Not Feeling Five Alive

, , , | Healthy | May 10, 2019

CONTENT WARNING: This story contains content of a medical nature. It is not intended as medical advice.

(I have hypothyroidism, which has been successfully controlled with medication for several years. Over a couple of months, however, I notice that some of my symptoms are returning. I call my doctor, and she says she will do a blood test. I go to her office for the results.)

Doctor: “Your thyroid level is at 4.9.”

(The maximum is 5.)

Me: “Well, no wonder I’ve been feeling sick! That’s very high.”

Doctor: “Oh, no. You’re fine. Five is the top of the normal range. You’re still under that.”

Me: “But a lot of my old symptoms are coming back. I can’t sleep at night, I’m tired during the day, I’m freezing cold all the time—“

Doctor: “You’re under stress. It’s normal.”


Doctor: “Well, you just need to go on a diet.”

Me: “I exercise five days a week, and I eat my fruits and veggies! I don’t feel like myself. I know my body, and I need a medication change!”

Doctor: “Well, I’m not giving you one, because you’re normal.”

(She tells me to exercise more and gives me a vitamin supplement. I fume, but I take it. A couple of months later, I move to a different state. I go in for an appointment with my new doctor.)

New Doctor: “I’ve been reviewing your test results from your previous doctor, and I noticed your thyroid is at 4.9. That’s very high. Are you feeling okay at that number?”

Me: “Not at all! I tried to tell her, but she wouldn’t listen. She kept saying it was normal.”

New Doctor: “I’m not surprised. Older guidelines allow it to get that high, but I’ve found that my patients feel better when their thyroid is at 3 or under. I’m going to order some more blood work.”

(The new blood test showed that my number had skyrocketed to a 6. My new doctor changed my medication immediately. It took a year and three medicine changes to get it right. It turned out that my thyroid number had been creeping up for a couple of years, and my old doctor had just ignored it. I’m happy to report that I’m much better now!)

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