I have all the symptoms. All. The. Symptoms ... right down to excessive ear wax and costochondritis (pains in ribs/ inflamed sternum). I have chronic upper back pain, PMS, other lady troubles and all the other misery-causing things I have been living with for the last ten years at least. (depression, anxiety, brain fog, hair loss, weight gain, swollen hands & feet, always cold, etc. etc. etc.)
So I foolishly decided to go to the doctor... This is my story so far.
Visit 1: Saw a locum GP. Burst into tears in his office. Asked him if I could have a cortisol test (Having read Sarah Gottfried's book, The Hormone Cure, I thought this was a reasonable thing to ask). He laughed in my face and said "Oh, we never test for that."
The GP told me I was anemic (no blood test to back it up) and shoved a photocopy list of self-help books into my face. One of the books he recommended, was called something like "Why women can't read maps...". This "document" drafted by the GP himself, basically advises that everything will be OK as long as I BELIEVE. Like we're all living in a Disney movie, right? (cue, Frozen's Let it Go... cause the cold never bothered us much anyway, right?). Told the GP I think it's my thyroid, and so he said, OK, we'll do a blood test "to humour you."
Got the result. Receptionist told that my TSH was 2.6 (range 0,5 -5) which is "normal". The GP who saw me and the GP who reviewed the results were not the same person and when I asked if the GP who reviewed the lab results had looked at my medical notes, the answer was "Oh no, they don't need to do that."
I asked for a second opinion and was told I had to wait for 2 weeks to get an appointment. When that did not dissuade me, the receptionist then reluctantly booked it for me.
Visit 2: Arrived at the GP's office, armed with a folder full of research and info. I had spent my two-week wait wisely. For I too can make photocopies and I was primed and ready). Upon my arrival, I was told there was no appointment booked. So I kicked up a fuss and refused to leave the surgery until someone saw me. There was a kerfuffle in the back and I heard someone say, 'You really should have booked the appointment.' to which the answer was, 'she's just another one of those "crazies" who likes the attention'. I found that odd, because we had recently moved to the area and this was only the third time I had actually ever been in this GP's office.
Then miraculously, the GP called me.
I was told by the GP that the TSH was "normal" so he doesn't understand what the fuss was.
I handed him a typed up list of my symptoms (two pages long), and he just nodded and said, hmm.
Asked him if my T4 was tested. Answer: No. Asked if they would test for T3 and T4 and antibodies. Answer: No. Asked to be referred to an endocrinologist. Answer: (and these are the GP's exact words: "Endo's are science/ lab test-type people. If you think I am not listening to you, then you have no idea how unsympathetic an endo will be, so...No.'
I then proceeded to grill the GP with questions while I kept handing him my own photocopies of studies and information about hypothyroidism. He actually got some of the answers wrong! I could see his face and body language change during this exchange, because little ol' me - the crazy potentially hypothyroidic woman- had dared to question his medical expertise and had caught him out. He was not a happy bunny.
GP's opinion: "You don't have hypothyroidism because your TSH is "normal". You are not presenting as a Hashimoto's patient, but I'll do some more tests because you "might" have an autoimmune issue or you might be anemic (the first set of blood tests for anemia were normal). But don't pin your hopes on getting a diagnosis any time soon because your situation is "complex" and it's going to take a long time to get to the bottom of it. Oh, and just so you know, I'm going on holiday next week, so you're just going to have to wait until I come back." So basically, "code" for "you are a crazy person and you are wasting my time and the NHS's money".
So my bloods are off to the lab (still not completely sure what tests he ordered) and now I'm waiting.
I am feeling really ill and low and scared and worried. Am I crazy? The bundles of hair in my hairbrush every morning are real enough. Surely it's not all a figment of my imagination? I don't have the money to go private and I honestly don't know what I'm going to do.
Can anyone help with some advice? What more can I do to make them listen to me?