Let’s use our imaginations for a moment.
Let’s say something is happening in your kitchen.
It looks like it’s on fire.
It feels like it’s on fire.
You can see a fire over there on your stove.
You know your kitchen is on fire.
What you would do next is you would either put it out yourself with a fire extinguisher(which we all have in our houses, right?) or you would call the fire department.
Now, imagine if the fire department got there, but refused to put out your fire because it wasn’t big enough yet. Your freaking house is on fire! The whole thing is going to burn down, but the fire department says they have to wait until the fire is bigger before they can turn on the water hoses.
Obviously, the fire department doesn’t actually do this. They don’t show up at your house to put out a fire and then tell you that your fire isn’t big enough to warrant their concern. The fire department puts out fires; that’s what they do; it’s their job.
You know who does do this though? Doctors, that’s who.
Here’s the doctor scenario:
You go to the doctor knowing you’re sick and you’re suffering from something. You’ve done your research. You know you have an entire list of symptoms checked off. You ask for blood tests. You get the results back. You think to yourself, “Finally, I’m going to get some treatment for this disease I’ve been suffering from for years.” The doctor is going to prescribe you some medicine and you’re going to be on your way and become healthier, right?
Wrong! The doctor says, “Yes, you’re experiencing XYZ which is inline with having ABC disease, but your lab results weren’t high enough to warrant treatment. So I’m not going to put you on any medication right now, but you’ll need it in the future. People in your condition with ABC disease generally have a worsening of ABC disease and will need medication in the future. Also, if you were trying to get pregnant right now, we would prescribe you medication.”
This is exactly like the firemen not putting out your fire because it wasn’t big enough yet.
Basically, the doctor is saying, “I know your life sucks because you have this problem, but it doesn’t suck quite as much as I like it to suck before I prescribe medication.”
I bring all of this up because I was recently diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, and you guessed it… the doctor refused to prescribe me medication because, although my thyroid antibodies were high, my TSH levels were still technically in the normal range, albeit a high-normal. This woman flat-out tells me I have Hashimoto’s but doesn’t do one darn thing to treat it. She goes on to say that I will need medication in the future because I’m going to develop full-blown hypothyroidism, according to her. She also says that if I were trying to conceive a baby, she might prescribe me some medicine anyway because it would give me a better chance of carrying a pregnancy to term. Since, I wasn’t trying to get pregnant, I was out of luck.
Maybe I should have told her I was going to run out and get pregnant the next day?
How wrong is this? I mean, seriously…how wrong is this? My life sucks because of this disease. I know I have it. Her ultrasound of my neck confirmed it. My blood tests confirmed it, but because my TSH level isn’t too high, on an outdated scale for TSH levels, I don’t get treatment.
I’m not the only woman this has happened to, nor was this the first time I’ve dealt with stubborn doctors. I had to fight to get a PCOS diagnosis after suspecting I had it for years and years.
Look, you may have gone to eight years of school to become a doctor, but this is a pretty stupid move. Every person is different and that’s why people need to be cared for on a case by case basis and not according to some stupid chart or scale. My TSH level, of 3.91 is obviously too high for me. Maybe it would be fine for someone else, but not for me.
We can cite other medical arguments, for example, the BMI, an outdated and inaccurate measurement the health world uses to determine whether or not you’re too fat. Look, if some muscly woman, or man, walks into the doctor’s office and told they’re obese from their BMI number, but they can lift a VW bug, then there’s not a problem; there is no concern. If you can lift a car, you’re pretty darn healthy.
For crying out loud, if it looks like a horse and it smells like a horse, and it sounds like a horse– it’s probably a darn horse.
If I were a doctor and I had a patient and my patient said, “This, this, and this is going on with me,” and this, this, and this happened to fit in the profile for some disease, and the blood work sort of pointed in that direction, I would have to consider that this person had that disease, or was developing the disease. The proper thing to do would be to treat this person so they didn’t develop a more severe case of this disease.
For example, if a person was diabetic, I would want to treat them for diabetes before one of their legs had to be amputated. How about this– even if a person doesn’t test positive for diabetes on the lab results, but they’re pretty darn close, how about some intervention right then and right there, that way, maybe it doesn’t turn into diabetes.
If doctors sat down with a person and listened to the patient’s concerns and then prescribed treatment instead of ignoring everything a person said if their blood work didn’t point 100% in that direction, we might have healthier people on our hands. Diseases would be caught before they get too bad.
Look, doctors, patients are people and they are variable. Your fancy charts and scales aren’t going to work in every situation.