Diagnosed With Not Quite Surgical Precision

, , , , | Healthy | November 17, 2019

(In college, I start getting severe fatigue; I am sleeping ten hours a night, getting an hour or two nap each day, and still feeling exhausted all the time. I go to the student health center where they do some blood tests and diagnose me with hypothyroidism, where my thyroid doesn’t produce enough hormone. I am given a prescription for the generic of a synthetic thyroid hormone, and things improve drastically for several months. But after I have my prescription filled at a different pharmacy, I start having different symptoms: anxiety, feeling jittery all the time, being unreasonably cold, etc. I go back to the health center where they run more blood tests. This is what happens at the followup appointment when those blood test results come back.)

Doctor: “So, your thyroid hormone levels are much too high. You have hyperthyroidism.” *goes into treatment options, which basically boil down to either radiation to kill off part of my thyroid or surgery to remove part of it*

Me: “Okay. Well, before we start talking about surgery, don’t you think we should try reducing my [medication] dosage?”

Doctor: *stares at me for a second, then reads my chart more carefully* “Ah. Yes, yes, we should probably try that first.”

(A DIFFERENT doctor in the health center was able to explain that I’m in a small group of people that are sufficiently sensitive to thyroid hormone that the different levels in different generic brands can act like a completely different dosage, meaning that I need to be on the name brand to ensure my dosage stays constant. We put me on the name brand and I didn’t have any more problems, and I never saw the other doctor again.)

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