So I went to see the endocrinologist today…

Friday, May 15th, 2009

I had my appointment with the endocrinologist today.

I got a call a few days ago that there was an earlier appointment open and, thanks be to Avitable, I was able to take the morning off work and take advantage of the Friday morning time slot.

I felt at ease the moment I walked into the office.  The waiting room was clean and well decorated – something that should say nothing about the medical treatment given in the back rooms, but that appeals to my sense of vanity anyway.  I handed the receptionist the completed information packet I had received in the mail.  She made a copy of my ID and insurance card and asked me to take a seat with the promise that someone would be with me shortly.

I didn’t even have time to update my Twitter before my name was called.

A nurse weighed me and took my blood pressure and went over my medical history with me again.  She looked at the copy of the labs I had brought with me, and managed to call me “Sweetie” a few times.  She also complimented me on my dress.

She left me alone in the exam room and I prepared myself for the inevitable wait.  I pulled out my iPhone and quickly shoved it back into my purse when the doctor walked in almost immediately.

“What are you doing here?  You’re too healthy to be here.”

Great.

And then I began trying to convince the man in the white coat with the gray hair that I was not, in fact, healthy.  Few things in this world make you feel more like a crazed hypochondriac than trying to make a doctor believe you when you say “something is not right”.

“What do you mean when you say fatigue?” he asked.

I told him about waking up tired and the four hour naps and the inability to make it through 8 hours of work without crashing.

“Millions of people in Europe take siestas everyday,” he said.

I hung my head and concentrated on the piece of skin that I was desperately trying to tear off my thumb.

“Your symptoms are so general, it could be any one of thousands of things,” he explained.

The corner of my thumbnail started to bleed.

“It doesn’t sound like a hormone issue.”

I will not cry, I will not cry, I will not cry.

“Let’s have a look at you and see what we can figure out.”

He sat me in a padded chair and listened to my heart and lungs.  I gripped his fingers and he banged on my knees.  He felt my throat and my ankles and I silently cursed myself for being so stupid.  Of course there’s nothing wrong with me.  What the hell was I doing here?  I was fertile, I didn’t have diabetes.  I had absolutely no business taking up the time of an endocrinologist.

“OK, we’re going to run a bunch of tests to see what we can find.”

And then one of us started talking about my depression and the medicine I was taking for it.  I told him about the Cymbalta I’d been taking for over a year and about the script for Lexapro I was carrying in my purse.  I asked him if changing it would cause any problems if there did happen to be something else wrong with me.  He shook his head as he continued to make notes in my chart.

“I would actually agree with whoever made the suggestion to you to switch,” the back of his said to me.

“Why?”

He stopped and turned around in his chair so that he was facing me.  He looked at me.  And he started to talk to me, and not to my charts.

He explained the differences in the types of medications and the side effects that no one had ever told me about.  For the first time, I heard about the part of my brain I was trying to fix and all the other things that that part of the brain is responsible for handling.  He explained to me how to make the switch from one medication to another, and where to go next if that didn’t work.

“OK, let’s get you out of here.”

He walked me to the receptionist who would order my labs and schedule my next appointment.  As he walked down the hall a few steps ahead of me, I couldn’t help but try to defend myself one last time.

“I know I sound crazy.  But I’m a 29 year old woman and I know when my body is not doing what it was doing before.  I know what it feels like to be tired and -”

He stopped, turned again, and waited for me to catch up to him.

“You are not crazy.  This is not something you’re making up in your head.  There is something, we just don’t know what.  We don’t know if it’s hormone based, but we’re going to find out.”

I wanted to hug him and cry and hug him again.  I just smiled, silently, instead.

“This is real.”

And then maybe I did cry just a little in the hallway in front of the receptionist’s window.

I scheduled my next appointment for the first part of June and went across the hall to the in-house lab, where a very pleasant woman proceeded to suck 18 vials of blood from my arm.  (No, really.  18 freaking vials.  That is a lot of my blood going out of my body.)  She printed off a copy of all of the tests that were ordered so that I could discuss them later with my mom.  And she called me Sweetie, too.

I walked out of that doctor’s office knowing nothing more than I did when I walked in.   I mean, not really.

I still don’t know why I’m tired and why my arms and legs keep going all tingly at random times during the day.  I don’t know why my last two periods were two months apart.  I have no idea why I went four days without getting out of bed.

