The right way to find a good doctor!

A friend of mine, Kerry, recently confessed to me and a few friends that it was time to find a new doctor. Her normal one had been a disappointment for her far too many times. Time to move on.

And how she is moving on TOTALLY impresses me, and I think all of you reading this should consider this positively assertive and self-advocating strategy.

First, she scoured through her list of doctors on her insurance plan, and found one that looked promising. She called and spoke to his nurse on the phone. She then told us the following: I explained that I use Armour and refuse to change meds; I am VERY involved in my health; I watch my Frees carefully and don’t rely on the TSH at all since the feedback loop is interrupted by meds..etc. With that said, the nurse stated she would check with the doctor.

In other words, my friend Kerry refused to do what all of us have done most of our lives–approach the doctor passively. She clearly outlined who she is, where her intelligence is about her body, and that she expects a partnership, not a demi-god, one-sided dictatorship of what is right and what isn’t right for her health care.

She also stated that if this doctor didn’t come through, her next strategy was to write a letter about her health needs and how she wants to be very involved in her treatment, then fax it to every available doctor on her insurance list in her area and see if she gets someone calling.

MAJOR, HAND-CLAPPING BRAVO, Kerry!!

THAT, friends, is the way each and every thyroid patient should approach their health care: candid as to your beliefs about your treatment, and what you want from the doctor. And eventually, your assertive approach will produce a doctor who is going to be a gem for you! Remember: it’s YOUR body and YOU live in it.

p.s. Without an insurance plan? Pull out the Yellow pages! And don’t hesitate to use parts of this Dear Doctor template letter to help you flesh out and compose your words or letter.

***WANT TO MAKE A FASHION STATEMENT ABOUT YOUR THYROID TREATMENT? Go HERE for a thyroid advocacy t-shirt. I dare you to wear it to your doctors appointment. (But if you don’t, wear it everywhere else. It does attract questions.)

9 Responses to “The right way to find a good doctor!”

  1. Melody

    It’s been 10 years since my “borderline-low thyroid function but treatment unnecessary” diagnosis from an HMO flunky physician. I haven’t seen many doctors since then because I lost all trust in medicine.

    About a week ago, I found a website on thyroid disorders while looking up my symptoms on Google. I didn’t have to look for them all separately. I looked up “fatigue and heavy menstrual bleeding” and all the rest were there too! The proverbial light bulb just kept getting brighter, the more I read. I went that day and checked out every book my library had on the subjects of thyroid and hormone imbalance. It was such a relief to know it is not just me and I’m not crazy, but it’s also SO aggravating to know somebody could have known to look at this more closely but didn’t care. The copyright dates on these books are not all brand new. It isn’t a new discovery! It’s even more aggravating that I thought I could trust every doctor’s Hippocratic oath without question and been proven SO wrong! It just can’t be such a huge secret to the medical community with this being the communications age. I feel like I almost have to research what left of my brains out, diagnose myself, and take my diagnosis to a doctor to confirm & treat me since I can’t treat myself without a license. I refuse to be persuaded that I know less about my body than a “licensed professional” of any kind! Thank God for the internet & this site in particular. No more trusting those who don’t care to find an answer and call us crazy!

    I think this letter is a great idea. I’ve only started the doctor process and had a GP do the blood work a couple of days ago and am waiting for the results. I typed up all my symptoms, medical history, & requests for all the thyroid and other hormone tests I wanted and any others she deemed necessary. Boy, they didn’t seem to have EVER seen anything like that before.

    I did get the tests I asked for ALONG with referrals to 8 different specialists I have no interest in going to other than the endo, 5 prescriptions I didn’t ask for or need (none for thyroid), orders for 3 x-rays, a take home stool test for colon cancer, a urinalysis, a TB test, a Spirometry test, and a partridge in a pear tree. I felt like I’d been to a take out doctor buffet. It was almost comical!

    What was NOT funny was her response to my concerns, encouraging me to see a psychiatrist to deal with depression despite my explaining to her that I knew the difference between sick in the body and sick in the head. I’d had experience with both and I know I’m not depressed about anything but how tired I am and my body rebelling against my desire to be healthy.

    I am thankful she did the blood work without arguing, anyway. It’s probably because she owns her own lab and will get paid for all of the tests! LOL

    I have an endo appt on 3/5, which seems like an eternity from now. The dr is new to me and I know nothing about her. I’m seriously considering writing a modified version of this type of letter with my results from the blood work when it comes in so I can make sure I’m not barking up the wrong tree, thinking she’ll welcome a patient who wants to be involved with their care. I don’t want to waste anymore time with improper treatment. I AM going to be involved with MY health!

