Cindy McCallister's Patient Story
A Woman Who Believes in Research and Asking Questions
About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. She had checked my TSH level during my yearly well check. She said that she could treat me, that I did not necessarily need to go to an endocrinologist.
For about a year or so she monitored my levels and prescribed synthroid. My numbers kept fluctuating, so she ordered a thyroid ultrasound. I had 3 small thyroid nodules. She decided I needed to be seen by an endocrinologist, so she referred me to a local one. He ran more blood tests and diagnosed me with Hashimoto's. It is an autoimmune disease. I have since been going to the endocrinologist every 6 to 8 weeks, along with a yearly thyroid ultrasound. My numbers kept fluctuating, RX's have kept changing, I have gained weight, lost weight, and my hair thinned out. I have most of the symptoms that are associated with hypothyroidism. I have been on synthroid, levothyroxine, nature thyroid, cytomel, armour, and now on tirosint.
In 2009 I had a bone density scan that was normal, however with each thyroid ultrasound it was revealed I had more nodules. I now have masses of many nodules. I have been told they are very small- just a lot of them. I actually went from hypo to hyper during this time while I was in a hashi storm. I should of requested a second opinion, but I did not. I trusted the endocrinologist I was seeing. A couple years ago I started having bone pain, and fatigue. My left hip and lower back hurts the worst. I told the doctors at my appointments, but I guess they really did not think anything about it. I went from 5ft 8 inches to 5 ft 5 inches. I would mention it to both my MD and endocrinologist, but no one suggested further testing. Then I discovered for at least the past couple of years I have had elevated calcium, but again no one questioned it. I assumed it was okay. I started researching and found that elevated calcium is not normal, and can cause damage to your kidneys and bones.
A month ago I went to my MD armed with what I found, and I requested a bone density test. She referred me to a new endocrinologist who specializes in complex cases. I am in the latter stages of osteopenia, with my left hip and femur bone the worst. My blood calcium is 10.4, very high for a woman my age. More than likely I have hyperparathyroidism- which is caused by a tumor or tumors on the parathyroids. If so, it will require surgery. Although you can have a cancerous tumor on your parathyroid, it is very rare. 97% of hypothyroidism cases are Hashimoto's thyroiditis.
One in five Americans have hypothyroidism. Only half of those know it. The TSH test the MD runs in the blood is not good enough. You can easily look up the other blood tests needed for a proper diagnosis along with the symptoms. Know your calcium levels. An adult should not have a blood calcium in the high 9s or higher. If your doctor does not listen, find another one who will. If you have this, and catch it early there are so many things you can do to prevent damage to your body. The important thing for us to remember is do our research and ask questions!