I find it very, very discouraging to face dialogue such as this:
Friend: "Have you had your thyroid tested?"
Me: "Yes, and it was normal."
Friend: "Oh, but you can't rely on that test. You need to ask your doctor for a different test."
Aiiiieeeeee. Here are the two reasons I find this so discouraging:
1. My doctor has the medical degree and medical experience, but my friend's argument requires me to believe that this well-known thing about thyroid testing has completely escaped her attention and she and all the other doctors continue to order the useless test despite how obvious it is to the non-medical-degreed public that it doesn't work. My friend knows more than my doctor (or any doctor), and now I need to go tell the doctor so. I can't face it. Even if it's completely true and all doctors are less educated than my friend, I still can't face it.
2. How many tests will I need to have before my friend will finally believe that my thyroid is normal? If the more unusual test she wants me to get also reports a normal thyroid, will it turn out I need to have a STILL MORE UNUSUAL test? And then if THAT one ALSO says my thyroid is normal, will the response be that many thyroid issues escape notice by ALL tests so I still need to act as if I have a wonky thyroid? For how many years must I continue to insist to my doctor that something is wrong with my thyroid, before I am finally allowed to concede that it looks like there isn't?
I notice this mostly happens with the Popular New Ailment. We read about it everywhere, and we start thinking we have it---it's like how medical students famously diagnose themselves with each new disease they study. The power of suggestion then becomes a faith issue: we BELIEVE an ailment exists, and so no amount of evidence to the contrary is sufficient to shake that belief. The tiny percentage of cases where someone is right to persist in a belief is all it takes to fuel the enormous percentage of cases where someone is not.
I seem to have gotten off my original intended path, which was to say that although this kind of thing drives me nuts, I see how it gets started (because tests DO miss things and symptoms CAN be atypical, and then people spend unnecessary YEARS suffering something until it finally, finally, finally gets diagnosed), and in this particular case I would like to actively seek out stories and information of the VERY SORT that I usually avoid and dislike.
My mom has these symptoms:
1. Sudden unexplained weight gain
2. Feels cold all the time
3. Tired---can hardly get out of bed
4. Fighting off depression
5. Brittle hair
6. Itchy dry skin
Sounds like hypothyroidism, right? So she had her thyroid tested this past week, but it came up normal. I told her I was sure I'd heard thyroid discussed in the way that frustrates me ("Oh, the test for it is stupid and useless unless it gave you the answer you wanted---you need to tell your doctor what to do instead"), and would it frustrate her for me to find out more about it? And she said NO, it would NOT frustrate her, because in this case she would LIKE it if it's thyroid issues (or some other fixable problem) rather than losing-her-mind/becoming-elderly issues.
Life-improving products, part 4 - (Continued from part 1, part 2, and part 3.) Stearns Youth Life Vest (photo from Amazon.com). I’d been too scared to take the kids to any body of water oth...