    Thanks for giving us this forum to share and gain valuable knowledge for our well being!

    Reply
  2. Leslie

    Good for you. I too am starting to take control of my health. I am going thru menopause right now and have had some “thyroid type” symptoms for a couple of years. Extreme fatigue, hoarsness in my voice, no desire to do anything fun because of a lack of vitality. I am seeing an interest that now “specializes” in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy but I don’t think that is even working. I feel like I am getting more exhausted every day. Can’t function at all. My thyroid levels are in the “normal” range but I know that that doesn’t mean that my thyroid is functioning where is should be. So, I am going to see an endo asap. Good luck with all your searching and I hope you feel better soon.

    Reply
  3. John

    RE: Armour

    Janie, I took Armour for a number of years and finally quit because it didn’t provide any relief. I haven’t tried any synthetics…but am now looking for a dr. that looks at all the endocrine glands and focuses on “optimal” levels of hormones instead of “normal”.

    Reply
  4. John A. Podlaski, DC, MD, DACBN, DABCI, CNS, FIAMA

    As a physician that practices alternative/integrative medicine I can truly understand the frustration that people go through in looking for answers to their health problems especially in the area of endocrine function (thyroid, adrenal, pancreas etc). All too often many docs lack ” outside of the box thinking” in their approach to treating chronic and degenerative conditions. Doctors often forget that the patient is our boss, we work for them and any doctor that forgets or refuses to acknowledge this should be fired by you the patient. A true holistic physician will focus on treating a patient that has a condition not a condition that has a patient. Unfortunately, in these days of super-specialization people become nothing more than the organ or gland or body part that is malfunctioning instead of considering the “whole person approach” to health i.e. body, mind and spirit. I write about this in my recently published book, Unleashing the Physician Within. My best advice is to not be afraid to ask your (potential) doctor lots of questions, research the answers and don’t settle for an “I am the doctor, you are the patient attitude”.
    There are good docs out there, just like looking for diamonds you’ve got to do a little digging.

    Reply
  5. Dwayne

    I basically had enough from feeling like crap all the time so now I just call my Dr office and tell the secretary to relay to the doctor that I increased my thyroid meds and will talk to her about it when I come see her. She is a great doctor though and has never told me to decrease the medicine- she does look at things other than labs- she always goes by how I feel more.

    Reply
  6. Dr. Michael Berglund

    The problem is that in way too many instances, the thyroid blood tests are lying. They are inherently inaccurate. The best way to diagnose hypothyroidism is based on patient history and then doing a clinical trial of thyroid treatment to see if the symptoms resolve. I just recently had a patient that I was treating with natural thyroid supplementation and she was feeling great, was finally getting weight to stay off her, her pain levels were down and was able to get off the caffeine that she was using to keep her functional. She has some fibromyalgia issues and probably autoimmune disease that required treatment. Her doctors took one look at her blood work and said she was HYPER-thyroid. They said she needed to be off the thyroid treatment I had put her on and have her blood re-evaluated in 6 wks. In that time, she put 20 lbs on, was back on the caffeine, which caused her blood pressure to go up and now she was on a blood pressure medication and they were talking about putting her on birth control pills too.

    The bottom line is that she had NO symptoms of being hyperthyroid and was finally euthyroid (which means normal thyroid levels) but because of the blood tests, she was not back to her miserable HYPO-thyroid self.

    Nice to find this web page. I believe that SYNTHROID is the wrong treatment for most patients with low thyroid. My suggestion is that patients use natural glandulars or even natural thyroid stimulators/nutrients designed to help the thyroid do what it should be doing in the first place.

    Good luck to all of you. Keep questioning. Keep looking for REAL answers. There are better options that meds, meds and more meds.

    Reply
  7. Susan

    Hi there. Does anyone recommend a doctor in Houston who prescribes desiccated thyroid hormone? thank you.

    Reply
    • Barbara Erceg

      Dr. Margit Winstrom
      (713)621-9291
      She doesn’t take insurance, but she will listen to you and work with you to get you on track with your thyroid issues. I found her after going through 3 endos that didn’t have a clue. Highly recommend!

      Reply
  8. Wesley

    My family history is full of bad thyroids … Im just started Armor,and I feel like Im swimming is circles as well . I’m so tired of the blood work coming OK ,but still being 40 pounds over weight!
    Im looking for a good Dr in the mid Michigan area . Can anybody suggest any ?

    Reply

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