Surfacing After Silence

Life. After.

Justifiable Illness



So every so often I get off my ranting high horse  and ignore the issues at hand and just give you a plain old update of how I’m doing in this thing called life.

This post may be a combination of all three, although the ranting will be considerably tamed down.

For the past few months, I’ve noticed a lot of changed with my body.  Not feeling well in general.  I’ve gotten sick more often than normal.  Some general symptoms I won’t go into here because of TMI.  And, of course, the unexplained weight gain, which I have talked about in other entries.

We chalked it up to stress.  We chalked it up to post-surgery healing.  We chalked it up to side effects of my medications.

But if I learned one thing during this heart journey over the past several months it’s that if you know something is wrong with your body, if you can feel in every cell, don’t settle for maybes or ifs or perhaps.  Settle for answers.

This previous week I saw my regular internist and was, as usual, frustrated that regardless of me doing everything right to get back to my goal weight, it has plateaued at this higher-than-normal-for-my-height spot.  Significantly so.

In March and August I had elevated TSH levels–just under the limit for hypothryoidism.  Then the next test would come back normal.  Well, my last TSH was above the limit.  Enough to make it clear that my “thyroid gland has been slowly petering out” (words of my doctor).

It was a relief.  On many levels.  I could finally say it wasn’t my fault.  I could say I was right, that all of these strange symptoms were related and not just stress or due to surgery.  I could take a pill and hopefully see and feel improvement.

What makes me angry is that the TSH level was ordered while I was in the hospital in October.  A month ago.  Meaning the doctors there ignored it.  Which falls into this pattern of “You’re just a head case so we aren’t going to listen to your symptoms” that I’ve gotten from almost all doctors.  Cardiologists (it’s just the eating disorder.  stay hydrated.).  Psychiatrists (“Well, you don’t have a UTI according to this lab result” — at the hospital in October after me complaining of a bunch of symptoms.  None of which got any further attention.)

How much of my own mental well being would have been buoyed by me knowing what was going on in my body, by me not thinking it’s all in my head?  Why do doctors think that just because we have a diagnosis of mental illness on our charts we don’t know when something is wrong with our physical bodies, that we aren’t histrionic or a hypochondriac?  A doctor’s job should be to make sure that his or her patient is in sound condition.  But if we aren’t even listened to, how will that happen?

My advice, if you don’t get an answer, go to another person.  You are the consumer.  You have the right to be heard, and when it comes to your health, you need to be heard.



November 21, 2009 - Posted by | Communication, Eating Disorders, health, heart | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. I relate to this so much. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad that you were finally heard.

    Comment by Jess K | November 21, 2009 | Reply

  2. Oh I relate too
    If you cannot see it – on an xray or there is no lab test for it that shows up positive- then man, it cannot POSSIBLY exsist – right?
    Blessedly you were finally heard Alexis

    Comment by lisa | November 21, 2009 | Reply

  3. I also can relate to what you said. Almost a year ago, I was having very bad lower abdominal pain. I went from doctor to doctor telling me I was fine and was actually told it was all in my head. After monthes of not being able to eat or drink one doctor took me seriously and sent me to a specialist. The first test the specialist ran came back with something wrong. That being my gallbladder working at 0%. After finally having surgery I am feeling better. So, all in all what I am trying to say is doctors need to see the whole person not just our mental illness! Thank you for sharing!

    Comment by Jennifer | November 21, 2009 | Reply

  4. This is very true, doctors just assume that since there’s a mental illness, the physical stuff must be mental as well. The doctors at SP are the opposite – I tried to convince them that my heart palpitations were just from the ED but they made me get EKGs multiple times (which I’m thankful for now). And the docs I saw said, “Haven’t you been here before for this? And nothing showed.” Yeah, so? Eh, I just like getting EKGs for fun! For as smart as doctors are, sometimes they have no idea how to treat people.

    Comment by Jen | November 21, 2009 | Reply

  5. Drs who cannot figure things out often times just lable it STRESS – or something a kin to that. You must be your own advocate and be armed with information. And then there are things that are very hurtful painful ouchy that never ever show up on lab tests……….EDs hurt- and are very real. Sadly there are no tests – and sadly there is not cure. No pills no medications. Drs tend to like black and white.
    jen Im glad for you that they pushed for those EKGs are you doing ok now?

    Comment by lisa | November 22, 2009 | Reply

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