I finally got to meet that all-important, mythical creature that I’ve been longing to see… the specialist! My mum (and plentiful fountain of knowledge and resource) had a recommendation for someone local, so we begged my GP to refer me and voila! 3 days later I was sat in his office getting the time and attention I had been craving.
I was referred to an Endocrinologist who concluded that my on-going symptoms could be down to three reasons:
- My body is failing to convert my medication (Synthetic T4 hormone) into T3, which makes my body function (or something slightly less dramatic but along the same lines)
- My body is over-producing steroids
- I have Polycystic Ovaries (PCOS)
Honestly, he made it look easy.
From the research I have done, a lot of people fall into the first category, where their body doesn’t covert T4 into T3, so fingers crossed this will be the case for me too. According to my Dr 1 out of 10 people don’t convert, so if you think you might fall into this statistic then get your butt back to that Drs office pronto! I don’t know what the ramifications of over-producing steroida s are (Maybe I’ll be a female Arnie Schwarz?) but I know that PCOS can make it difficult to have children so ‘no thanks’ to that.
After he explained all this to me (I even got a diagram to take home) I came out of the appointment feeling sufficiently reassured. This man obviously had a lot of cases like me and was able to point me in the right direction quickly and without judgement. He believed everything I said and restored the dignity I had lost when I begged to be referred to him. It was clear there would be no fight for tests or pushing for answers, he was 3 steps ahead. Literally. And it was a breath of fresh air.
I am booked in to have a blood test and ultrasound this week and I will get the results a couple of weeks after (HOORAY! Hello progress, its nice to meet you) so I will update you guys when I know more.
On another slightly related note, I was sick to my stomach to realise the small yet blindingly significant differences between being referred to a specialist through the NHS and going privately. I have been lucky enough to go through the process privately through work, but before I realised this was an option I started to go down the NHS route. I got my referral on 9th September 2013 and they wanted to give me an appointment in December *cue look of exasperation*. When I went privately and cancelled that appointment, I was given a new date just 3 days after I made the call. 3 DAYS! How is that even possible?! It’s the same dr at the same hospital but there is a 3 month difference in waiting.
Its sad to think I would have waited 3 months for the same diagnosis that took him half an hour to figure out. I would have got the same results just 10x slower because of the money (or lack thereof). I feel extremely lucky that I have been able to go through this privately and get the attention that I need, but after being on both sides of the fence I will say that if you’re going through the NHS you just have to be patient, you will get your time. Its frustrating and unfair but we will all get the answers we need if we are just patient and don’t take no for an answer. If you’re not satisfied keep going back until you are.
Wish me luck for my tests guys!