Part 3 of 13 of Anna’s Story at CanadianLymeStories.com

After my diagnosis of Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis I found a holistic medicine doctor…

He told me that thyroid problems were usually complex heath problems (which made sense to me) and that anyone with autoimmune thyroid disease had to stop eating gluten immediately (which shocked and appalled me). He also suggested that I do about $700 worth of tests not covered by OHIP, as well as a lot more blood work that was covered.

Now this doctor is a GP. He practices in a crowded office in a strip mall on the outskirts of the city. His list of patients is massive and includes people from all walks of life. He asks very detailed questions and mumbles to himself while he writes the answers down. You can see the sharpness of his mind as he fits together small pieces of seemingly random information. There are sometimes holes in the elbows of his sweaters.

Every single thing about him made me trust him. So I did exactly what he said.

When the expensive blood work came back we had a really awful meeting. ‘This and this and this is wrong with your blood work.’ I remember him saying; ‘Your cells are not exporting calcium.’ ‘You have the adrenals of a new born baby.’ None of it fit with my image of myself.

‘But I’m not that sick,’ I said. I had my kids, my husband, work. I couldn’t be that sick. I just didn’t have the space or time.

His look was serious. ‘You are running on pure adrenaline now. If the adrenaline goes, getting you started up again will not be easy.’ I honestly didn’t know what he meant, but the kindness and the seriousness in his face scared me. He had no reason to tell me something that wasn’t true. (After all, this is Canada, and no one is selling heath care.) But it wasn’t what I wanted to hear. It didn’t fit. I would need to change so much…

And who among us has not been here?

No caffeine. No sugar. Regular bedtimes. No gluten. No drinking. Spend every Tuesday morning and lots of money getting intravenous vitamin drips. Take this and this and this and this… Eiii. So much to remember and arrange and figure out. And me not even able to picture where I had left my car.

At that time neither my (great) doctor nor I thought of Lyme. I cut out gluten and felt better. I began to get vitamin and mineral IVs with a little adrenal support thrown in on Tuesday mornings.

(This sounds a little more seamless than it was. At the time I was a tired, confused person with naturally very low blood pressure and veins about as easily accessible as buried Pirate treasure. I found the IV drip daunting. My husband thought the whole thing sounded strange. After my first drip the vein they used hurt for the whole week (which sometimes happens) and this began what is widely, and with great hilarity, described by my now beloved drip community as ‘back when you were always fainting.’)

Sara was my first drip friend. There I was tottering out of the room where they put in the IVs and there she was with her twitches, both of us pale as ghosts and really not looking our club-hopping best. I’d faint and be horribly embarrassed and she’d laugh and I’d feel better. Her head would twitch back or she’d come in with a cane or a neck brace and, after a quick check in, we’d move off sickness and onto talking about our relationships and work and families and a shared interest in psychotherapy. A huge commonality many of us had at the drip was the effect that our strange symptoms and our rigorous attempts to get better were having on our lives.

Sara had been diagnosed with Lyme and she was really really sick. I felt so sorry that such a young and obviously vibrant person had to go through so much difficulty. I was very impressed by the way she handled herself and stayed on course through some terrifying moments. Of course I also thought; ‘Wow, I may be having trouble with my health, but at least I don’t have Lyme.’


On to Part 4: Diagnosis

Keywords: Holistic medicine, doctor research, gluten intolerance, food issues