Houston, I have a problem

I went down to Houston two weeks ago or my annual visit with my endocrinologist down there who tests me every year for my hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, an autoimmune disease. Canada does not accept the T3 and T4 hormone levels for “normal” that are accepted in the US so millions of Canadians are walking around thinking their thyroid levels are normal when in fact they are either high or low. As a result, I have my dosages adjusted by Dr. Arem in Houston plus he prescribes bioidentical T3 supplementation that is unavailable in Canada. I recently applied to OHIP to cover the blood work and consultation in the US, which they denied.

If I had not gone to Houston, I would not have found out last week that I now have a new health problem – hypercalcemia and parathyroidism. Calcium is being leached from my bones and spilling into my blood stream due to non-cancerous tumours on my parathyroid glands which sit behind the thyroid, which is causing me no end of symptoms that I associated with my primary thyroid problem.

All this to say that if it were not for going to Houston and paying $3K out of my own pocket for my annual tests, my GP would have never found out I have this condition. The only cure is surgery to remove the tumors inside the parathyroid glands. Very interesting, isn’t it? And due to what I learned from writing the book and my first patient experience, I have found an endocrine surgeon in Montreal who can perform the surgery through minimally invasive means and he accepts OHIP. All I have to do is have my tests done here and get a referral to him in Montreal from GP. I found his e-mail last night off the McGill website, wrote to ask about his services and he wrote me back this morning encouraging me to contact his office. Et voila.

If the url ProactivePatient.com wasn’t already taken, I would consider grabbing it. Yet another reason to be proactive about our health, even if we have to head to the States. How many other health problems are there out there that are going undiagnosed or untreated?

As per this new diagnosis, this explains much of my overwhelm and fatigue over the past year or so, not to mention other side effects. Going undiagnosed, by the way, can lead to heart attack and a shortened lifespan of between five and six years. Worth a $3K trip to the States? Abso-frikkin-lutely.

End of rant!

About Holly Bridges

Holly Bridges is a former CBC Radio and TV journalist with 30 years’ experience in communications. She has lived and worked in every major city in Canada and has won five awards for her writing.  The UnHysterectomy: Solving Your Painful, Heavy Bleeding Without Major Surgery, is her first book.