Years ago when my youngest daughter was just a baby, I was experiencing extreme fatigue. I felt badly all the time. I talked to our family doctor about it thinking I might be anemic. He quickly responded that I had four children six years old and younger and I had good reason to be tired. I then went on to explain to him that this tiredness was more extreme and was nothing that I’d ever experienced before. I asked for a blood test. He said I didn’t need one.

Fast forward about three months, I was working out on an elliptical at the gym. I was pushing myself really hard and when I went to check my pulse it was about 48. I thought it was an error so I checked again and again. My heart rate was not in the normal range at all. I ignored it and just went on with my day. I was a little worried, but not scared YET.

The next day I woke up with chest pain. It was a weird kind of pain and it, along with the low pulse, freaked me out! I went to the doctor right away. I saw a nurse practitioner and at first she was hesitant to believe it was serious.  She thought I was just having blood pressure drops as some people do when they get up too quickly and the pain didn’t seem to worry her at all. But this time I pushed. I had four little ones at home and I was scared of what was happening to me. She reluctantly hooked me up to the EKG and very soon after she left the room and I had doctors coming  in telling me that something indeed was going on with my heart and that I needed to see the cardiologist very soon. Before I left, I insisted on a blood test. I told her to test my thyroid levels.

The very next day I got a call that I needed to go to the pharmacy and pick up my thyroid medication. A few days later, I had an appointment with the cardiologist. He said all my heart problems were due to hypothyroidism. When I finally found out what my numbers were I was shocked. The normal range for a person my age is 1-3. My TSH was 28.6. No wonder I felt terrible. It tooks months to get my level to where they needed to be. Today and everyday to come I will take a pill to keep my levels in check.

I tell this very long story just to let people out there know that sometimes you have to be your own advocate. You sometimes have to insist on the healthcare you believe you need. Trust your instincts and listen to your body. You know it better than anyone!

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