Oh my, that headline could apply to so many situations! In this case, I’m talking about test results.
It happens a lot when you have fractured healthcare. Instead of one central system, each doctor’s office/hospital network uses their own database. That means that I’m often the one responsible for sharing information. Sure, every specialist sends test results to my primary care physicial (PCP). But they don’t send results to each other, and my PCP doesn’t send results to them.
Which is why I now find myself in a sticky situation. I try to be honest with my doctors. I try not to exaggerate too much about my exercise habits (or lack thereof.) I do it because I know it’s super important for them to have all relevant information. But right now I really don’t want to.
A couple months ago my PCP adjusted my thyroid medication. I wanted to try a higher dose to see if it helped my symptoms. He ran a blood test and it was borderline – the numbers were ok and didn’t suggest that I needed a change in dose, but they also didn’t show that a change in dose would be problematic. My naturopath wasn’t convinced. She thought that my results showed I shouldn’t increase the dose. Lucky for me, she wasn’t the one writing the prescription. My PCP wrote the new script and I started it immediately.
6 weeks later it was time to repeat the bloodwork. And damn, the numbers weren’t great. They were out of the lab’s “normal” range. Based on the research I’d done, I knew I might need to lower my dose, but I also knew that a lot of patients feel their best despite having numbers like these, so a change might not be completely necessary.
My PCP, who I love for this very reason, asked about my symptoms. I wasn’t showing any symptoms of being hyperthyroid. I know to watch for them, because that would be bad. On the low end, I’d feel anxious and jittery. On the high end, I’d be at risk for a heart attack. So yeah, you want to catch it at the low end. And I haven’t had any of those symptoms, despite test results that show I could be borderline hyperthyroid. Since he mostly doses based on symptoms, he said to keep it as is, for now. But we’ll change it if I show any symptoms at all.
So what’s the issue, you might ask. Well, the issue is that the practitioner I see the most frequently, and who I work with most closely, is my naturopath. Given her reaction to previous test results, I know she’ll want me to change my medication dose when (if?) she sees these. And she won’t be entirely wrong.
I worry about all of the things she’d worry about. Being hyperthyroid is bad. It will raise my risk for all sorts of problems. And on top of that, I need all of my systems to work together. I need to make sure I don’t strain my adrenal glands or cause other problems. But at the same time, I want -no, I need – to feel as good as possible on a daily basis. I can’t feel crappy now just because it might prevent some hypothetical problem down the road.
Or can I?
And this is where I’m stuck. I know that I should share these test results with my naturopath. She can’t force me to do anything. She can’t change my prescription. But she can reasonably point out all of the reasons that I already know a change might make sense, reasons I don’t want to be reminded of. So maybe that’s the real problem. I don’t want the reminder. Because I feel that I’m taking a risk, but one that’s worth taking.
If only I felt more confident in that decision.