Long time no see! It's been a crazy few months and I want to begin my semi-return to blogging with an honest explanation of what's been going on. I am really not the type of person to put my medical information out there, but I feel like I absolutely have to share this. I have to share this because I don't want one single person to have to go through what I have been through during the past year. It's been a long, frustrating journey to get here and I thankfully now know that I have another long journey ahead of me. So I'm going to share this in two parts because I don't want you to get lost in what would be a really long blog post if I shared everything that has happened all at one time. So here's Part I and Part II will go up later this week...

In January of last year, I started to feel the first of many symptoms that ultimately led to my diagnosis. It was so strange... I had just started a new job that I was (and still am) so excited about and I had all this free time that I had never had before. I planned to blog more, travel more, read more, and just be happy--- more. And some of that happened, but definitely not as much as I anticipated. I was always so exhausted. I started experiencing fatigue and constipation (sorry if that's TMI, but it's part of the story!). I would get a great night of sleep and be crazy tired by noon the next day. The fatigue and constipation were sporadic, but happened enough to be noted. But I wrote it off to my body getting adjusted to a new routine. I brought both symptoms up to my family doctor during my routine physical in February. She agreed that the fatigue was probably my body adjusting to my new routine, but she referred me to a gastroenterologist to check out the constipation... Scary, but fair enough, I thought.

I feel like I should pause here to say that outside of my migraines, which I have mentioned several times here before, I've never had any major medical issues. Never. I eat really well except for maybe one day a week, I exercise, don't smoke, enjoy sporadic glasses of wine, try to manage stress well (emphasis on "try"), and you KNOW I love my sleep. So all of these symptoms and working with different doctors was a completely new experience for me...

So I see the gastro and she recommends that I start taking a probiotic. She also recommended a colonoscopy just to rule out anything serious. "We really have to go there??? But I'm not even 50 years old yet!" Those were my first thoughts. But I agreed - hastily. But thankfully nothing was found. The doctor just told me to continue to take the probiotic- oh and to call her if I had questions...

Fast forward to October. I started to get SUPER anxious about the silliest things. I've always been a bit of a worrier, but this was on a whole other level. I also started experiencing heart palpitations, panic attacks, brain fog, weight loss, and insomnia. Oh - and I discovered a bald spot in the back of my head at the base of my neck that was about the size of a quarter. Hmmm... Back to my family doctor I go.

Before my appointment, of course I turn to trusty Google to see if I could get an idea of what might be going on. I typed in my symptoms and thyroid issues kept coming up. I noted that for my appt. So I explain my symptoms to my doctor and she ran an EKG to determine any abnormal heartbeats. Nothing was found there. She then wanted to run a blood test to check my thyroid and my Vitamin D levels. I specifically asked her if she was going to run a FULL thyroid panel (i.e. the T4, Free T4, TSH, Free T3, reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies of the thyroid) - and she said yes.

The test showed that my Vitamin D levels were really low, so she recommended a supplement. But my thyroid tests came back normal - sort of. She only tested my TSH and T4 levels. I reached out to her for an explanation and she said that testing just those levels were the main indicators of any issues and she said my thyroid was fine. Hmm. Noted. In the meantime, my doctor recommended I see a cardiologist to get a further explanation of my heart palpitations and a dermatologist for my bald spot... Ugh. More doctors, more appointments, more frustration.

I followed her orders and saw a cardiologist. I brought up potential thyroid issues to the doctor and she said there was no indication of any issues since my TSH and T4 were fine. She proceeded to give me an echocardiogram. Even with the heart palpitations, which to her were not enough for concern, my heart was in perfect shape. So she recommended I go back to my regular doctor for further testing.

My appointment with my dermatologist to discuss my bald spot was very quick and to the point. I was in and out. She quickly stated I had alopecia areata and recommended cortisone shots to restart the hair growth. She never even defined alopecia areata, but I knew what it was thanks to the Google research I did the minute I saw the bald spot. I asked her if she thought this could be a thyroid issue and she said no because my TSH and T4 levels were fine. Sigh... Due to my normal level of worrying coupled with my heightened level of anxiety in general, I accepted the shots. Anything that might make me feel better and make me quit having thoughts of going bald. Two months later, the spot had almost doubled in size...

At this point it's January of this year. A whole year of just feeling off has gone by... I'm exhausted most of the time, still not getting good sleep, I'm still having digestive issues, I'm anxious, my heart feels like it's going to explode most times, and my hair is falling out. I've seen four different doctors - all of whom I assume were just doing what they know to do. However, I still felt like they weren't really listening to me and just wanted me in and out of their office so they could get to the next person.

So I ditched all four doctors and decided to take a whole new route...

to be continued on Wednesday...

Image by Dana Eason

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  1. goodness, tiffany. I had no idea. please update us soon. we are concerned!

    love and healing prayers! donna

  2. Wow! Thank you for sharing, and hoping you are feeling better. Sending prayers, peace and healing your way.

  3. So grateful you pushed on! I gave up years ago because of the run around and have been like this and progressively worse for years now. This year it looks like I'm getting answers with a new dr. Can't wait to find out more of your journey.

  4. So sorry friend! I pray you found another doctor or a group. I am thankful I didn't accept what my not Katie's initial physicians said!! They had no clue. And, I get so angry when the thyroid is dismissed!!! Took my fourth Doctor to finally give me an accurate diagnosis, but I wasted five years and damage was done because the others didn't get it!!

  5. Tiffany dear friend sorry all this is happening to you. I know its scary when your body seems to turn on itself and strange things are happening to it and no one is getting to the root of the issue. Thank you for being brave enough to share with your readers. There is power and healing in that alone. I really hope you find a practitioner that fully understand the body and is willing to look deeper than just surface issues. Just a suggestion I was thinking about. Perhaps seek out a holistic integrative MD, Dr Taz MD is one who comes to me in the ATL area. I personally haven't been I REALLY want to see her. Seems like she practices my kind of medicine. Wellness, clarity, hope, hugs and many blessing to you.♥♥♥

    1. Thank you!! I might have done just what you suggested... Stay tuned to Part II!

  6. I went through a similar situation in 2014 and got no results no where. Probiotics have been a lifesaver but I still have no diagnosis. I found a really good GI doctor at Emory Midtown, e-mail me if you want his contact. He went to UAB though.

  7. I'm anxious to hear the rest of your story. I've had some of the same symptoms you' described.

  8. Oh my Goodness, I can't even imagine the mental stress with all that going on! I hope everything is ok now Tiff, so anxious for Part II! Big big hug!!

  9. Oh this sounds like the year from hell. I am so stressed just thinking of you going back and forth to the doctors and nothing seeming to help, nor do I think they were really listening to you.

    Looking forward to the rest of the story. Take care.

  10. Incredibly interested to see what happened... I spent all of 2014 & 15 with the exact same symptoms, and I wasn't getting pregnant... which led to a hypothyroid diagnosis and I've had to cut out most caffeine!

  11. Oh Tiffany, I am so sorry you have had to go through this battle... I too have had issues with my thyroid and we still haven't figured it out. I love your decision to "ditch" the existing drs. Not enough people are smart enough to make that move. Please post soon as I want to know how you are doing and what you did. Please know that I send you support and big hugs.

  12. I wish you well..and do hope you look into juicing organic veggies and fruits as part of the diet..probiotics, chlorophyll, and green alkalizer powder

  13. Hugs, Tiffany! It takes a lot of courage to share.

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