A little background on me. I am 30 years old, single, drive a school bus for a living, and am super morbidly obese. Now that we have that out of the way, I wanted to provide my story in the hopes that it may encourage others to not give up and push their doctors.
Ever since hitting adolescence, I have put on weight steadily. It got to the point that my weight gain actually concerned my mother who had brought me to the family doctor. The family doctor basically told her that I was going through regular puberty and things would even out eventually. The weight continued to creep on, sometimes fast, sometimes slow, but the thing that never really changed was my diet. All through my childhood, I ate a sensible diet. My mother loved to cook (still does) and always prepared healthy low fat meals. When I hit middle school, and my body started changing at the young age of 11, I started to put on weight even though all that I was eating was at home. My mother rarely kept junk food in the house – no sugar cereals, limits on cookies and other sweets – and I was no different from any other kid.
When I went to high school, my diet did change a bit. I indulged as any normal teenager would and ate the school lunch a-la-carte. My friends ate french fries and a burger for lunch, so did I. My diet was still fairly regulated for breakfast and supper, and we rarely ate out as a family. I still gained weight. I went from a size 12/14 to a size 20/22 by the time I graduated and went to college. I suffered through all the normal testing procedures, Thyroid, Adrenals, even an ultrasound to check for Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), in hopes that we could find some reason for my weight gain. Everything came back normal. So, off to college I went.
Surprisingly, I did lose a bit of weight in college and went down to a size 16/18 by the time the summer rolled around, but even being active all summer at an internship I ballooned back to a 22/24 in the span of 10 weeks. The weight just kept creeping. Every now and again I’d stabilize and remain the same size for a while, then it would continue to increase. Again my diet was regularly decent food and I hardly ate at all on some days. By the time I exited college, my weight had steadily increased and I am now sitting at a 32/34 pant size.
I finally got insurance on my own and went to the doctor myself. I started to go see specialists, starting with an OBGYN who confirmed that I had all the symptoms of PCOS, yet the ultrasound STILL showed NOTHING, and I was growing hair in weird places and had excessive acne. My period had also dissapeared and would rarely make an appearance. My OBGYN put me on Metformin to help my PCOS. Yet still, my Thyroid and other tests run would all come back normal, normal, NORMAL. ARGH!
I went to an endocrinologist in the hopes of finding something wrong with my Thyroid, he brushed me off. I never returned. I went to a second endocrinologist and THIS one treated me like I had diabetes and was in denial, when I clearly had the medical tests to PROVE I was not diabetic, but taking the meds for PCOS. I didn’t stay long with him, he also refused to run anymore tests saying that Thyroid problems were “overrated” and that it wasn’t a “cure” for obesity. Noone wanted to listen to me that I felt something else was wrong. I KNEW my thyroid probably had issues, but because the numbers came back fine, I was told repeatedly, Eat Less, Move More and have Surgery to help your weight.
I’ve tried the “eat less move more” philosophy. I worked out with a personal trainer for 9 months, and lost 3 pounds in that time frame. I ate healthy, and STILL did not lose weight. What is wrong with me? Again the typical answers – “Stop eating junk food.” Apparently according to them I just eat nothing but icecream and cookies right?
I went to a third endocrinologist. This one actually listened to me and started me on a medicine to help the abnormal hair growth (Aldactone). He also made sure to run his own tests and found my vitamin D level to be low. My thyroid was still within the “normal” range, so he did not want to try thyroid medication at the time. However, that all has changed in the last few days.
I went back to him for a follow up, and again begged him to PLEASE let me try a low dose thyroid medication just to SEE if it will help. He then did something that actually shocked me. He consulted my chart and remarked, “Your last Thyroid test was borderline.” Wait…. So, That means…. I am NOT crazy? Hardly daring to believe that they may have finally found SOMETHING conclusive, he went and examined my neck. After having me take several sips of water, he determined that he DID feel something wrong with my thyroid!!!!!!!!! He said it felt SWOLLEN! I could have jumped for joy except the exam table was too high! I am starting on a low dose of Synthroid to see if it will help my numbers. I know it is not a weight loss CURE, but HE LISTENED TO ME!!!!!!
I’ll keep you posted as to how the medication works out. This has come after YEARS of repeatedly telling doctors something is wrong, and someone finally listened!