Patient experience in the doctor’s office makes you weep

I’m sick. I’m tired. I feel awful. I’ll go the my doc’s office for help.

We have all done it, filled with hope and promise. I have done it!! Why not, since our doctor has had at least four years of medical school training that we couldn’t fathom doing ourselves, including working with patients under the supervision of licensed doctors, and 1-3 years of residency following school. Oh and let’s not forget the continuing education, besides experience with thousands of patients before me.

I’m in good hands.

THUD. For thyroid patients, it couldn’t be FARTHER from the truth. The experience in the beloved doctor’s office has been nothing less than dismal, disgusting, and depressing….and nothing more than pure malpractice.

Why? Because there’s not a thyroid patient anywhere who hasn’t gone in with raging hypothyroid symptoms…and 1) was dismissed, 2) told they needed an anti-depressant/pain med/statin rather than better thyroid treatment and/or 3) were told they were “normal” simply because those ink spots called labs ‘said so.’ So we have left…sick, and for years.

Whatever happened to “clinical presentation”????

And if you think that I am barking up the wrong tree, take heed. The following true story, which was related to me two days ago, is exactly like THOUSANDS we hear on this site every week:

I walked into the Endo’s office, feeling awful. I had been told he was the best in the state and I knew he held a high position in the University. First, when I told him about my unrelenting brain fog, he dismissed it. When I told him my cholesterol keeps rising, he said I wasn’t eating correctly (I love veggies and eat fowl more than beef). When I told him my throat felt tight, he said it was a temporary inflammation, take tylenol and it would pass. When I told him that I wanted a treatment with T3 in it like Armour to help my depression, he laughed, saying there was no connection between T3 and mental health. I left with my normal script for 125 mcg Synthroid, a pronouncement that I’m “normal”, feeling crazy and stupid, moving to a sense of COMPLETE rage, and mostly, I felt like a complete fool for ever taking the time. What will happen to me? I can only get worse with my symptoms, which thanks to you site, I can now see are ALL hypo symptoms. Will ANY doctor LISTEN TO ME???


17 Responses to “Patient experience in the doctor’s office makes you weep”

  1. Jessie Parker

    I am so glad I found this site. I am yet another case of an anti-depressant prescribed, synthroid taking, chronically unwell patient. I am 18, and haven’t felt well since puberty hit, and my parents and I are having doubts that I can go to college next fall. STOP THE THYROID MADNESS!

  2. Pam

    Your blog about adrenal issues is very well done and extremely helpful to me. You’re saving so many from unnecessary pitfalls and wrong turns. I especially appreciate your emphasis on working with stress in light of the supplements you’re working with. This confirms an intuition that I can be tempted away from by the lure of supplements first.

  3. Kathleen

    Another completely frustrating episode that many of us can unfortunately relate to. I feel very empowered by this site as well as the countless resources that have been mentioned on this site. I wished this story was more the exception than the rule, but we members know otherwise.

  4. Sigrid

    Janie, this is a fantastic site. I can relate! It’s as though I wrote it myself. I’ve been going on this merry-go-round since I was 12 years old when I had clear hyperthyroid symptoms but the doctor told my mother that he thought that I needed a psychiatrist. She insisted that she knew her child, so he did one more blood test and I had a flaming problem.

    Good thing, but the treatment with Tapazole didn’t work since the guy kept making me hypothyroid throughout high school — fat, sluggish, was excused from gym for four years! Anyway, I had a subtotal thyroidectomy at 17, felt fairly okay for a little while, then spent most of my 20s feeling depressed and became officially hypothyroid following a car accident at age 28. I suspect that I was hypo way before then. Of course, the Synthroid has hardly helped me at all since then.

    And, get this! I was hospitalized 15 times following my car accident and each and every time the nurses gave me my thyroid pill in the morning with my METAMUCIL. As a result, I had fluctuating levels for years. It was only by reading that I realized that I needed to take the pill on an empty stomach before breakfast.

    Do you think that sexism plays a role here? That doctors are so accustomed to viewing women as whiners that they dismiss our complaints without thinking? Even female doctors? I know it’s more complicated than that. I truly believe that the people I’ve seen mean well but don’t know any better. Sad and very, very frustrating and enraging.

