Are there any other Police Officers who suffer with hypoT and work shifts?

I have been struggling working shifts as a police officer. Although I'm taking 200 levothyroxine I still suffer lethargy, memory loss and general brain fog. It's affecting my confidence and I've been off work for 3 months with depression and anxiety. I have a meeting today with occ health and HR as they are under the impression that once you start levoT then all your symptoms disappear and you go back to 'normal' they obviously want me back full time front line, but I'm just not ready. Any advice?

12 Replies

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  • Have you got any printed material to show that T4 (Levothyroxine) does not always work as well as the medical profession would have you believe? If not then I would suggest that you get some together and take it to your meeting to try and educate these people.

    How long have you been on T4 and what, if anything, is your GP doing about your continuing symptoms, surly having to take sick leave for 3 months is evidence enough for your GP to do further tests or to refer you to an endo.

    I have a very good article that could possible educate them but it is written by an America doctor (although that shouldn't make a difference) if you would like me to send it to you in a private message but I think you are going to need more than one piece of written material to convince your HR team.

    You could always direct the straight to this site if they want more proof that T4 does not work for some and further/different medication is sometimes required.

    I will have a look on my "favourites" list to see if I have anything else that you can take along with you to help your cause.

    Moggie x

  • Get the Police Federation involved - you should be allowed to have a rep with you at the meeting. I believe if you are still suffering symptoms then you can use disability discrimination if the Force do not make reasonable adjustment for you. I would be of the personal view that you should be given a 9-5 desk job until your symptoms have subsided and are under control, if they are pushing for you to come back. Definitely avoid shifts until everything is under control.

    Am not a Police Officer, but Police Staff in Scotland :-)

  • Moggie when I went through this basically the company will only listen to what my gp had to say or what their occ had to say. Trying to give them evidence from yourself isn't probably going to wash. My company at least will only listen to gps or government type doctors. And we know what most of them are like :0)

    How long have you got left of your sick pay, Rach?

    Simon

  • I have complete sympathy. I was a police officer for TVP for 12 years prior to being hypo. I left to pursue another career but can honestly say that I could never have performed as a safe functioning officer whilst I've had this even though for the first 4 years when I coped okay on levo.

    The emphasis being "Safe". I would never have been able to support my colleagues if they got into trouble as I wasn't strong enough. The memory problems would threaten any paperwork I did due to possible errors. I won't even go there on night shifts!

    How about asking them to refer you to a private endo (a good one) who will be able to provide a report on your true state of health so that they can better understand your condition.

    I agree with the above comment and make sure that your Fed rep is aware and attends with you for moral support - it can only help.

    Best of luck

    Tracey x

  • Sorry Moggie, I've just noticed your mention of the Endo too - brain fog!!!

  • Cheers guys! Meeting is at 3pm today! Wish me luck!! Tracey I will be using your input as support! Thanks again x

  • Good luck and no problem using me lol. Let us know how you get on :O)

  • Hi probably too late but I went through all this with occy health back in 2007 before being diagnose hyper. I was having palpitations, brain fog, sweats and was at the time working 28 hours a week with a young child. My hubby was also in the job working long hours opposite to mine for child care.

    Occy health woman who must have weighed 25 stone told me to lose weight. I was a stone over at the time and to get a grip. Dismissed thyroid stuff as nonsense and basically ridiculed me.

    My supervisors were pushing for me to go back full time and I went off stressed and could not handle the paperwork or nights ( which I mainly worked) due to tiredness. Plus I had every cold under the sun and hives and swollen feet etc etc.

    After 3 months I put in my notice and was eventually diagnosed as very hyper.

    I had no help and went from an officer with immaculate record, acting up and training probationers, about to sit my sergeants to a wreck. I left but it has only been in the last 12 months that I realised I was not depressed but ill.

    Do fight it and keep fighting it. All the best.

  • Blimey! It was a bit too late, though I'm sure I will still be able to use your story at some point. Thank you for taking time to reply x

  • Hi, only just seen your message so sorry for the late reply. I hope your meeting went ok.

    I'm in the job as well and went through all of this so I can really sympathise. I was diagnosed with Graves disease after feeling ill for a couple of years before. I thought it was my body reacting to years of shift work to begin with.

    I asked to be taken off front line work but my request was refused. Fortunately my Doctor was sympathetic and I was on restricted duties for about 8 months, non confrontational and the latest I worked was until 23.00hrs. I think I was off sick for about 9 weeks in total, two blocks of illness as the meds made me go from overactive to underactive before the thyroxine was introduced.

    Unfortunately my Sgt and Insp were not so sympathetic. My Insp told me he had been speaking about my condition to his Doctor wife and was telling me how I should be feeling because of the medication I was on...and didn't like being contradicted!

    My Sgt was pushing for me to become fully operational and was becoming frustrated that my meetings with Occy Health were confidential and that I continued to be on restricted duties. His opinion was much the same as your colleagues, that the medication should be an instant cure.

    The Force Doctor did however point out to my Supervisors that I fell under the Disability Act because of needing medication to function on a daily basis.

    My main symptom was excessive tiredness which caused brain fog; I couldn't concentrate and felt too weak to cope with the physical aspects of the job. The tiredness didn't really shift even though my blood test results eventually came back ok. I've realised now that when I'm stressed this is when the excessive tiredness is at its worst.

    I was fully operational for two shifts, had a weeks leave and announced I was pregnant - so went straight back onto restricted duties!

    Four years later and I work part time now, days and lates - I think I would find full time and nights too much although I work three 10 hours shifts each week.

    I kept saying if I had a physical injury it wouldn't be so bad but the illness is invisible and I felt that my colleagues thought I was faking it because of how they treated me.

    Anyway, two months ago I had a total thyroidectomy - due to a what I thought was a nodule growing. It turned about to be a tumour and within the thyroid was some cancer. I've had a different Sgt and Insp for a while, but they and everyone else have been totally different - once the lump in my neck became very visible and the mention of surgery. Just waiting to get the meds balanced again!

    Good luck.

  • Bethy, you couldn't have described my situation any better!! Thank you

  • You need to check out stopthethyroidmadness.com and get on a dissected thyroid med.

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