Last Monday afternoon as I was scurrying around the office trying to get all my loose ends tied up before knee surgery, I got a call from my PCP that my thyroid test had come in below normal. It apparently wasn’t a marginal difference because my PCP wanted me to retake the test.
At that point in time, I was dealing with everything I could deal with. I was less than 24 hours away from surgery, I’d already dealt with and navigated the unanticipated news of a required root canal, and I was trying to cram a week of work into a day at the office. I honestly was not equipped to even think about dealing with something else, much less a major health issue.
As I recovered from surgery and had time to think about it and investigate the situation, it was easier to come to terms with the situation. The most common cause of hypothyroidism in the U.S. is Hashimoto’s disease that is an autoimmune condition that attacks the thyroid gland. As I already have two autoimmune diseases — RA and Sjogren’s — it wasn’t much of a stretch to think that I might have developed symptoms of a third.
The further I investigated the matter, the more it made sense. Both my weight and cholesterol have been rising the last couple of years — despite my hard work to reverse those trends. Symptoms of Hashimoto’s disease include unexplained weight gain and increased cholesterol levels. In fact, the more I read, the more encouraged I became. Finally, I had an answer and it was something that could be addressed through medication. I further researched the medication and treatment options so I could be better informed.
Two days after I had my follow-up appointment with my surgeon. The lab is in the same building, just a floor below, so I stopped by the lab and did the blood draw for the repeat test.
The following day my doctor’s office called. The test was normal. There is nothing, including Hashimoto’s disease, wrong with my thyroid.
I suddenly felt very stupid. I felt like every hypochondriac that runs to the doctor after seeing a prescription medicine advertisement on television or in a magazine, convinced they need the treatment.
I remind myself that I did, at least, have a lab test that indicated that something was wrong — that I wasn’t dreaming up symptoms. However, with as many medical tests as I (and we all) have been through — particularly with something as hard to diagnose as RA, you think I’d understand that often it takes more than one blood test to determine something.
Don’t get me wrong. I really am happy that I don’t have yet another chronic condition to deal with. But I thought I had a valid, treatable answer to the question of my weight and cholesterol levels. I am sorry that I don’t have that.
So I hope that whatever conclusions you reach today are ones with happy consequences. Thanks for checking in.