    Thanks for shining a light on this.

  5. Pat Dunn

    Another HAHAHAHA:

    After diagnosing me with Hashi’s my endo dismissed my symptoms (including trouble swallowing from my swollen thyroid) saying that “Hashi’s is symptomless” and what I was suffering from was “withdrawal from estrogen” – a/k/a menopause. These things didn’t fall under her specialty “I should see my OWN doctor”

  6. shannon

    oh how true about the doctor’s office!!!
    if i had a dollar for every time i was offered antidepressants OMG!! 13 years it took me to get a diagnosis and this was after they had noticed my goiter!!!! but of course i was ‘within the normal range’ so it MUST have been all in my head HA! I feel like i’ve been robbed of what should have been some of the best years of my life(late teens, 20’s and most of my 30’s)I am amazed i am not worse off mental health wise after so many years of being told how depressed i am……duh doc it’s my thyroid treat it and i will be perfectly fine!!!

  7. Crystal

    Had a tumor at 21. I had half my thyroid removed at age 27. Sent me on my way with synthroid. Let the games begin. For years I was told I needed anti-depressents. At age 32 the doctor told me I was getting old. Finally found help at 35. By this time all my hormones were screwed up. I too feel cheated out of years of my life. I never thought I was crazy. Crystal

  8. Janice

    I wished that I had see this webiste before now. i have had reaaly bad hpyerparathyroid symptoms and dr. dimissed and told me I was a nut. I had 3.50 glands removed 4 yrs. ago. Right now I am having adrenal insufficiency. My thyroid is off and cortisol is low. I am loosing alot of my hair about 300 follicles a day. Highly regarded Dr. at Mass Gen./Boston which has pretty much as told that I was a nut. My temp and blood pressure go crazy. Thanks for your info

  9. antoinette

    i went to see my doctor at kaiser 🙁 i was a mess on generic thyroid (dessicated) 2 1/2 grains. i was very hypo she told me there’s nothiing wrong with your thyroid i’m in “normal” range. i told her i upped my dose and was feeling a little better she said it was a placebo affect??? what a quack!! then she said maybe i need a psyc…so i left feeling the worst but a couple days later as i started real armour thyroid was feeling fine so i loved when i called the doctor’s office and told her i was feeling fine now. i know she felt so stupid. good!!! beware of kaiser. they just dont care!!

  10. Jeanne

    I stumbled upon your site because of an NPR interview I heard today and decided to try ONE more time to see if I might find help trying to get right. It has been 15 years since I noticed that I was physically off. I’ve seen a multitude of doctors and finally one removed 3/4 of my thyroid with nodules (which are growing back, I might add). I presently am down to 1/2 of an armour pill every morning because my endo says my tsh is too high taking a whole one. I feel like hell. I take medications for osteoperosis, diabetes (pill not insuline), depression/anxiety, hormone replacement, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, armour for my thyroid (only because I had sense enough to request it), 2 meds for herniated disks in my back and I’m only 56. I hate to see what I’ll be taking when I’m 66, if I last that long. For 15 years, I have believed that my problem has been related to my adrenals and my thyroid. Doctors do not take me seriously and the tsh tests do not bear me out. I’ve had no adrenal tests. I “don’t need them”. I gave up dealing with the doctors about 3 years ago. I just go in, say yes sir/madam, no sir/madam and take my prescriptions and leave. I’m just too tired to deal with them anymore. It’s nice to know I have lots of company.

  11. Cheri De La Rosa

    My EX-doctor told me four times in one session – as if I were deaf and stupid to boot- you do not have a thyroid problem, you are OBESE! (he weighed far more than i did).
    The next one only went by blood tests and he had me take the thyroid (armour) at 4 am for an 8 am blood test, so he kept telling me I was taking too much. He wouldn’t let me educate him. I told him my cholesterol would go down if I took more thyroid, but he didn’t believe me. He didn’t want to hear anything I said, not even wanted me to lift an eyebrow!

    My next doctor tried to decrease what I was taking, again going by my blood test. I read Dr. Mark Starr’s book on Hyprothyroidism Type II and figured it was my mitochondria. The doctor to whom I am now going has me take no thyroid before the blood test. She also has Dr. Starr’s book and has read it.

