It is a pleasure to include my friend and passionate thyroid advocate Sarah Downing. She volunteers as Blog Editor for the nonprofit organization ThyroidChange fighting for change for thyroid patients around the world.
With Sarah as one of our fighters, change is near. I can feel it.
Written by Sarah Downing, Butterflies & Phoenixes
I have a dream that patients who go to thyroid doctors are no longer told they are fat and lazy and it’s their own damn fault despite the fact that their butterfly glands have seriously let them down.
I have a dream that patients no longer have to “doctor hop” in a desperate attempt to finally find that elusive doctor who actually listens to what is going on rather than randomly doing their own irrelevant tests and recklessly milking the insurance (and sometimes their patients) for all they are worth.
I have a dream that more doctors will actually give a damn about their patients rather than treating them as cash cows.
I have a dream that I will never have to meet a doctor again who shouts at me, drives me to tears, interrupts me constantly or patronizingly treats me as if I’m stupid.
I have a dream that doctors will learn not to make stupid and insulting assumptions about diet, lifestyle or other factors before asking the patient what is actually going on in their life.
I have a dream that fewer patients will actually know more than their doctors. Surely it should be the other way round?!
I have a dream that thyroid patients such as myself no longer wake up in the morning and feel that they have aged 20 years.
I have a dream that unsympathetic friends and family of patients will go through exactly what we go through for a few months just to get a taster of how shitty it can be and what a fight it is sometimes. Perhaps then they would be cured of their lack of empathy after walking a mile in our shoes.
I have a dream that doctors no longer obsess over blood levels and obsess more over how the patient actually feels. If I hear one more doctor tell me my thyroid is fine even though I feel like shit on a stick, I will feel the serious urge to tell them to take a long walk off a short cliff.
I have a dream that no more doctors will insultingly accuse thyroid patients of wanting to “dope” their medication because they need to up their dose to feel well. We are not Olympic athletes. We have a chronic illness and need to balance our levels just to get through the day.
I have a dream that fewer doctors insist on prescribing antidepressants without first doing a complete examination of the patient to check for other causes. This is irresponsible and dangerous.
I have a dream that more doctors attempt to get to the root cause of symptoms rather than fobbing a patient off with medication, which sometimes makes the problem even worse and can cause horrific and potentially damaging side effects. Thanks to one such doctor, I suffered for six horrible months with awful bloating and digestive discomfort because the bastard refused to test for food intolerances, which I suspected all along. Instead, he gave me an anti-bloating medication which unsurprisingly didn’t do a thing. Later on, of course, I was proven right … to say this was negligent of him is an understatement.
I have a dream that we no longer have to count our pennies to be able to afford healthy food that is not genetically modified or supplemented with unhealthy additives such as high-fructose corn crap. I have a dream that doctors and governments come to realize what a huge role healthy food plays in our good health.
I have a dream that insurance companies no longer fight tooth and nail to rip off their patients in any way they can. We have enough to deal with thanks to certain nightmare doctors, but bullies like this just make us even sicker. I also have a dream that insurance companies start paying for more worthwhile (holistic) treatments rather than promoting doctors who blindly prescribe every drug on the planet to treat symptoms rather than causes.
I have a dream that one day soon I will be well enough to actually fulfill more of my dreams. My dream is that I no longer struggle to peel myself off the couch or out of bed and that I don’t have to force myself through the day. Chronic illness is a fight and I am tired of fighting. I don’t understand why governments, insurance companies and sometimes our friends and family insist on aggravating matters.
I have a dream that by writing this I will have made people think, including those who have a tough time putting themselves in our position. I have a dream that good doctors and patients will continue to band together to raise awareness of these issues and never give up hope that change may one day be achieved.
What is your dream?
Update: This was written back in 2012, but I believe it is as relevant then as it is now. I am happy to report that some of my dreams mentioned here have come true – my health has dramatically improved and I am now able to live a more normal life, but the lessons I have learned through chronic illness have taught me to become a more effective and more compassionate advocate and healer.
About Sarah Downing
In 2009, Sarah was diagnosed with hypothyroidism which changed her life for the better as it finally gave her answers for her bone-crushing fatigue and progressive weight gain, and taught her a lot along the way. A passionate writer, poet and translator, Sarah decided to use her gift to help others by blogging and researching to raise awareness, initially for Dear Thyroid and then for her own blog Butterflies & Phoenixes alongside acting as Blog Editor for ThyroidChange. Sarah believes in taking a proactive approach to illness and turning negatives into positives. Her journey has led her to study massage therapy in order to help others because she believes that “wounded healers” provide the empathy that many people need. Sarah’s experience living in England, Germany and the US also enables her to identify with the varying situations of international patients.