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Learn from my mistakes, please

Friday, December 02, 2016

Please learn from my mistakes: Everything looks like it will be fine...but it might not have been.

To set the stage...A new Dr is always a bit of an experience, often like a first date that gets very personal, fast. I get a new Dr regularly because I go to a group that consists of brand new residents, who leave after a maximum of three years, and I usually get one in their last year, so I get a new Dr. at least every year. So this one was one of the seniors, overseeing the program. He was shocked when I said that I thought that I was cold all the time because I lost 70 pounds, and that was a lot of insulation to lose, but what really was bothering me was being achy all the time, plus tired, but everyone is tired, so achy was why I was here.

After a few minutes of disbelief (including a quick look at my chart to verify that indeed, I'd lost MORE than 70 lbs) and 'how did you do it?' (answer: Spark people) He-comfortable wearing a short sleeved shirt and light slacks-looked at me, shivering in my jacket, sweatshirt, full clothes, full set of long underwear, and double socks; "Well that's not normal, and we need to test your thyroid, which would explain ALL of this." I then got a bit of a lecture that dismissing fatigue was not helpful, and that dismissing achy joints and muscles for 4 months as 'getting used to exercise' was also not helpful. Grilled on how much I exercised then (at least 700 minutes a week) and how much now (same). Head shaking ensues.

Turns out, fatigue can be all kinds of things, and some are very serious--like heart problems. It's not whining to say that you are tired if it's more than usual, it's informative. Ditto with being achy or cold all the time. Or pretty much anything else I was noticing but not reporting. And pushing yourself to exercise when you don't feel well-instead of going to the Dr-is deeply frowned upon, especially when it is potentially heart related. Cue the guilt.

So sure, he was delighted when my blood sugar came back (new test method--it takes just 6 minutes!) absolutely normal ("better than mine, and mine is good!") He also made it clear that he didn't think it was anything serious, that the thyroid test would undoubtedly show up an issue, but if it didn't, it was also clear that I was in for a lot of tests and trials.

Since I once had a thyroid problem that went away, I'm quite confident that we'll have the proper treatment quickly. What I really want to get across is that I've been told before that I need to report things sooner and take them more seriously, and I thought I was being proactive now. I'm not, but here's the deal-are YOU? Are you waiting until, say, after the holidays to report something? Do YOU say "whenever it will be convenient" instead of "this might be serious, I'll take your next available appointment"? Do YOU say "Well, I have to get my exercise minutes in to meet my goals-even though it's really hard to make myself get out of bed when I feel this bad"?

I realize that I might be guilt-ing you into a Dr visit that will take time out of a busy season. I can live with that, if you live through the busy season. If you recognized yourself AT ALL in putting off your health, give your family and friends the best present ever--your continued presence instead of presents.

Happy and healthy holidays to all!




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