So I took to the Twitter and PAIL’s Facebook page recently FREAKING out because after months of having some very awful symptoms I finally, after demanding my doctor finally test me, got diagnosed with Postpartum Thyroiditis. But to know the whole story I have to back up a bit to last August.
Last August we had moved to our new home but I hadn’t found a new primary care for myself. So when one night I felt like my abdomen was going to explode, we ended up in our county’s rural hospital, at midnight, with our 8-week-old. Let me tell you, I had recently just given birth naturally, and that was nothing compared to what I was feeling. The awesome (awful) doctors at this hospital told me I was constipated and to go home. Given my sleep-deprived, new-mom state, I listened to them. We were back in the E.R. two nights later. This time I was pissed. They finally decided to do a CAT scan and found out I had a large ovarian cyst, pretty common, but this one was twisting or something and causing me extreme pain. The male doctor was very uncomfortable talking to me about my “girl” parts and told me to follow-up with an OBGYN for a surgical consult.
And then they refused me pain medicine because they said I was nursing and couldn’t take anything. And I literally thought I would die from the pain. And they were lying, there are plenty of safe pain meds nursing moms can take. Oh, and the hospital had bugs and I was given “clean” sheets with blood stains on them. Twice. I wish I was making this up.
So given that less than stellar experience I felt I couldn’t trust that hospital with any potential surgery I might need. And I wanted to go back to my former midwife instead. So I called her and she set me up with an OB in her practice who could do a surgical evaluation. I had seen this OB once before and I had thought she was pure evil. Yes that is a grand statement to make, but let me tell you why.
Back when we were doing infertility testing it was recommended I get an HSG. They had extreme difficulty getting the catheter in and had to try repeatedly (read: PAINFUL) and then I reacted so badly to the dye they injected in that I vomited right on the X-ray table. FABULOUS. So I have to get it done again and this time I am set up with Dr. Evil, but I don’t know she is Dr. Evil yet. I explain what went wrong the first time and said given that I was very nervous about this could she please just warn me right before she is about to insert the catheter. Yeah, that didn’t happen. All of a sudden STABBING pain again and she yells at me to stay still. I yelled back, “I ASKED FOR A WARNING!” To which she doesn’t even respond. The very kind nurse held my hand and helped me calm down.
So back to the surgical consult I needed. Dr. Evil was the ONLY OB available to see me. Because I was still in pain I agree. Two days later we see her and my pain has mostly resolved. She does an ultrasound and confirms the cyst is still there and tells me that since my pain had mostly resolved that we should wait and see because the type of cyst I had usually went away on its own. Ok, sounds good to me, avoid surgery if possible. We schedule a follow-up for a few months later.
In the mean time I start feeling really tired. Like Stella had started sleeping through the night, yet I was still exhausted, and weak feeling. ALL. THE. TIME. I kept trying to get into a jogging/walking routine and I’d make it 1-2 weeks and then just be so worn out I would not work out for weeks after that. I was bruising easily and my skin was über dry. And there was another symptom, that made me think I was quite literally dying. And no, I do not want to share it with you.
So I decide I should find a new midwife, as I was still seeing my old one, two hours away from where we had moved, and talk to them about my problems. I found a new practice and it was a really great experience. I told them I was tired and bruising and they test me for anemia. No anemia so they suggest that this is just all a natural part of the postpartum process and send me home. Things get worse. So much worse that I am worried I am seriously ill. And I feel so awful that I just want to call my old midwife because she is the one who has known me the longest and will listen to me. So I do, and she is great, she calls in a prescription she thinks will help and tells me that seen as how I am seeing Dr. Evil next week to do my cyst follow-up that it makes the most sense to talk to her in person about running some more tests.
BIG mistake. Because the office is so far away we decide to book a hotel and stay overnight to make the trip easier with a baby. I have the Ultrasound first and then wait for Dr. Evil to come in for the consult. I have Jacob come to the consult and bring Stella as she was due to eat. Word picture for you all: I am LITERALLY nursing Stella when Dr. Evil enters the room, keep this in mind.
Dr. Evil begins by asking me “So tell me why you are here?” EXCUSE ME? It’s called a chart, you should at least glance at it before seeing a patient shouldn’t you? So I tell her that we are here for my cyst follow-up and also because of some other symptoms I am having that are not abating and I am concerned about. She interrupts me during the explanation that SHE ASKED ME TO GIVE HER FOR WHY I WAS HERE, and says “oh yes, I talked with your midwife and we called in your prescription to fix things.” I tell her things are not “fixed” and I am worried there might be something else wrong. She then launches into the whole ‘this is postpartum stuff and blah blah blah SUCK IT UP.’
Then she ask me if I am breastfeeding because there is a drug she could give me but not if I am breastfeeding. I look down at the child, actively nursing at my boob. I turn and look at my husband and give him the ‘is this really happening or have I entered another dimension?’ look. I give a nervous laugh and say, “Umm, yeah, I am.” She glances over at me and says “Oh, yeah.”
Then she says the next step is to have an Ultrasound and see if there is anything in my ovaries causing this issue. I restrain myself from lunging at her but do slightly raise my voice and tell her that I JUST HAD ONE AND THAT’S WHY I WAS HERE BECAUSE SHE WAS SUPPOSED TO TELL ME THE RESULTS! Dr. Evil looks at me and says “well I don’t have any results from any ultrasound.” I reply, “Well I most certainly just had one.” She then decides to go check for the results. She comes back in, glances at the report she found and says “everything is fine.” She doesn’t even review the images herself. And she doesn’t bother to tell me whether the cyst is still there or not! Luckily the ultrasound tech had let it slip that all was fine and the cyst was gone.
At this point I am fed up and I point-blank ask her to test my thyroid. She tells me that it is not my thyroid. I tell her that I have a family history of thyroid issues and I really feel this could be the cause of all these symptoms. She tells me that she knows my thyroid is fine, and not only that, but that she is SURE my thyroid has been tested in the last year. I tell that I know my thyroid has not been checked and also that even in women with no thyroid issues before pregnancy, postpartum thyroid issues are fairly common. SHE SCOFFS. And then starts banging on the computer keyboard telling me she will prove I have had my thyroid tested recently.
And then she sees that it hasn’t been tested since 2009. SUCK ON THAT DR. EVIL! (I say in my head.) She then says that she will test my thyroid but that it is a waste of time as she knows it is fine and I just need to accept that I’m overreacting.
The next day I get a call from the nurse. My thyroid is out of whack and I need further testing and medication. TOTALLY VINDICATED.
Except it is a hollow victory because I’m still sick and worst of all, Stells has been having weight gain issues, and this could be related. Over the course of two months I talked to 4 medical professionals about my symptoms and Stella’s weight gain issues and not one even thought of testing my thyroid until I forced the test.
So now I wait, for the further blood tests to come back and the medication. And I am going to find away to file a report about Dr. Evil. I know that doctors are over-worked and stressed out, but her attitude and treatment of me are unacceptable and someone needs to know that.
So stay tuned for thyroid updates and Stella updates. Hoping this is the end of our issues and that things will start getting better quickly.