So, some of you may have seen on my Instagram stories, but recently I had an occurrence that I feel many women have, but few talk about it or question it.
Being 26, this is my last year on my mother’s health insurance, and you bet that I’m fully taking advantage of that. I decided to get a full blood panel done, test my hormones (I’ve been hormonal birth control free for just over a year – blog post here on that) test my thyroid for good measure, and cortisol levels.
Well, was I in for a surprise.
Upon sitting down with my doctor, it was as if she had never looked over my results until that very moment. She said everything looked fine except my vitamin D was low, and that I could be on my way. I gave her a puzzled look and asked about all the extensive tests I elected to have done, and their results. At this point, she seemed rushed and said “OH, YES, well, seems here your thyroid is on the low end” and proceeded to write a prescription. I exclaimed that I did NOT want a script, and her response is something that will always stick with me, “If you’re not on medication now, you will be next year. Our genes control us, we don’t control them.” Mind you, I was on the low end of the range within normal limits, and she refused to work out a more natural course of treatment or supply options.
She also couldn’t comprehend the fact that I was a vegan, and kept going on and on that my thyroid might be off from the hotdogs and cold-cuts I eat, to which I laughed because I haven’t had any of those items in over fifteen years, and mentioned 5 times prior that I’m a vegan (she was suggesting fish oil, suggesting less red meat, all to which I’d have to repeat my strict diet over and over.) I took this alone as a clear sign of the current office I was at NOT being the place for me, and how can any doctor really pay attention when they have so little time for each patient? In that very moment I knew I no longer wanted to be beneath her care, and that I would be going elsewhere.
My concerns were completely dismissed, was told that I haven’t been practicing medicine for 40 years, my past use of hormonal birth control had nothing to do with my hormones being off, and people don’t have repercussions from previous medications for years to come.
Now, I know damn well even without ever having kids, that even after childbirth, hormones can take a while to return to homeostasis (hello post-partum.) I am beyond thrilled I listened to my intuition and denied medication, when I wasn’t even explained the proper list of potential side effects or even given the option to give this a go without a script.
I had this overwhelming urge to talk about my experience online, though I had tears in my eyes and was well defeated. I couldn’t believe the support and openness I received right back, and I am still so thankful and quite honestly still can’t believe how many people reached out to me. I had a synchronicity happening in my messages then too, a friend mentioned acupuncture being an option, and at the same moment, my close friend (who works at an acupuncturist’s office) said I should come in, as her doctor helped her with her own hormones.
I have been working more on trusting the universe, and letting go of control, and I saw the correlation, and took the soonest appointment.
Later that same day, after having a consultation at the Acupuncturists’, I felt like my doctor listened to me for the first time in my life.
I felt heard, accepted, and a sense of hope instead of just being thrown on medication and hoping for the best. Though it was just a consultation, we talked about a course of action for the time being involving different yoga poses, a small change in diet, and a new supplement to start before my first official visit the following week. He even took the time to make sure my supplements were vegan, and to give vegan recommendations on the diet portion, it all felt like a dream especially after what happened earlier that day.
As someone with a long history of anxiety, depression, autoimmune, migraines, severe allergies, and chronic pain from endometriosis, dissatisfying doctor visits are a reoccurring theme in my life.
At 26, to finally have a doctor say that my assumptions may be right, was amazing. I urge anyone having any issues at all, whether its chronic pain, mental health, autoimmune issues, anything really; please don’t just go off the recommendations of one doctor because that’s just what you’ve been conditioned to do.
If a doctor’s medication choice makes you uncomfortable, say something. If their course of treatment makes you uneasy, there is never anything wrong with getting a second opinion.
Personally, I would rather a more natural course of treatment be tried before having to go on medication, at the very least I could say “I tried”.
My acupuncturist said something very powerful that resonated so deep in my core about my hormones; “Picture your hormones going to work every day, and suddenly when they get there, their job is already done. Why would they keep going to work if they have no reason to be there?” I felt myself sit up straighter, finally having a sense of understanding for my body instead of feeling like a failure, and felt a deep sigh of relief.
The medical system failed me by blinding putting me on hormonal birth control at 14
Which I originally started because I had ocular migraines (plus many other ailments) during my time of the month, and was missing so much school from them. With each new birth control packet came more and more side effects (not to mention more severe mood swings, which I never realized until I was off it.) You would think they’d at least run a hormone panel to see if I had any imbalances while developing, but, instead I was just put on what was hot on the market, switched around from prescription to prescription, and for the following 13 years was told my symptoms are my bodies fault (AKA there was nothing I could do) or I was trying to get medication from my doctor for pain. When in fact, I was sick from the synthetic hormones I was putting into my body without any real explanation why, except that it would make my skin clear, even out my PMS, and stop the ovarian cysts. When in fact, since coming off the pill and switching to a menstrual cup (I say this because conventional tampons still make me cramp like crazy), my endometriosis pain has deeply subsided, and symptoms are less than half of what they used to be.
Of course, fixing my thyroid will probably change my cycle, but I’m at a place in my life where I no longer what to control my body, but give it everything it needs to run at an optimum level.
I’ve been apologizing to my body this year for the years of disordered eating, years of drug and alcohol abuse, and coming to a much better place of understanding, and quite honestly, I feel like even if my body doesn’t back to homeostasis on its own, my mind is reaping more benefits than ever expected.
Even during this time of struggle, I’m treating myself with love and respect, and I advise that you do the same in general if you’re not already. Take a moment today and be grateful for small things, and even more grateful for the bigger picture of being here in the first place.