I told you about my struggle to find good healthcare here in St. Louis and how I started seeing a doctor in Chicago because her name was listed in one of Suzanne Somers' books in the resources section. I went to see her in person two times and then had two phone appointments with her. She seemed nice enough, for sure. And she was the one who actually told me I had Hashimoto's because my thyroid antibodies were elevated. But I went to see her with a list of things I wanted to know if I needed, or had a question about. I pretty much knew I needed to be on a natural progesterone replacement, but had read an interview with Dr. Michael Galitzer (who is Suzanne Somers' doctor) and he specifically said to use a progesterone cream. Previously, I had been taking a bio-identical compounded progesterone pill. I also read an article from Dr. Mark Hyman who also mentioned a specific progesterone cream called Natural Gesterone Cream from Premier Research Labs. Both of these doctors I highly respect, so I thought it was probably beneficial for me to be on a cream as well. When I asked the new doctor in Chicago about a pill versus a cream, she said, "Oh definitely a pill. I wouldn't give you a cream to put on your skin that has to go all the way through the fat to start working". I was surprised, but didn't know enough at the time to question her because her response sounded logical. So, I started taking a bio-identical pill again that was fairly expensive. I was also taking Armour thyroid that you can get at any pharmacy, and they just tripled the price and changed the formula. Many people were upset and complaining about adverse reactions from the new formula. I was concerned about taking it, but started anyway and began looking into it. I have to admit I was unsettled about a thyroid medication you could get from a Walgreen's. In our current health care system, I couldn't imagine how the quality could be that good. I found out about a product called Thyro-Gold that's from grass-fed New Zealand beef. It contains the complete thyroid hormone, and is available without a prescription for a much better price. I decided to make the switch and feel much better about my choice. I hadn't experienced any reactions from the newly formulated Armour, but I wasn't even sure the batch I was getting at my Walgreen's was in fact part of the new formulation. I was paying over $200 for both prescriptions which tied me to a doctor, because they won't renew your prescriptions unless you follow their protocol, or visit them as often as they say, or get a mammogram or pap smear when they say. I don't like that. Plus, this doctor never mentioned the sudden increase in price of Armour, so I could be aware of it. Doctor's should do this. They should be advocating for their patients. Ugh. She also had me on her protocol that cost me over $600 out-of-pocket each time I had an appointment with her - which was fairly often. I wasn't seeing huge improvements in my symptoms either. One particular phone appointment, I asked a question about what she was referring to in her previous statement to me because I didn't understand, and she got very testy with me. It sounded like she was flustered and was shuffling papers around in the background trying to go through my records, and because she couldn't answer me correctly, she got testy WITH ME. That rubbed me the wrong way also. The final straw was when I called her office and said I wasn't going to do one of the expensive saliva tests she had me do each time ($260) for my next appointment - I discovered she went ahead and cancelled my actual appointment as well. As if to say, she's in control of my health, not me. If I don't do everything she says, then I'm out. So, that was when I decided to not go back to her. Since that decision I also learned that you can order that expensive saliva test for half the price online! Why wasn't she advocating for me?? To see a functional medicine doctor can be expensive because they typically don't take your insurance, so why wouldn't they help you save money wherever possible. It's cheap to be unhealthy, but expensive to be healthy. Imagine that.
What I also recently learned from the book, What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Premenopause by Dr. John Lee and Dr. Jesse Hanley, is that you should definitely use progesterone cream. Why? Because it is highly fat soluble, which means it's excellent when applied to your skin. Whereas, oral progesterone is transported to the liver where 80% to 90% is converted and excreted from the body. Now, compare that with what I was told up above. What??
Talk about frustrating.
So, I did order the progesterone cream mentioned above and have been using that as well.
What have I netted out from all of this? Well, I'm paying less money for thyroid and progesterone. I'm also not tied to any doctor in order to get them because they're both available without a prescription. I also know more on my own than when I was paying a lot of money for the doctor in Chicago. I'm also in control, which is how it should be. I do need to find another doctor though for routine work and I'd love to find a functional practitioner who will meet me where I'm at...meaning, they will meet me at my knowledge level and only give me the support I need, not some one-size-fits-all package they use on every patient.
I've also learned a ton more about the thyroid from reading the books I've shared with you, along with some of the websites I've mentioned. For the past few years, I knew nothing about looking for antibodies on my blood work, because I didn't understand that those related to inflammation in the body. But here's a disappointing story I want to share: I decided to go back through my blood work from the past few years and see what my iron and B12 numbers were to compare them to now. What I found out was that I had elevated antibodies as far back as 2011 - and the doctor in Florida never mentioned Hashimoto's, though they did start me on natural thyroid replacement. And the horrible doctor I went to briefly here in St. Louis also didn't mention my elevated antibodies. Both of these doctors present themselves as functional doctors, but they failed me. For the past four years, I had inflammation destroying my thyroid but didn't know it. This is why I say it can be frustrating, with plenty of setbacks, but don't give up. If there's anything my experiences illustrate, it's the need to educate yourself about your own body. Do your research. Don't completely entrust it to someone else. Also, listen to your gut. If something a doctor says doesn't sit right, move on. There are good doctors out there, but they are harder to find.
Don't give up.