Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The T4 wars - Part 1 - Total Thyroidectomy

I'll confess at the beginning of this as to my biases. I have little respect for doctors. I think they are narrow minded and uncreative, always preferring to cling to the great truths they learned in medical school even in the presence of evidence to the contrary.

This is a story of evidence to the contrary: The long cruel treatment that robbed me for months of any quality of life, all at the hands of physicians.

It wasn't that long ago in medical history that physicians regarded leeches and bleeding as the standard treatment of disease of all kinds, though they knew from observation the treatment seemed to kill patients more often, if ever, than cure them.

Today doctors similarly distrust the evidence of their eyes and, like the fictional Dr House, assume all patients are at best lying or at worst neurotic.

Physicians are useful insofar as they can accurately report what they observe in similar patients, which rarely happens, and offer information on treatments, assuming they actually keep up with treatments.

Unlike most of the non-compliant patients I know, I respect Big Pharma. Whatever 'cures' are ours today, come from pharmaceutical companies. I would merely prefer not to have doctors between me and pharmaceuticals.

I have no use for 'natural' cures: herbs, vitamins and the like. I think they are stuff and nonsense. If herbs cured anything, Big Pharma would have long ago packaged them into a pill (or I guess they HAVE packaged effective herbs into pills).

Recently I was, after a span of nearly a decade, finally persuaded to have my thyroid removed. I knew at the beginning this was going to deliver me into the hands of the doctors I so little respect. The thyroid is the engine of the body. Without it, you MUST have replacement hormone or you will die. Simple as that. Doctors are the purveyors of thyroid hormone. One has little choice but to visit doctors after a thyroidectomy. They hold life in their hands.

I resolved early on to adopt a benign attitude toward doctors and give their treatment a chance. When I consented to this surgery, my GP, frustrated by years of dealing with me, the non-compliant patient, sent little love notes to my surgeon in the form of background informing the surgeon of my resistant ways. The surgeon apparently told the nurses (who so wonderfully cared for me in recovery) about my heresy and one said to me: If you will simply TRUST US...

Nurses are creatures of healing and if you have ever been in the hands of one you will agree to anything they say and I resolved to TRUST.

For a while.

Today, having been misused and aggressively abused by doctors, I apologize to the great nurses who healed me from surgery for no longer trusting, but, as you will see, this is the only lucid course for a patient who wishes to be well.

In the next few posts, I want to discuss how the Internet and the Doctor Culture have collided to create huge groups of noncompliant patients ( I am one) who know a lot about their illness, but also fall into unscientific traps that are harmful to themselves and others. The Doctor Culture has miserably failed to meet the information age and, in effect, has created and helped grow these 'noncompliant groups.'

If you are a woman (most often woman but sometimes man, too) who is facing a thyroidectomy, the total removal of the thyroid, this is the story you will live, although you soon won't think you will live through it.

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