My journey to physical wholeness has been painstakingly slow, and it hasn’t even really begun yet. My referral to the endocrinologist was temporarily a dead end. She would not take me on as a patient because my last physical was over a year ago. For me, that was incredible…..that was the only physical I’d had in over 15 years, but 18 months ago wasn’t recent enough? She, or rather her receptionist, was unswayed by my teary voice, so back to the internist I went.
Only I was now considered a “new patient,” having not been there, as I said, in 18 months. I was assigned to a new doctor at the practice, Dr. G. He was extremely supportive, and eager to help me. After asking a myriad of questions, and finding that I only exhibited two of the many symptoms for hypothyroidism (inability to lose weight and fatigue – duh, I’m a mom), he said it was unlikely that this was the problem. I mentioned my family history of the disease, and he assured me that he would do whatever he could to get to the bottom of things. He even said he would refer me to the endocrinologist if I wasn’t satisfied with what he could do for me.
Upon physical exam, he palpated a goiter (swelling) on my thyroid, and found hyperreflexia in my knee joints. These both could point to a thyroid problem. Blood work and ultrasound were next on the agenda.
I figured out a way to do both in the same day to cut down on travel time and childcare. This meant that I fasted all night and morning, had my ultrasound at 1pm, and blood work after that. I was incredibly nervous and sick throughout the morning. You see, I have evil veins. They are submarines. They dive and roll at the approach of a needle. I have had very few successful blood draws. Though I had an extreme and irrational fear of needles throughout childhood and into young adulthood, I honestly am over the poke. I’m not afraid of the poke anymore. But the digging, and repeated poking, and not bleeding after all of that…..it’s anxiety inducing, to say the least.
The last time I had blood drawn, at the aforementioned physical, they wound up drawing blood from the back of my hand while I sobbed and told them, between sobs, that “I’ve had eight babies with no drugs! I am not a wimp!” Not my most dignified moment. But this was the picture in my head as I approached the lab two weeks ago. I was fighting tears before I even sat down. I refused to make eye contact. I cursed my optimistic application of mascara that morning. But….I wanted to be fixed. I needed to know what was wrong with me so that I could begin to escape this foreign body I was trapped in. So I closed my eyes and began to pray.
Poke. Wiggle. “Hmmm.” Prod, prod. “Am I bleeding yet?” “No, not yet, honey.” She had another woman come feel for the vein she was sure was there. Nope, nothing. Needle withdrawn. She looked at my face and asked me to move to another chair – one that was lower to the ground, so perhaps she was concerned I would faint. Then she left. I don’t know if it was a shift change, or what, but another woman appeared. She took a quick look at both arms, then my right hand. She told me matter-of-factly that the veins in my arms were too deep, and she wasn’t about to torture me. She was going for the beautiful vein in the back of my hand. I cried. She was compassionate, but firm. It hurt a lot. And then it was done. I think I actually said “awesome!” when she told me she’d gotten all the blood she needed. The hard part was over.
A few days later, I called to see if Dr. G had gotten the results of my tests yet. Yep. All normal. Seriously? Ok, but what about that referral? Dr. G wanted me to come see him again to talk about more options. Fine.
That appointment was yesterday. Now, Dr. G seems to have a genuine desire to help me. But today felt like a big waste of time. Yes, your thyroid is fine. We could test for diabetes, or Cushing’s disease, or hormonal imbalance, but I don’t really think it’s any of those. I could prescribe you some weight loss medication, but they come with side effects like hypertension, heart palpitations, anxiety, and anal leakage. Um, could I just have that referral, please? Yes, of course.
So now I’m waiting again. In the meantime, I got lazy in the last month, and quite easily gained several more pounds. I’m going to sound like a complainer now, but I don’t care. When working out five days a week and eating healthy – healthier than I ever have in my life – results in remaining overweight……and when working out only two days a week and indulging in a few snacks (not binges) results in rapid weight gain……. something. ain’t. right.
This malfunction of mine is still undefined. And so I wait. And fume. And cry, but only a little or I will never stop. And I add fitness back into my routine. And I stop feeding my fear with food. And I pray.