Thanks for coming for part two of my diagnosis journey. Read part one in the post entitled “Early Symptoms.” Though writing my story has been difficult, it has been enlightening to reflect on the events leading up to my diagnosis. As I share, I hope to inspire others to tell their thyroid story as well. This helps to create community and awareness about our disease. Thank-you to those who have already shared on our Facebook group.
A Dream and a Nightmare
After breaking up with my boyfriend, (see previous post) my ambition of doing humanitarian aid was coming true. Arriving in Mexico City, I took a taxi, a four-hour bus ride, and then another taxi to Morelia; a picturesque city in central Mexico. Immediately greeted by the hospitality of the Mexican people, I felt this my destiny. Warm days turned into the rainy season, and my symptoms attacked again. At about one hundred pounds, my almost six-foot frame was skeletal. Exhaustion degraded me from barely walking, to bed bound, so I was taken to hospital. There I got no real answers. Dejected, I return to my bed, hoping my illness would pass. It was a humbling process to have the people I came to serve, help me.
Red Walls and Medication
There was an English speaking caregiver who often visited the orphanage. On one such visit, she suggested I see her doctor. Driving through a residential area, we arrived at an apartment building. Greeted at the door, we were taken to a small home office. Red walls were covered in a near comical amount of Catholic shrines. A dark wood desk took up most of the room with an exam table pushed into the corner. After a short exchange, the doctor asked me to lie on the table; I didn’t realize what was coming. A sharp needle in my bottom delivered an anonymous medication. I was sent back to the orphanage with half a dozen prescriptions and the little round doctors’ best intentions. After a week I could walk and eat, so I decided to go back to Canada.
Making it Home
I have no memories of the taxi rides, bus trip or flight home. Except for a brigade of soldiers coming to inspect the bus. They forced me out and I remember thinking I should be scared, but was unable to feel any emotion. Men in uniform asked to open my luggage. Finding the medication, they hotly debated what to do with me. I did somehow end up back on the bus, but how that situation was resolved, I still don’t know. I took great comfort arriving back in Canada. My family doctor ended up diagnosing me with an infection in my stomach lining, Mono and a few other infections. Relieved to have a diagnosis, I assumed all would get better.
It’s Not Your Thyroid
In time, I was well enough to work. Even so, I had memory loss and muscle weakness, so I returned to the doctor. She sent me to an endocrinologist, suspecting a thyroid problem. After blood work, the endocrinologist said my thyroid antibodies were in the two thousands. But continued to say that this in no way indicated a thyroid problem. As I left her office, something felt wrong, but I pushed it aside. Years later, a new family doctor would tell me that the endocrinologist in question was “a quack.” At the time though, I trusted her completely. Months later, I noticed a man at church. He had a loud laugh and a passion for God. My future husband and I started dating and, like happy fools, we rushed in. Our joy was soon halted however, when I had to sit him down and tell him, my dad had terminal cancer.
Traveling to Mexico, I had chased a dream. Even though it didn’t work out as planned, the people will always have a place in my heart. Through the fog of my medicated mind, I made it back to Canada and even to an endocrinologist. The sadness of my missed diagnosis was butted up against meeting one of the most important people in my life, my husband. By the next flare up, my body had a recognizable pattern of symptoms, but one thing had changed. I had grown to become fiercely determined to find out, for myself, what was going on. (To be told in part three) So, how did you get your diagnosis? Did you fall through the cracks of the medical system? Tell me your story on our social media or comment below. Thank-you for taking the time to join me at the Thyroidcafe.