment" has happened to me many times before sometimes with something dramatic preceeding it, sometimes not but I don't know what it is and it's not all in my head and I'm scared. Anyone have any advice? Stories to share? Expertise on just what a Free T4 is anyway or what ANA testing results mean? I want to be prepared when I go to this doctor by knowing what I should ask for or at least expect from my appointment. I'm scared to leave the doctor no further ahead because I didn't know what to say because I'm not a doctor or very well informed. Thanks for reading, I know it's super long and I'm sorry.
Lori in Canada
Re: Anyone Here Canadian Too?
Oh my dear... You've been through the mill. :( I'm sorry.
On my PC, I keep a file, titled "Dumb Docs", of horror stories that people on the board have told at the hands of the so-called medical "profession". I put your post in my file as an example of Quackism at its finest. Does that woman actually have a diploma on her wall? I'd have to see it to believe she does.
I am not Canadian, but our thyroids don't know the difference. ;) You will find some help here, even though I can't help you much with finessing the Canadian health service - which, if I may be blunt - can be the pits from what I've seen. It's hard for you to make demands on a tax-supported system, from what others say.
You, my dear, are very hypothyroid and probably have been at least since mid-pregnancy. That "MD" who threw you out of the office should be run out of the profession! There is no excuse for that kind of treatment toward a patient. I can only hope that someday she'll run into a few doctors of her own who'll treat her the same as she has abused you. Karma. What goes around, comes around... you know?
The fact that you have positive ANAs and a family history of hypoT means that your thyroid disease is autoimmune in nature. You must insist on having tests for specific [u]thyroid[/u] antibodies... namely, TPO and Tg antibodies.
The high TSH coupled with basement-level FT4 means you are hypothyroid and need treatment for it... now!
I confess I skimmed through the less relevent parts of your post... forgive me for that... but I got the important gist of it. If this is a new primary doc you're going to see, read up on autoimmune hypothyroidism before you go and feel assured that your labs prove you have it. Don't leave the office without a prescription for levothyroxine to treat it. I strongly suggest you prepare yourself by reading up on the basics of thyroid function and dysfunction. [i]Thyroid for Dummies[/i] by Dr. Alan Rubin is the best book I know of for that purpose.
Please let us know how it turns out!
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