But I know that someone else knows and I know that they know that it is not nothing.  It is something.

It is real.

And that makes me just a hair less crazy today than I was yesterday.

Get Happy Updates!

Join the Pursuit of Happiness newsletter and get happiness updates straight to your inbox each week!

  1. John says:

    Well I hope they get it figured out, get it treated, and get it outta here.

    And I enjoyed your post. : )

  2. Mrs Soup says:

    I am so very glad that you found doctors that are looking to help you instead of just tossing drugs at you and walking you out the door. That makes such a huge difference.

    I hope that they find out whats going on and are able to fix it quickly and easily.

  3. Dawn says:

    You’re one giant step further than you were yesterday. You’ve got a doctor with access to lab tests on your side. You and he are going to get to the bottom of this.

    Have a great weekend, SWEETIE. :)

  4. brittany says:

    It has taken me a second to comment on this, because I had to compose myself. I have no idea why this post brought me to tears, but it did.

    I am so glad you have some kind of progress!

  5. DeannaBanana says:

    I’m glad Britt, really. Please keep me posted. And I? Am 400 times crazier. Just sayin…

  6. Melissa says:

    Well, that’s a step in the right direction! Yay!

  7. Dory says:

    Hang in there, Britt. You can do it.

  8. Jamie says:

    It sounds like you have hit the jackpot with your endocrinologist. I hope soon you will be able to work together to figure this all out. Be kind to yourself in the meantime.

  9. Howard says:

    The bedside manner of a Saint. Wow. Having a good doctor is a great feeling. I hope your doctor continues with that amount of compassion for you.

    Oh, and that you get better, too. :)

  10. Lynda says:

    Now that sounds like a good doctor.

    I sometimes think the “You are too healthy” comments are to put you at ease. At least he is trying to help you, which sounds a lot better than your last visit.

  11. lee brookes says:

    Its sounds like you have found a great Doc there.

    I hope everything gets sorted as soon as is possible. You know we are all hoping for you in the blogosphere
    :)

  12. Hugs, Britt.

    I ‘m so glad that you’ve found a good Dr like that! Here’s to the future!!!

  13. I hope you’re on your way to figuring it out. Me, on the other hand, I think I’m just starting my meltdown. I had a fullblown panic attack today.

  14. Mama Bub says:

    I’m following this saga as closely as I’m following the demise of Jon and Kate, which is to say – very closely. No answers but definitely a step in the right direction which might just be enough momentum to make this weekend a good one. Here’s hoping.

  15. Thrilled you found a Dr. that treats you like a REAL person and agrees that this problem is REAL. Fingers crossed for some answers in those 18 vials of blood. Hugs.

  16. Jessica says:

    Awesome! Just keep taking those steps!

  17. bubblewench says:

    The first time I saw my doc, I had that same conversation. I cried for about an hour after because he put his hand on my shoulder and said “You are not crazy. And we will make you better.”

    Just knowing that someone believes you and will help you is sometimes more then enough.

    I just had to log on and know how you were doing because yes, I do sit around thinking “Hm, wonder how Miss Britt is doing?” amoung many other things.

    This is good news.

  18. Maria says:

    I’m so relieved for you. And hoping you get real answers soon.

  19. RW says:

    You test and try and see a lot of products and you do tell people about stuff you like. If you can figure out a way to keep it inside professional ethics, it sounds to me like talking up and about this particular doctor might not be all that bad an idea. Neh?

  20. We shouldn’t have to fight for a diagnosis. I really hope these people help you.

  21. Sybil Law says:

    Not *crazy* – interesting! :P
    Seriously – I am so happy. About time someone listened!!!
    Best of luck, and relax a little this weekend. The world won’t end if the house gets messy, right?

  22. Turnbaby says:

    I’m glad someone is finally talking TO you

  23. PaintingChef says:

    Oh honey. I KNOW. I know what you are feeling. It’s like the lump in your throat and the tightness in your chest are letting up for the first time in months. I’m so happy for you. We never HOPE for things to be wrong with us but when we find out what it is, it is finally a THING that can be addressed and FIXED. Good for you for not just letting it go, good for you for being proactive. I’ll be thinking about you!!

  24. I was getting pissed at the doctor for a minute there….but I’m *so* glad he wasn’t the douche he initially seemed to be.

