Three years after my thyroid surgery, the struggle to find a good endocrinologist is real. If you are a fellow thyroid patient, perhaps you can relate. The first time I heard the word endocrinologist I had no idea what kind of doctor they were, or what they treated. No one in my family had ever had a thyroid problem, so there was never a need for one. I didn’t have any friends who went to one either, so I asked my primary care doctor for a recommendation. He referred me to someone local, and advised me to make an appointment as soon as possible, as they tend to book up fast.
I started seeing an endocrinologist shortly after a lump on my thyroid was discovered in 2013 — even before I knew it was cancer. He prescribed my first dose of Synthroid, and advised me about the next step — a fine needle aspiration biopsy. At first I was in awe of the time he took with me; answering my questions and listening as my voice shook while I fought back tears. He was compassionate and seemed to understand my reluctance to start on Synthroid before I had an official diagnosis.
After the biopsy, when it came time to deliver the news, he called me into his office rather than tell me over the phone. I knew then and there that it wasn’t good. He kept me in his office for over an hour, speaking slowly and methodically about the surgery, recovery, and what I should expect.
But after my surgery it all changed. My surgeon prescribed my new dose of Synthroid — a slight increase from the dosage I had been on before. And I went for post-surgical follow-ups in New York City, where I had my surgery performed. The need to see my endocrinologist at that time seemed like overkill. I was happily adjusting well to 100 mcg of Synthroid, and my scar was healing nicely.
I returned to my endocrinologist a month after my surgery, and to my surprise found that he wanted to increase my dose even further. Here’s where the confusion began. I had a surgeon who wanted to keep me on the lowest dose that would still treat my symptoms, and an endocrinologist who felt that it needed to be higher. What’s a patient to do? Which doctor do you listen to?
I’ve always believed that my body was the best doctor, and would tell me what it needed. Over the last three years, my dose has been increased and decreased by various people with MD’s, and I’ve never felt much of a difference — for better or worse. I tend to think that the lowest dose that still treats your symptoms is best…at least, for me.
Today I am on my way to see a new endocrinologist, one who came highly recommended, and who will with any luck listen to my concerns.
To be continued…