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Dear Doctors: A Letter From Your Former Patient

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Updated April 16, 2007

Dear Doctors: A Letter From Your Former Patient
I have Hashimoto's Disease, autoimmune thyroid disease.

It can cause symptoms of a low thyroid hormone condition (hypothyroidism) and as the disease damages the gland, it can progress to primary hypothyroidism. That's right, dear doctors, I only needed some thyroid hormone. I didn't need those pills you offered or the surgeries you recommended. Doctors, with all your medical knowledge and degrees, it was really was so simple. And can I say it? Yes, I feel entitled to say it: I TOLD YOU SO.

I told you what was wrong. Not once, not twice, but multiple times. I had the patient history and clinical presentation to support what I told you. Some of you even had evidence of a family history. Please know that every symptom I've told you here can be found in the medical literature as a hypothyroidism symptom. So why I must ask, did you rely on only one test? Wasn't I important enough to have been worth further investigation? Didn't my life matter? Didn't my daughter deserve a mother at her best? Didn't my husband deserve the same? And if any or all of you say you just didn't know about this, well that's just not good enough. I trusted you to know. I paid you to know. My life was in your hands as well as my future. And if you didn't know it all, you should have told me my trust in the medical profession was misplaced. Don't you need to repay me thousands for the services not rendered, dear doctors?

Ok, so I finally got properly diagnosed and treated. Twenty-five years worth of specific symptoms disappear in a matter of six months. Things aren't perfect, but much better. And I will not even how undertreatment of this condition is as big a problem as the lack of proper diagnosis.

Doctors, you must become aware of this disease and know its many manifestations. You must listen to your patient's history of symptoms and look for the physical evidence of the condition. You cannot rely on just the Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) test to detect thyroid dysfunction. There are too many reasons why it may be wrong. I've lived a life less fully than it could have been, had it not been affected by Hashimoto's Disease. And I am not alone. Truly, all of this would have been easier to bear had I been a unique case. I'm not. By now, I've heard hundreds of similar stories on Internet thyroid forums. Just variations of the same theme, symptoms screaming hypothyroidism and you all keep saying "normal."

I'm sure some of you are wondering why I'm writing. You would say, "You're treated! All is well!" And again, you would be incorrect. Long term, untreated hypothyroidism can cause permanent damage and it has me in a multitude of ways. I will never be who I could have been. I will never do all I would have liked to do. I cannot get back all the time I have lost. I wanted to walk on the beach with my husband and feel the sand beneath my toes. I wanted to take those trips to the Bahamas, Canada, California, Texas and other places we could have enjoyed together. I wanted to see my daughter's first apartment in another state and I was too tired to travel there and help her move. I wanted to have friends and family over for dinner. They were all simple desires. But you stole all of it from me when you didn't listen to me and correct a simple hormone deficiency in my body.

Dear doctors, do you see now that all the information you needed to have saved me was there? And after hearing my story, will you save the next person like me? Will you please not put all your trust in one lab test and consider patient history and clinical presentation? Could you, and I know this is asking a lot, even consider a therapeutic trial of thyroid hormone to see if the patient responds? I thank you all for listening. Or do you even hear me now?

Cindi S.

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