    Big hugs to you.

  25. Lora says:

    I’m so very glad that you have found someone that is taking this seriously. Sometimes just having that “professional” listen and be in our corner is enough to help us get through the day.

  26. avitable says:

    But the important question is: was he dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and Birkenstocks? :D

  27. Meg says:

    That’s why I have not gone to the doctor in the past when something’s “wrong.” I’m afraid they’ll be all, nothing’s wrong with you!

    Good for you for going and for staying on top of it. I think that doc will get to the bottom of it and you’ll be back to normal in no time.

  28. Sandra says:

    I just started following your blog a few days ago, and I love every word of it. I was shocked to find that you, like me, are feeling like crap for no apparent reason. I went to my first appointment with the endo doc yesterday. They took 13 vials of blood. I thought I was going to faint before I could find a Moe’s to eat at. My PCP thinks I’m crazy, and kept telling me I was depressed. I actually know what depression is and NO I don’t have it. (Thank you very much) I also really fell like this new guy is concerned and really does want to help me.

    I guess I’m just glad that there is someone else out there that is going through something akin to me. I guess it honestly does make me feel better to know that I’m not the only one that is “crazy”.

    Good luck.

  29. Selma says:

    That’s good news. It won’t be long before you find out what’s going on!

  30. blues says:

    See, now why is it so difficult to have a doctor visit like that? I’m glad someone is helping you. You’ll know soon and you’ll solve it.

  31. Sharon says:

    Glad you are getting a little understanding from your doctors now!

  32. My friend is going through almost the exact same thing as you. She went two months between periods. She has the tingly arms and legs. She has the fatigue, mood swings, and depression. She has migraines. The one thing that stands out to me is she just went off Cymbalta.

    When I stopped taking Cymbalta two years ago I thought I was pregnant. I went two months without a period, I was nauseaus, and my limbs tingled terribly.

    Obviously there is something going on with your body and I so know what you mean about feeling crazy in the face of the white lab coat, and I’m so glad you had all those blood tests. I just wanted to share my own experiences with Cymbalta, for what it’s worth….

    (Also: Google “Women’s Health America” and read some of their information, see if anything stands out to you. They have worked miracles for a few women in my life.)

    Hang in there, babe.

  33. I have no words but I just wanted to give you some (((hugs)))

  34. kapgar says:

    I’m sorry you’re going through this, but the idea that the doctor was actually talking to you and not your charts is pretty amazing. I want to shake his hand. So few do that. It certainly helps reassure the patient at least a little bit as it seems to have done with you.

    And how do we start a Stateside movement toward mandatory siestas?

  35. corrin says:

    That’s great that you found a good endo. I’ve heard lots of horror stories and even experienced one myself. I’m still looking for an endo that wants to treat me and not my charts.

    Here’s my post on my last endo visit if anyone is interested…

    http://corrinrenee.com/would-you-be-interested-in-lap-band-surgery/

  36. Kellie says:

    Seriously? When you get the results, I am printing it and taking it to my doctor. I love my primary. LOVE her. I saw her yesterday. Handed her my list of “symptoms”, tried telling her that I KNOW I sound crazy and the Cymbalta I’m on backs that point up. She, for the first time EVER, told me all I was feeling and had told her are signs of depression and anxiety and I should seek a counselor.

    It SUCKS to leave a doctor’s office feeling worse than when you went in; to feel that the one person you trust to LISTEN to you and to help you makes you feel that it’s all in your head.

    It’s not. I KNOW it’s not.

    I’m happy steps are being taken to figure out what is going on. Even if it’s nothing, the peace of mind will be fantastic.

    Keep us posted.

  37. Hi Britt,

    Have you ever heard of or been told you have or may have Fibromyalgia?? I have all sorts of weird symptoms and fatigue, have been tested over and over again over the years for different problems and diseases, and they find nothing. I was finally diagnosed with Fibromyalgia several years ago. I get flare ups where it gets worse from time to time (like now – this past month) and the doctors tell me I need MORE sleep, exercise and LESS stress. Yea right, with 5 kids? My bloodwork results(for more testing I just had done) came back yesterday – all normal again, but I am aching all over, muscles so sore and twitchy, headaches, dizziness and sooooo exhausted!
    Hope you feel better soon and get some answers – the not knowing just makes things worse with all the anxiety.

