It’s just a band-aid

So I haven’t had health insurance for the past 6 years, therefor no doctors visits for me. I’m 23, healthy, happy, fit. I eat pretty well (we’re going to ignore the pint of starbucks ice cream i ate this morning) and i exercise daily.

I am now faced with the all too typical “treat it with a pill and move on” epidemic that has taken over this nation. I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism yesterday. And this is how it all went down.

Doctor: oh, btw you’re going to get a call from the lab, you have Hypothyroidism. They’re going to need to know where to send your prescription. You’ll take it once a day, same time every day, for the rest of your life. And you’ll come back to see me in 6-8 weeks and we’ll check your levels again.

Me: umm … okay?

for some reason the only thing I think of to ask is “does this mean i’m at a greater risk for thyroid cancer” she said no.

I should have asked more questions of course, but I felt pretty blindsided. That and I was a bit distracted with the mammogram, and pelvic exam I was getting.

I spent the rest of the afternoon researching Hypothyroidism, and the different drugs prescribed. Now for me personally I prefer to try and correct any nutritional defficiencies or health issues naturally before pumping synthetic drugs into my system. For instance I used to have very very low iron levels, i added more iron rich foods to my diet (instead of taking a pill), now my iron levels are normal. Call me crazy but i’d rather change my diet, or add something to my lifestyle than pop a pill every day for the rest of my life with god knows what side effects.

Well the lab called later in the afternoon to ask where to send the script and at that point I was level headed enough to ask some questions. My TSH was 15.72 (normal is 0-3) and my T4 is .58 which apparently is normal. So they are prescribing Synthroid which is a synthetic drug that gives you T4. When I went to pick up my script I noticed they gave me Levothyroid which is the generic brand but has problems of its own and i’ll get into those later.

So from what I understand, T4 makes T3. My T4 levels are fine, so my body isn’t making the T3 out of the T4 it has. How is pumping more T4 into my body going to change that? Isn’t there a replacement I can take that has T3 if that’s what I’m missing. (there is, it’s called Amour and it’s a Natural Desiccated Thyroid medication <NDT>)

 

Something is inhibiting my body from producing T3, and I would like to now what it is. In a lot of cases it is Gluten and a Gluten free diet can fix that. If of course you are willing to change your lifestyle, which I would gladly do if it meant I wasn’t dependent on a drug.

 So some of the basic questions I asked myself, that i’m still finding answers to:

Is this a symptom of a bigger problem? For instance Celiac disease, or a vitamin D deficiency.

Are there alternative treatments instead of synthetic drugs? Detox, Amour, Paleo diet, gluten free/dairy free diet.

 

Now the other problem, and probably the larger picture, is that if I start taking this drug and it does “fix” my thyroid levels there are some pretty devastating side effects. and then we’d be treating the side effects with more pills. This snowballs out of control very quickly. For instance, Depression and Weight Gain are the most common side effects, so you treat the depression with anti – depressants which have their own side effects. And the weight gain can cause high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

According to a vast amount of case study’s I’ve read people who take high doses of thyroid medication are also taking anti depression medication, high blood pressure meds, and cholesterol meds. (which is why those are the three i brought up in the paragraph above)

A lot of people are coming at me saying things like “this isn’t  a big deal”, “just take the meds and you’ll be fine” “tons of people have it” But why would you take a pill, a medication that wasn’t even explained to you for a disease that wasn’t explained to you, without exploring all other options. Don’t you owe it to yourself and your body to help it fix this naturally? If there is something I am eating that is blocking my thyroid from doing it’s job, and all I have to do to correct that is to change my diet isn’t that a better treatment than taking a pill for the rest of my life. A pill that has life altering side effects (side effects worse than the disease itself). Not to mention you’d be fixing the root problem instead of putting a band-aid on the symptom.

 

I have an appointment next week with another doctor, at a practice that specifically doesn’t throw pills at people and tries natural cures before pills. So we’ll see how that goes.

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Cancer, government, and bull shit

I’ve been absent for a few weeks now and I’m sorry about that but I assure you it was for a really good reason.

An amazing woman passed away and I dropped everything to go home to be with my friends and family. She was the pillar of our community and touched so many lives. It still hasn’t sunk in that she is gone. But we can take solace in the fact that after a long long battle with cancer she is no longer suffering. She taught us well and she will be greatly missed.

And because bad news likes to dump all at the same time my mother is having a difficult time gaining access to the cancer treatment she needs because of a “shortage” of the drug.

This is a copy of the letter she wrote to Michael Michaud (congressman in Maine) also somehow related to our family though you’d have to ask my grandmother for the details on that.

Nancy Michaud
A copy of my e-mail to Mike Michaud:

Jan 30, 2012, I had a suspicious lump removed from my thyroid, by way of a total thyroidectomy. The biopsy came back conclusive for papillary thyroid cancer with a hurthle cell variant, mets to my lymph nodes, stage 3. Next step: Radioactive iodine about 6 weeks post op. It was set up for the week of March 19th or March 26th, pending scheduling. A little over a week ago, my lifesaving treatment was “put on hold” due to a “Thyrogen shortage”. (a necessary synthetic hormone used in the treatment of thyroid cancer). The specialty pharmacy blames the manufacturer, Genzyme blames the FDA and the pharmacy. The doctor and, more importantly, the patient are caught in the middle. I have researched this “shortage”, as have many of my friends. Seems more like a big bunch of BS! (to put it honestly and simply). However at work today I received a call that pretty much tells the story of what our healthcare has come to here in the US, and frankly it is a disgrace!!! My message to my family, friends, co-workers, everyone who knows my struggle reads like this: I had an interesting conversation today with my Dr in Portland and felt the need to share.

Let me first say, that I am going to Boston for my care and there is no “shortage” of Thyrogen at Dana Farber.

My Dr in Portland called Curascript, the specialty pharmacy that distributes the Thyrogen. They tried to get a delivery date from them. They told her that CVS Caremark has a supply but “bills it differently”. That if I pay my 30% up front they can have it here in a week. That totals about a grand up front, give or take! Money first, then life saving meds after!!!

So I did a little more digging. If they bill it as a prescription, which it is, my copay is $50 and my insurance pays it as a script. If they bill it as a “procedure”, it is covered under my insurance plan at 70%. And they hold the med hostage until my 30% is paid, like I said, about 900-1000, give or take!!!! So, if they are able to make more money, there is no shortage. If they bill it as a script and make less money, there is a shortage, and I go on a waiting list for CANCER MEDICATION!!!!!

The things we learn in a day!!! You just got the short version. My public display of this nonsense will be much more colorful and detailed!

Thanks for listening!
Sincerely, Nancy Michaud

 

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This is just one of the THOUSANDS of examples of how broken our system is. How many good people have to suffer because the people in charge are too greedy to care about anyone but themselves. It doesn’t even matter anymore if you have full health insurance, you still aren’t covered and still are expected to pay a large amount of money before you get the treatments or medication you need … I thought the whole reason for paying out the ass for great health insurance was so that when you did need it you’d be covered…. guess not.

My hope is that someday, hopefully within my lifetime, this country will pull it’s head out of its ass and listen to it’s citizens. This is bull shit and we know it, and the government needs to realize we have the power, not them. They are supposed to do what WE want not what THEY want. They are in office, and in power because WE put them there. We gave them that power and we can take it away.