2013 is going to be a great year for me! A banner year. But I need to talk about me from a few years ago…before I found out what I didn’t know. I want to share my story here to encourage others to really be proactive about your own health care, and to find a Dr. who will work with you and for you…who will *listen* to you.
This is my last week reading to my littles.
2008 was also a great year. I had a 4th grader and a 1st grader that went to school right across the street from us. I had a brand new baby girl, and hours each day to enjoy her, nap with her, and do the “me time” thing.
Then life changed.
We decided to start homeschooling in the 2008-2009 school year. OK…I got this. I can do this. And we did! It was a HUGE learning curve for all of us, but I loved the time with ALL my kids, and I loved learning with them. I started a blog.
And then I got pregnant.
And gave birth to a tiny Viking in February of 2010.
Looking back, I never really recovered from the pregnancy. Sure, I had a few more pounds of baby weight to loose from my prior pregnancy, and I’d added a few more to that. But something was different. And it was beyond just being-a-new-Mommy-tired.
I was no longer able to plan out and “do” school like I wanted to…and needed to do for my older two. We switched over to an online schooling option in 2010-2011. That was a VERY stressful transition year for my older son, who didn’t like the change from a reading based curriculum to a textbook based and much more independent style of learning. His stress was my stress.
My health began to spiral downward. Not only did I not *lose* any baby weight, but I actually outgrew my postpartum jeans. I was too exhausted to exercise…my mind didn’t seem to be able to manage and recall information like I had in the past, so managing my home and my kids schooling became incredibly overwhelming.
I just wanted to sleep, and when I wasn’t sleeping, I just wanted to sit and be distracted by a book or the computer. I felt like the “real me” was fading…lost behind the frustrated and tired woman who just couldn’t’ get her act together. It wasn’t depression, but I knew it wasn’t “normal” for me to feel this way.
I felt like something was wrong with me. By 2011, I knew that what was going on with me was not really “postpartum”, so I made an appointment to visit my Doctor. She did a full physical on me, and all the standard blood tests. I talked to her about my concerns.
“Are you waking up tired in the morning?”
“Well, the two main reasons that people wake up tired is that they have a sleep disorder, or that they’re depressed. I could send you in for a sleep study if you want. Or write up a prescription for some depression meds, but I don’t think you’re depressed. Do you?”
“No. I’m not depressed.”
I also declined the sleep study. I went home with instructions to exercise, and a copy of the Mediterranean Diet. A few weeks later, she e-mailed me a letter saying all my bloodwork looked “normal.”
I had this nagging, gut feeling that she was wrong. That she was missing something.
I kept plugging along. I was too frustrated with trying to figure out the new diet, and it fell by the wayside. I hadn’t altered my diet significantly since 2008, so I really didn’t think that diet was the problem. I believe in good quality foods, lots of veggies, and using farm fresh meat, dairy and eggs. And the occasional Dr. Pepper. Diet wasn’t the main issue for me.
I let things go for a few more months, but I wasn’t getting any better. My skin became dry, my hair was falling out, and I would forget things that were ingrained behaviors, like where the keys on the keyboard are. I told my husband, “I feel 20 years older than I am.” My body and brain were scaring me. I wasn’t unhappy, but I also didn’t feel young and alive anymore.
I tried researching, but “feeling old” is just too general of a symptom. I needed more testing done. I went back and asked her to run a full battery of thyroid tests. She repeated her first two offers: sleep study or meds. “Your TSH levels looked fine last year.”
At this point, I was pretty sure that she was overlooking something, and I just knew that sleep problems and depression were not the root issue for me. I liked my Dr. as a person, but her philosophy of practicing medicine was not, in my opinion, thorough enough. She was too prescription and symptom minded. I had no intention of starting a lifetime of medicating in my 30’s. I didn’t just want meds for symptoms…I wanted to know WHY. And then how to FIX it.
I decided to try out a different practice that came highly recommended by my sister in law. They are an odd blend of Emergency Care, Primary Care, Anti-Aging, and Weight Loss Clinic. But what got my attention is that they do very thorough testing, and are open to both natural and prescription drugs. OK…I’ll see what I think.
At my first appointment with Sandra, she ran the litany of tests, from the standard blood tests to a cholesterol panel, AND she ordered a full thyroid series, including TSH, T3, T4, Free T3, Free T4, and even Thyroid antibody tests. She was THOROUGH. We liked one another immediately.
While waiting for my follow up appointment, I started watching the lab reports roll in. At the time, I really thought we’d be looking at a thyroid disorder, which affects metabolism. Seemed like it might be a good fit for some of my symptoms. Since my previous Dr. had only run TSH levels…which is really not even a thyroid hormone, but a pituitary hormone, I thought that my full panel labs might reveal thyroid dysfunction.
I decided to write my previous doctor, and ask for my 2011 lab results, to compare TSH results. When they arrived, I discovered that all of my labs were NOT normal.
And I started to finally figure out what I didn’t know before…what I NEEDED to know.
To be continued soon in the Natural Remedy section… Part II: Not Just a NAME, But a Reason!