    Thinking of you!

  38. FyreGoddess says:

    I cried, too, when I finally found a doctor who was willing to take me seriously, and not just dismiss me as hypochondriac or fat chick looking for an excuse.

    I also brought my mom with me to back me up when he took my history.

    I’m so glad you’ve found a doc who will take you seriously, explain things to you really well and help you to figure out, then understand what’s going on with you.

    Good luck!

  39. Hope your little getaway will help somehow (and that you reserve enough energy to outrun anyone between you and the bears/gators).

  40. Tonz says:

    I haven’t commented in a while but I’ve still been reading. This one made me cry too. But I know that feeling…when finally you feel like someone is really listening to you it does make you cry. Especially when you’re not sleeping.

  41. Nobody™ says:

    Sounds like when I was on Paxil. I’ve been on at least 4 different SSRI’s before finding one that didn’t mess me all up with crappy side effects. Let’s hope it’s nothing more sinister than that and switching to a different one fixes things.
    Good luck!

  42. pocket queen says:

    I’m so glad for you, Sweetie. That is one solid step forward in the right direction! Just keep pushing on, keep the faith…

  43. Becca says:

    I am so glad you found a doctor who would listen! You are one step closer…

  44. I know exactly what you mean about feeling better. When a doctor finally says “this is real” it makes it feel so much better because you are then not in it alone anymore. There is finally someone with knowledge to figure it out helping you. That makes a world of difference!

    I am thinking good thoughts for you to figure it out soon and for it to be nothing serious at all.

  45. Robina says:

    The waiting and waiting on a diagnosis must be painful in and of itself. It would drive me crazy! I hope they figure SOMETHING out Britt, and I hope it’s going to be okay.

  46. Stacey says:

    I hope they get it figured out. I hate when doctors rule out one or two things and then pretend you never complained about symptoms like maybe you’ll forget you didn’t feel right.

  47. Jennifer says:

    Britt,

    Over the past few years, I’ve slowly uncovered multiple ailments that are responsible for my fatigue, graying hair, brain fog, lack of periods and more. They discovered my hypothyroidism pretty quickly, but it took several years before I found a kind doctor to actually pay attention. I was additionally diagnosed with PMDD and PCOS. Doctors always test for thyroid problems, but the tests they can run for PCOS are not routine.

    Good luck.

  48. YAY! So glad to hear that someone’s taking your concerns seriously!!

    I really hope they find some answers for you! xoxox

  49. Jennifer A says:

    I’m glad the doctor is listening and willing to find an answer. Hopefully the 18 vitals of blood will give an answer and a path towards a better treatment.

  50. karen meg says:

    I’m glad you’re listening to your body and that you’ve found a doctor who is listening to you.

    Just tell me he wasn’t wearing Crocs, ‘kay?

    Hugs, hope you get answers soon.

  51. Josie says:

    This brought tears to my eyes. I know how frustrating it can be when you KNOW something is not right with your body and no one will listen.
    So very happy you have what sounds like an amazing doctor in your corner.

  52. NATUI says:

    The beginning of this post had me cringe and the end, cheering. I’m so glad he listened. What a burden lifted.

  53. Trust your instincts. Fight for the care you need. Get your answers. Stop at nothing less.

  54. amanda says:

    isnt it nice when drs actually give a fuck? i think i should trek my ass to Florida

  55. There is nothing worse than a doctor making you feel like it’s “all in your head”. I’m so glad your doctor is in your court. I hope he finds you some answers….soon. Hang in Britt.

  56. two weeks mostly away from the internet is brutal…missing things like this are unacceptable. (sorry for being a bad friend and not being supportive while you are struggling to figure out what exactly is going wrong.)
    i am so thankful this doctor understands that there is something he needs to help figure out. you certainly aren’t crazy and i love that he took time to speak TO you, not at you.
    hang in there.

  57. Excellent, hon. I’m glad you’re on the road to finding out what’s going on. It’s so awesome when you find a doctor who will be your advocate and work with you, not against you.

    How is the cutting of bad carbs working? I hope it’s making you feel a little better at least.

  58. Al_Pal says:

    OhMyGosh. Glad things are better now! ;p

« « And next Dell will pat me on the behind and tell me to buy myself something pretty. | When Happiness Means Not Blogging. Or Using Periods. » »