I got the blood tests done and they showed high serum ferritin, slightly raised cholesterol, and a TSH level of 1.46. The only thing the doctor suggested was a liver scan so an appointment was requested and again I left the doctor’s office feeling like they weren’t really helping. Luckily, whilst this was going on, I had also been to see Billy (https://www.facebook.com/billycraig.co.uk/?ref=ts&fref=ts) and I had started to implement the small meals throughout the day scenario, adding in a small amount of carbs with each meal (potatoes!) and was starting to feel a little better. The anxiety was starting to calm down a bit, but could still be bad at times.
I returned to the doctor’s surgery to ask them to test my thyroid hormones as I was still hellishly tired. I struggled to walk down the road. It was awful! Again, I felt like she wasn’t really listening as she asked had I been tested for coeliac disease. No, I replied, but I tried to explain about my low carb diet and how I felt like it was more likely to be related to thyroid. She looked at me and ‘hmmm’ed but agreed to request the tests I asked for (T3 and T4, not just TSH), although she was only a locum doctor and they would have to go through the main doctor. I dropped the request off at the desk. It was approved and I had more blood tests done. When the results came back though, they hadn’t tested the T3 and T4, they had only tested TSH again, which they again claimed was normal. It’s a huge range though, from 0.4 to 4.5, and if you are not converting T4 to T3 or if your cells are not taking up T3 normally, your results can still show within this ‘normal’ range. I was still no further forward, although she did let me know that I wasn’t coeliac!
As the doctors were obviously not going to test my T3 and T4 I decided to go and get them done privately. I booked and paid for T3 and T4 tests and off I went again! Finally the results came back with low thyroid hormones and suggested hypothyroidism. Back to the doctor’s I went, with my private test results. When I handed them over to the doctor, he looked at me and said ‘why didn’t we test them?’ Are you kidding me? That’s a very good question… why didn’t you test them? ‘I don’t know’ I replied. In order for them to do anything about it, they would have to test them. I was pretty cross at this point. Private tests aren’t cheap and now, after I’d paid out for them, the local doctors were going to test them? Off I went again for more blood tests. Both T3 and T4 came back low (T4 was 10.6 pmol/L and T3 was 4.6 pmol/L) so what did the doctor suggest? To get them retested of course!! Oh. My. God. So back I went for more tests!
The whole experience was farcical! I can tell you that I went home and carried on eating tons of potatoes! By this time I was starting to feel much better, I was falling asleep within 5 minutes of going to bed (something which I’ve never done before in my life!!), I was sleeping for up to 5 hours before waking up to pee and then going straight back to sleep, I was feeling less tired (less like walking through custard), my anxiety was getting a lot less (just tiny niggly bits), and for the first time I got my period after 28 days (previously it was every 9-10 weeks). If these weren't signs that things were improving then I don’t know what would be! Why would I set myself back with less carbs following the doctor’s advice, when they can’t even get simple tests sorted out? For anybody now panicking about me ignoring the doctor’s advice, these are some thoughts from Billy…
“Insulin is responsible for blood sugar going down and cortisol (yes the very same cortisol I'm always banging on about folks) does the opposite and sends blood sugar up. So the two work as opposites to function exactly as we need them to. Carbohydrates (Glucose in particular), raises insulin and lowers cortisol. Yep that’s it folk nasty old sugar has some gooooood effects. Let’s clarify that, insulin takes blood sugar down and glucose causes insulin to work. Cortisol raises blood sugar and is lowered by glucose. So how can sugar be the cause of diabetes? And how can low carb, low GI etc. be the answer that we need? Clearly diabetes is a bigger story than some would have us believe.”
If you’re wondering what happened to the liver scan, well that wasn’t straightforward either. I didn’t hear anything for ages. Every time I returned to the doctor’s office I asked if I would get an appointment through the post. Yes, I was told. On one visit they said they would chase it up for me. Eventually I rang the surgery to ask what was going on. They gave me the relevant department’s telephone number and told me to phone up and ask!! Erm, do I work there now? I phoned, as I felt it might never happen if I didn’t, and they had no record of the request!! Haha! Well couldn’t see that coming! They told me to phone the doctor’s office back and tell them to phone the hospital in the next couple of hours. I am a secretary now!! Eventually they sort it out and ring me (a few days later) to say they can fit me in that day. Great but I’m not supposed to eat before the test and I’ve had breakfast!! I was fitted in a few days later. When the results finally came back they said I had fatty liver disease. To be honest now I can’t actually remember what they said to me about it! I had given up with the doctors advice and lost all faith in them anyway.
I haven’t been back to the doctors since! I keep meaning to, just to get a retest to prove I’m not diabetic, but I can’t summon up the will to be bothered!! I feel so much better now, better than I’ve felt in years, not just since the low carb debacle! I will go back and get the test done though as I’d like the evidence to show people that you can fix problems with the right foods and the right approach – which evidently is not the same as the doctors approach!