Imagine if managing your health were as easy as popping a cute little pill?!

If you follow me on Instagram you might have seen that I posted a photo recently of me finally being able to donate blood again. It's kind of a weird thing to share on social media but for me it marked a turning point in my physical health.

It's been years since my iron level was high enough to donate. I used to regularly donate a few times a year until I developed symptoms that were eventually diagnosed as hypothyroidism, or an under active thyroid. I was pretty bummed out and confused after being turned away from the blood donation center a few times in a row due to my low iron. I didn't know why my levels were dropping so I kept trying to donate. I was also dealing with some other symptoms such as lethargy, weight gain, depression, and more but I suppose I found all those things easy to ignore. Coincidentally around the same time, my mom was diagnosed with hypothyroidism and an autoimmune disease. Her doctor suggested that I too get tested since both of her conditions were somewhat genetic. In a way I'm lucky to have been diagnosed and treated at such a young age. My mom had been suffering with a plethora of symptoms for years and her doctors couldn't piece them together until her early 40's. If she had never been diagnosed, I probably wouldn't have been either. Thankfully I only had hypothyroidism and not her other condition.

After being diagnosed I had a lot of questions about this chronic illness I'd be dealing with for the rest of my life, so I sought out a "specialist." I found a local endocrinologist who also acted as my primary care physician for a short period of time. She was young and seemed to know what she was doing. I was v wrong people, v wrong. Not only did she put me on a potentially harmful dose of prescription iron, but she also managed to shame me about my weight and eating habits every time I saw her. I get that maintaining a healthy weight can improve overall health, but I had never been berated about it before, especially to the extent that she did. She seemed to imply that I had caused my own chronic health issues by putting on weight and if I lost a lot of it I'd be magically cured. Needless to say, I didn't stick around for very long.

I was informed shortly after leaving this doctor's office that she was no longer practicing in this area due to an "extended leave of absence." Weird, right? Anyway, I'll never know for sure what that doctor's motives were. She put me on a high dose of prescription iron that ended up damaging my liver. Not only did she hurt my body, but she affected my self esteem and caused me and my family a great deal of stress. I was also honored in receiving an inconclusive (and very expensive) ultrasound of my liver. I'd like to think that this doctor simply didn't know about the problems she caused me (still scary tho, right?!), but there's always a small part of me that suspects the worst... That perhaps she created new health problems so she could continue to "treat" them a.k.a. drain my bank account. I'll never know and I try not to think about it too often because it makes me extremely angry. I'm technically okay now and never have to deal with her ever again.

It was a scary realization that forever changed my perspective on health care and my interactions with doctors. I now question a lot of what they tell me and I always do my own research before a change in treatment. Thankfully the new doctors I have been seeing listen to my concerns and explain everything that's going on. I finally got my depression diagnosed and treated and was told that sometimes my mental health will need to come before the number on the scale. I'm in a healthier and happier place thanks to the help of these doctors and my new lifestyle.


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