Doctors Aren’t Always Right

Stethoscope

Article by Wendy McCance

About 10 years ago, I got sick.  It began with a feeling like I was overheating.  I would get so hot that I felt like I would throw up or faint.  As time went on, I began to notice my hand shake.  I thought I just needed to eat something or maybe get more sleep.  At the time, I had a child in elementary school and two babies.  It made sense that I felt so off.  The strange thing was I had a feeling of endless energy.  I had trouble sleeping and could run around without a feeling of exhaustion.

Over a month, I got worse, fast.  My feet began to feel as though I was wearing cement shoes.  There were times where I could only drag my feet.  It seemed impossible at times to lift a foot.  It became obvious that things weren’t right and so I made an appointment to visit a doctor.

The doctor I saw was brand new.  My insurance had changed and it had been years since I saw any doctor other than my gynecologist.  I went in to see the doctor and talked about my concerns.  At the appointment I felt rundown and shaky.

After asking a bunch of questions and checking me out, the doctor came to the conclusion that I was just a stressed out mom who felt overwhelmed with 3 kids, 2 of which were under 3 years old.  I didn’t feel overwhelmed and said as much.  I tried to explain that I felt something else must be going on, that the symptoms I had were not normal, even for a mom with a few young children.

The doctor decided to do a blood test just in case, but I felt like he ordered the test just to placate me.  I had tears in my eyes as I left the appointment.  I thought I was losing my mind.  How could a doctor think that having  a problem walking had anything to do with being stressed out?  Honestly, the only thing stressing me out was the fact that I felt ill all the time and didn’t know why.

Before my blood test came back, I was at home and began having problems walking again.  It was worse this time.  I was clumsy and banging into the walls as I walked down the hall.  I was shaky and felt like I would faint at any moment.  My heart was racing and I was scared out of my mind.

I called my dad and told him I needed help.  He rushed over and basically carried me out to the car. By the time he got to my house, I was shaking horribly and couldn’t walk anymore.

We went right to the hospital.  The whole way there, I was apprehensive, terrified that the doctors there would think I was just crazy.  I went over that thought a million times asking myself if I could bring on such horrible symptoms by myself.  Was I just losing my mind?

At the hospital, I was diagnosed.  I was going through thyroid storm.  It turned out that what I was experience was a life threatening event.  Thank god I went to the hospital.  When I had entered the hospital, I was sick to my stomach, felt dizzy, couldn’t communicate or process what was going on, my heart was beating rapidly, I couldn’t walk , I had breathing problems and I was having trouble staying awake.

The doctors were able to get me stabilized.  Thankfully, they didn’t pass off my symptoms as a panic attack or as being an overly stressed mom.  What I was experience, I later found out could have caused me to go into a coma or led to a heart attack.

Over the next few weeks, I was diagnosed with Graves disease.  I had gotten a recommendation from the hospital to see an endocrinologist.  This doctor said my thyroid was so overactive that medicine wouldn’t help get the hormones produced back to a normal level.  I ended up having radioactive iodine treatment.  Basically you take a pill that kills your thyroid gland so it no longer works.  You then take a pill to replace the hormones that your thyroid no longer produces.  One pill a day for the rest of your life.

A few weeks later, I was back at the original doctor for a check-up.  The doctor walked around with a superior stance as though he knew all along that I had a thyroid problem.  There was no admitting he was wrong, or apologizing for making me feel as though my condition was all in my head.  It was the last time I would see that doctor.

Overall, I was crushed.  I had always held a doctor at such a high level.  I had always felt that a doctor would take your symptoms seriously and would be proactive in finding a solution.  It was degrading to see a doctor who without much thought put the reason for my symptoms on me as though I was out of my mind.

Sadly, I have heard of many people who have gone through situations like the one I described.  No one knows your body better than you do.  My advice to anyone who ever experiences a situation like this is to get a different doctor if you feel that the one you have is not taking your symptoms seriously.

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Wendy McCance

Wendy McCance is a Michigan based freelance writer and social media consultant. Wendy has gained attention as the founder of the popular blog Searching for the Happiness which can be viewed in 9 local papers online, including the Oakland Press. The combination of writing skills and social media knowledge is what makes Wendy such a powerhouse to work with. Stay tuned for opportunities to advertise, guest post and as always, have your questions answered.

To contact Wendy McCance about a writing or social media assignment, interview or speaking engagement, please email her at: mccance.wendy@gmail.com

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