Discussions By Condition: Medical Errors

I wasn't depressed...I have thyroid issues part 1 of 2

Posted In: Medical Errors 8 Replies
  • Posted By: lyrist
  • December 28, 2007
  • 03:29 PM

Here's my story of being misdiagnosed with depression. I don't know what's wrong with me but I know it has something to do with my thyroid. After I miraculously got better on my own, I just recently began feeling the symptoms again. I want to share my experience that I documented earlier this year. This is a long post so it's in 2 parts


Part 1 of 2:

My misery started 3 weeks prior to May 15th, 2007 but this date marks the turning point.
Three weeks prior was when I first had symptoms of insomnia. The first week I woke up feeling tired and lethargic (more than usual). During week two, I began having trouble falling asleep. I began taking over the counter sleep aids. Tylenol PM & Simply sleep seemed to work. By day three of these, I felt that they weren’t having the same affect. I would fall asleep but I would wake up after a few hours. So I doubled the dosage…nothing. By week three I was on the internet researching the strongest OTC sleep aids available to get some relief. I NEEDED a good night’s sleep. I ended up getting Unisom Max Strength. No luck! Finally thought I should call my primary care doctor because I was also noticing other things that were not quite right. I was losing focus at work and not able to concentrate. I attributed it to not getting enough sleep. Called the doctor on Friday and luckily he was able to see me the following Monday.

On May 15th I woke up feeling bad. I couldn’t really explain it any other way except BAD. I called in sick for work that day because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do anything. I also knew that I had a doctor’s appointment that morning. I was shaking so badly that I could barely get dressed. I thought something was physically wrong with me.

The Dr’s visit was a waste of time. I explained to my doctor the issues I was having with insomnia and the new issue that I woke up in the morning with (the shakes). He seemed a little unsympathetic but I thought he was just having a bad day. He gave me a handful of sleeping pills samples (Lunesta) and a prescription for Paxil CR 12.5MG and “for kicks” drew my blood for thyroid issues & anemia. I questioned him about how Paxil was going to help me sleep and stop shaking and as he explained it to me I felt that that path wasn’t quite right. I don’t practice medicine so I really don’t know. He asked me to call him by Thursday for the blood test results.

Taking the sleeping pills worked wonders. I woke up the first morning feeling great. I had missed that feeling and wanted it again and again. The doctor warned me not to get addicted to the Lunesta but my goodness the sleep felt good after being sleep deprived for almost a month. I finished the week out taking the Lunesta everyday.

Called my doctor on Thursday and was told that the doctor would call me back. I hadn’t heard anything by Friday so I thought no news was good news. Uh uh! Monday, I got a voice message from the doctor saying that something wasn’t right w/the thyroid functioning and he was ordering more tests. Of course I was worried and concerned so I began playing a game of phone tag with the doctor. Finally, we catch up with each other on Friday. He basically said I needed to see an endocrinologist and didn’t provide many details. I sort of felt that he was trying to distance himself from my “case”.

Finding an endocrinologist in the area proved to be a challenge. I kept calling around until I found someone who could see me soon because the shakiness would not stop. The endocrinologist prescribed beta blockers to help with the shakiness and needed more tests because my blood work said overactive thyroid but I presented as a person with under active thyroid. My symptoms were:

· not being able to sleep or stay asleep
· hair falling out and thinning
· weight gain
· tremors
· fatigue
· weird feeling all throughout my body...just weird
· heart racing
· always cold (freezing)
· just feeling bad

The Beta Blockers made me feel worse. I was extremely fatigued all of the time. I felt like I could barely move. I called my primary care doctor to see if there was something I could do about the fatigue. He told me I needed to keep taking the Paxil and then quoted the endo’s report as saying that my issues could be from clinical depression. WTF!!!
He urged me to call her but said nothing could be done. . I wanted to scream to him "BUT I'M NOT DEPRESSED! I LOVE MY LIFE I JUST HATE THE WAY MY BODY IS FELLING! LISTEN TO ME! HELP ME!"

In steps my husband…he called the endo and tore hear apart for her diagnosis of clinical depression. He questioned her qualifications for making such a diagnosis and learned that it was my primary care doctor who originated the thought. By the end of the call, he had her admit that the beta blockers that she prescribed could have caused (in her words) “slowness”; FATIGUE! She called in a reduced prescription for the Beta Blockers so I gave them a try but they made my vivid dreams turn into nightmares. I didn’t like it.

The blood work had come in from the endocrinologist’s additional tests and she instructed me to have a thyroid uptake and scan done. Here goes another challenging appointment setting event; to get sooner rather than later. Finally found a place but the endo was booked for a month and a half. I had to see her colleague.

