The Best Bad News I’ve Heard In A While

Yesterday my phone rang. It was my son’s doctor. Or rather an assistant from that office, calling to tell me that since my sons latest blood test shows an autoimmune thyroid disorder, the doctor was prescribing Levothyroxine for him.

My response was, “My son’s what shows what??” Because no one had thought to actually give me the bad news – she only said it as a “by the way” while she was telling me to go pick up a prescription.

At any rate I made an appointment to speak with the doctor about this on Tuesday, and while she may think it’s so I can get more information, it’s only partially that.

The rest of that conversation will be me asking her what in all her years of experience as a doctor made her think it was a good idea to have an assistant call me with that news. The poor girl wasn’t even sure what she was telling me. She was just reading off the test results. I had to take over and tell her where she would be calling in the prescription and reassuring her that since my mother takes the same medication, I am quite familiar with the way it needs to be dosed early in the morning on an empty stomach before any strenuous exercise.

Being the mother of a Type I diabetic, I am quite resigned to the fact that at times, one must explain to medical assistants and insurance company employees what their job entails and why they need to do it in a timely manner. I am not above turning on the tears and wailing about how my child can die if he doesn’t get his medication and that a clerical error is not “not a big deal” when it applies to medication that keeps someone alive.

So it was easy enough for me to help this young woman do her job today. But shame on the doctor for not calling me herself to deliver this news.

Because I am resigned to the fact that my son is insulin-dependent for the rest of his life. But finding out that he has a second condition that requires daily medication could have used a little more bed-side manner. Not to mention actual medical expertise.

Especially when you consider that since the young woman had no information to give me, I had to look up the condition online. I don’t recommend that. The first two sites I found were about Hashimoto and Graves’ disease. This is not something you want your patient’s mother discovering at 4pm on the Friday of a long weekend.

So we will have words. I’ll be flexing every last relational muscle I’ve started to develop. I will be polite but firm. I will use the English language to the best of my ability. Polysyllabic words will probably make an appearance. My accent, which slid into American when I was around 10, might even become British again, if I get perturbed enough.

And I am well aware that I am focusing on THIS fight because I know I can’t even begin to fight the auto immune disease for my son. It’s giving me a sense of control where I really have none.

Because one lifelong, incurable disease wasn’t enough. Of all my kids, the one to have the thyroid disease had to be the diabetic.

And yet….

As I was driving across town to pick up a copy of these test results from the doctors office, with my mother and daughter along for the ride and moral support, my mother started singing that campy old song from the 70s,

“This is the day, this is the day that the Lord hath made, that the Lord hath made, we will rejoice, we will rejoice and be glad in it, and be glad in it…”

I’ve been thinking about that song a lot lately. I’ve needed that perspective a lot lately. The transition of moving Mum in has not been without pitfalls, and I have more to say about that later.

And so I’ve taken to singing that song, as much as the melody grates on my nerves, a lot lately. Because I believe that thought whole heartedly. Every day is a gift from God. No matter what this life in a corrupted, degenerating world throws at us, He still grants us every day and His grace is still sufficient for it.

So I reframed the day in my mind. This phone call did not take the Lord by surprise. He knew about the thyroid problems way before the doctor did. And His grace will be sufficient to get us through this. It’s not what we want – neither is the diabetes. But He can turn this all around to His glory and His purpose. In fact, He can, and will, do that whether or not I have a stinky attitude about it. So I might as well choose joy and trust Him.

And besides, having a stinky attitude about it gives the devil two things, and one is already more than he should get. I don’t need to grant him my attitude along with my sons disease.

So I dropped my indignation at the disease, as well as at the doctor’s manner of handling it (okay I may have reserved a teeny bit of that for the appointment on Tuesday), and started looking at the positives.

First of all, my doctor is a genius for ordering the test that found this, because it doesn’t show up on a normal thyroid test, and this particular test is not a normal part of a metabolic panel.

Second, my son has struggled with anxiety and depression for years. Those are both symptoms of the disease. So are fatigue and hair loss. He’s only 17 and he’s already losing his hair, to the point where his primary physician prescribed medication to help hair growth.

So now it turns out all of that might be his thyroid. And treatable with medication.

And so, for that matter, might his older brother’s similar struggles. I texted the news to my other son and he said he would make a doctor appointment right away.

So rather than seeing this as another life sentence, another way that my youngest son’s life sucks, another way that life is just not fair, I’ve begun to look at this as a long-awaited answer.

Life might actually get a lot better now, for both of my sons. Maybe this isn’t the end. Maybe this is the beginning.

So despite my frustration with the communication I received today, I’m pretty grateful to the medical community right now. Not too many years ago, these tests didn’t even exist. People were just written off as emotionally weak for being depressed.

This bad news is rapidly appearing to be some of the best news I’ve heard in a long time.

I’ll try to keep that in mind come Tuesday.

3 thoughts on “The Best Bad News I’ve Heard In A While

Add yours

  1. This is a great post. I love your attitude.

    I’ve been on levothyroxine for about 8 years, for low thyroid. But it wasn’t until a couple of years ago that a new doctor decided to do a blood test for thyroid disease antibodies. Surprisingly, my blood carries the antibodies for two different thyroid diseases — Hashimoto’s, which causes too little thyroid, and Grave’s Disease, which causes too much thyroid! According to what I have read online, having the antibodies for both of these autoimmune disorders is very rare. Lucky me!

    So, I’m thinking this could explain why, many years ago, I was too hyper, but sometimes I was too lethargic, and a psychiatrist diagnosed me with bipolar disorder. For about 10 years, I was treated for bipolar disorder with every psychotropic medication they had at the time. None of the meds helped me at all. I got the negative side effects, but no benefits. But — if my “mood swings” were due to my body going from too much thyroid to not enough thyroid, that would explain everything.

    Today, the only prescription medicine that I take is levothyroxine. I also take some health supplements and i eat a gluten free diet, heavy on the vegetables, nuts, and salmon, and light on red meats and other animal products. I eat gluten free bread, which is very yummy when lightly toasted. I went gluten free after reading that it can help with Hashimoto’s. It really does! I can’t believe how much better I feel. Today, at the age of 66, I am the healthiest and happiest that I have ever been in my entire life.

    I don’t have diabetes to contend with, although it runs on both sides of my family. However, I do have hereditary Hemochromatosis, which means I have to also monitor my iron, so that my body doesn’t build up toxic levels, which can damage every organ, shorten life, and also affect one’s mind and moods and energy levels. But, despite all of this, like I said, I am very healthy. Recently, I out ran my very energetic six year old great grandson!

    I hope things are going well with you and your family. This is, indeed, the day that the Lord has made. I was joyfully singing that song just this morning. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Linda Lee, WordPress is failing to notify me of comments and likes, so I completely missed this comment. Thanks so much for commenting – so many similarities… we’re all gluten free too. Each one of us gets different symptoms, and while my son doesn’t feel symptoms when he eats gluten, it helps with both his Type 1 Diabetes and the Hashimoto’s.

      How frustrating for you, though, being treated for something you didn’t have. Reminds me of when I had Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in my early 20s and all the doctors condescendingly asked me if I might be pregnant. I told one doctor, with a straight face, that that kind of pregnancy had only happened once in recorded history and that was 2000 years before. He stammered his way out of the room.


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