There are a lot of difficult things to contend with when trying to heal yourself without the (apparent) co-operation of the medical establishment.
Firstly, you have to assimilate a lot of information about your condition, especially if your symptoms are numerous and, in the main, a little nebulous. Had it not been for the article on the Daily Health Post, it may not have occurred to me that my thyroid may be at fault and I would have carried on thinking that I was just getting older, that my menopausal hormones were to blame for some of the symptoms, etc., etc. Once I started trying to get information on thyroid issues, I found myself bombarded with snippets, advice and possible “fixes” for my troubles. When brain fog is one of your symptoms, then it becomes a little harder to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff and, for me, this process took 2-3 weeks of lots of reading. When I became fairly certain of the root cause of my issues (through blood tests) I then had to start getting some information on how the whole human endocrine system works and the brain overload started. In some ways, it’s not entirely surprising that GPs fail to diagnose a huge number of potential thyroid cases – it’s a group of disorders which mimics numerous other conditions and if the patient is unable to clearly articulate their issues, I can understand how a GP may make assumptions about depression and stress.
What I still find it hard to understand is how so many supposed experts (the endocrinologists) then dismiss so many patients who are then left to either fend for themselves or, as seems to happen in so many cases, feel so ill, worn out and run down that they almost descend into a vegetative state and are unable to see a way forward.
I know that IT and medicine are far removed from one another but surely the diagnostic process should be the same? Start with the basics and rule out something simple. If that doesn’t work (in IT that would be the system you’re trying to fix still being fritzed and in medicine that would be the patient still being ill) then you look at the less basic things and work your way up until an optimal output is accomplished (IT = the system works, medicine = patient feeling better). Is this too simplistic? Perhaps. I know there are lots of IT bods out there who go in for the top-end, complicated fixes first and then wonder why it doesn’t work first time but it seems that, in a lot of medical cases, neither basics nor the top-end fixes are tried, which I find rather shameful and, to a degree, reprehensible.
When fixing IT issues, I’ve had to deal with a lot of people who are IT-illiterate and don’t know a mouse from a keyboard (well, that may be overstating the case, but I think you get the drift). To dismiss them as idiots and not help them is not an option for me although, from some of the personal stories and posts I’ve read, this seems to be how a lot of consultants treat their patients. Am I naïve in thinking that, in order to go into medicine, there’s an element of wanting to help people or is it all about the money?
As for the “fixes” in both professions, there’s often little point in throwing every type of known fix at the problem until you’ve managed to define it. Obviously you can do this and hopefully something in the maze will fix the issue but if you’ve thrown several things into the mix at once, how can you know which one of them was the actual fix? And doesn’t that then smack of not getting to the root cause of the original issue?
Whilst trying to heal myself, I have had to reign myself in – there are several avenues of health that I can pursue as endocrinology is more than a little complex but as I’m still unsure as to the true root cause (vitamin deficiency, adrenal issues, malabsorption problems or autoimmune causing everything), I have to take a step by step approach to see what works as I’m getting little or no help from the established medical profession. I’m taking supplements to improve my B12 levels, more supplements to support my adrenal system and have phased in these supplements to get my body used to getting what it needs. I’ve now started taking natural dessicated thyroid but. again, have started on a very small initial dose with the guidance of knowledgeable non-medical professionals who have seen and helped many people before me. I’d love to go hell for leather and take everything I can lay my hands on which will possibly improve my health and quality of life as quickly as possible but that really isn’t practical – there are potential side effects to any of this, not least because of the effect of the condition being left untreated for so long (thanks to the medical establishment again) so I have to take things easy and slowly. Which is driving me nuts.
What I can say is that my brain is working much better after 10 days and my thought processes are much clearer. I’m also taking much less time to put my blog posts together as the thoughts are flowing down through my fingers and into the keyboard much more smoothly!
I have bitten the bullet and booked an appointment with the endocrinology department at one of the hospitals that was on the list sent through on my NHS e-referral letter and am due there in three weeks. Despite the fact that I anticipate this appointment will be a complete waste of my time, I know that I’m going to have to be very well prepared, firm, assertive and (quite frankly) not prepared to take any dismissive shit. To say I’m not looking forward to the appointment would be an understatement but I have to retain a sliver of optimism that someone, somewhere will not be a complete arse and will accept some responsibility for helping me find the optimally healthy self that I know is in here somewhere.