    She had me take bio-identical thyroid, telling me it would take a month to feel the effects. At the end of the second month I was at square one again going way, way back in symptoms. Through Mary Shomon’s newsletter I found this site and realized what you said Janie, about exercise. When I tried to do my usual I was so exhausted, and realized what the matter was. So I called for a prescription for Armour’s (I, too, tried the generic and found it did nothing for me). I’m waiting for that to come.

    Can you tell me how to find a doctor who DOESN”T go by blood tests???? Even this one did, though she just upped me to 180 mg, she went by the blood test. Or rather, how to have the doctor LISTEN better??? I’m waiting to see which symptoms will go away. Will the weight ever go away??? and the sinus trouble? I was three years getting to 180 mg . I know I will need more.

  12. Stephanie

    Hi y’all,

    I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and had a total thyroidectomy in 1996, two years after being diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder. I take synthroid and three meds for mental illness. It is hard to tell if it’s the thyroid level or the mental health issues that affect my mood, and all of the side-effects from the medications are problematic, and then the thyroid levels are affected by the other medicines. I am 34 years old, and I’m already developing a dowager’s hump. I guess I will have another pre-existing condition as soon as I start having the osteoperosis treated, and since I haven’t had health insurance for 12 years, I suppose I won’t ever be eligible for coverage. I have been to sooo many doctors. I think this whole thyroid and moods thing is a mystery to them. Also, I believe my adrenal glands are completely shot, since I can’t handle stress at all anymore. Why does life have to be so complicated, and why do doctors act like they know what they’re doing when they really don’t have a clue?

    • Mike Bernhardt

      Answer is, they have become complacent with that piece of paper on the wall. I have found too often if I ask for something or want to suggest something, the doctor will make darn sure they don’t follow my wishes. My brother says you have to use psychology on them. If you want something you have to slowly direct them in the direction you want, then make them thing it was their idea all along. I have a niece who just graduated college and got a job in a medical lab. She said they are the real doctors. The doctors simply treat only reading outside the lab’s reference range. That is just sad and scary.

  13. Dawn

    I have heard every story in the book on my physical and mental health. I have Hashi’s and I have been diagnosed with every mental problem under the sun prior to finding I out I have hashi’s. Dx with Bipolar, ADD, Generalizaed Anxiety Disorder, PTSD, Hypochondria, Reactive Hypoglycemia, Diabetes. My thyroid is real unstable due to high antibodies. I go from extreme hypo to hyper and back and forth. This disease is a bitch to diagnose. I am having a hard time stabilizing my physical health and mental health with a Thyroid Disorder. Although the Insomnia and Panic Attacks are gone with Synthroid. The truth is the doctors don’t know a thing about Hashi’s, they really don’t have any answers, regardless of how good or bad your treatment. Hashi’s is just a rollercoaster ride from hell! Auto-Immunity needs a closer look by the medical research community. Thanks!~

  14. nikki

    So i no longer have a thyroid after cancer. I go through spells of worse symptoms. My heart seems like it’s not keeping up with me. It starts beating real fast after activities. Even when I’m calm I’ll go into panic attack mode. I’m on a very high dose of Levothyroxine. 250mcgs. is that ruining my body? I feel like shit

  15. Sarah

    I was diagnosed with Hypothyroid 9 years ago after gaining 50 pounds in 2 months and being told that I would never have children (now I have 2 healthy boys). Anyways about 2 months ago I started feeling tired, sluggish, had a brain fog and gaining weight again, I went to get my thyroid tested and was told that it was “normal”. The Dr. could not explain all the symptoms that I was having, I went home very upset and confused. When I asked her about taking Kelp supplements she just said “well you can try it”. I asked her about Armour, she had never heard of it. Today is my first day on the kelp, we will see what happens! Sarah


    I have taken Armour Thyroid for 56 years. I have tried the synthetic thyroids and they never worked correctly. Now that there is a short supply of armour I am required to take one of the synthetics. I have found out you need to take CYTOMEL with them It treats the ths 3 and ths4 that the synthetic thyroid does not.


Leave a Reply