Meeting with the colleague seemed promising when I met with him to discuss the results of the uptake and scan on July 11th. Again, I hear that the results show overactive thyroid but my symptoms are inconsistent...possible cause...Pre-Grave's disease! The tests were enough for him to want to start me on an anti-thyroid medication. I had agreed to have blood drawn and re-visit monthly to see how things were going. At this point I was desperate because I've tried two Beta Blockers and they stopped the shaking but made me feel worse with strange dreams, fatigue, vomiting after meals, and more weight gain. (Inderol 60mg 1/day, then switched to Propanolol 10mg 2/day). I left the office with a prescription to get filled for Tapczole 10mg & Atenolol 25mg.

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8 Replies:

  • Here's part 2 of 2: On July 12th, I got a voice message from the endo and he asked me NOT to take the anti-thyroid medicine. He took my blood as a baseline to compare with next month's results and the results from now show that my thyroid is functioning normally. That's strange! This is just two weeks after the uptake and scan. He mentioned that maybe it was something that just fixed itself but we should still check the blood in a month. Great! We are back to square one. But wait! Now I notice my ankles were swollen and looked like two little tennis balls were poking out of them. They were soft when I touched them but visibly swollen. I also lost my balance at least twice that day. When I went to have a pedicure done, the massage on my legs was very painful. I almost took meds for no reason; I’m giving up on these meds! By this time I am totally frustrated and refused to take another pill, including the Paxil, until I had answers that made sense. After day 3 of no pills I was lightheaded and dizzy but was told that it was from stopping the beta-blockers “cold-turkey”. This made sense to me; so I dealt with the dizziness for that day. Around July 19th, I woke up feeling better than I had for weeks. Maybe it was all over. Most of the symptoms had subsided. Maybe it was something that just passed. Now I can focus on getting back to normal. Right? Not so soon! Monday, July 24th I started to feel light headed and dizzy at work. I thought it would go away but it didn’t. I notified my husband just in case it was a bad thing. By the end of the day, it was still there. I thought it would be gone on day 2. He urged me to go to the emergency room but I did not. Day 3, still there…I’m at the doctor’s office by Friday of that week. (BTW – I decided to switch primary care doctors so this was my first visit with the new doctor). I gave her my history and didn’t think that this new issue (vertigo) was related to the others. She requested full scale blood tests and will get my history from the endo and my ex-doctor. In the meantime, she gave me a prescription to help with the Vertigo…in the back of mind I felt that Vertigo wasn’t it. It didn’t seem right. I couldn’t explain to her what I was feeling. There was no word for it. I took the medicine for dizziness but had no reaction. By the end of the week, I began feeling tightness in my chest. I was afraid I was having a heart attack but I could breath just fine. My heart was racing and the dizziness got worse. Today, July 29th, I’m taking my LIFE back! I started to research as many variations of symptoms I could to help figure this thing out. I stumbled on a generic looking website that had people describing EXACTLY what I was going through. They used descriptions like “brain storm”, “electric head” , “electric shocks”; all this followed by the dizziness. What did these people have in common with me? They all stopped taking an SSRI drug! Then it hit me. I know what’s causing the dizzy feeling in my head…and it’s not all in my head! The PAXIL…it’s destroying me! The doctor said it would help me sleep but he really gave it to me because he thought I was depressed. He didn’t listen to me. He didn’t hear me. He misdiagnosed me. And now I’m suffering in living ***l because of it. I’m taking my LIFE back TODAY! Testing this newfound conclusion involved taking the Paxil again. Around 1:00pm, I took a pill. By 4pm I noticed the dizziness wasn’t as bad. By 8pm, it was totally gone. I worked out for about 30 minutes. I wasn’t able to do this for months. July 30th, I woke up this morning feeling SUPER! It was around 6:30 and I wasn’t feeling tired and lethargic. I felt energetic. I am ready to get in shape and live my life again. I got up this morning and did some aerobics and I didn’t need anything for a boost. I’ve been cleaning the house, singing & dancing. Now I just have to figure out how to safely get this drug out of my system.
    lyrist 2 Replies
    • December 28, 2007
    • 03:30 PM
    • 0
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  • can you break the pill in parts...like start with 3/4 for a week and then 2/3 and then 1/2, 1/4....take about a month to get off of it...I think they are missing something and hope your new doctor has some better advise...I would see a new endrocrinologist, too...
    Monsterlove 2,921 Replies
    • December 28, 2007
    • 09:26 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Lets just say... Unfortunately, this happens quite often.I'm sure you can find a great deal of help here: http://www.paxilprogress.org/
    Tranquillity 34 Replies
    • December 29, 2007
    • 11:40 AM
    • 0
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  • IME and classically when a thyroid starts to malfunction it does not just get overactive or underactive, it goes back and forth between those. That means that your tests could show overactive, underactive or normal. It seems like the gland is confused about what it should do. If you want to have it treated effectively I suggest contactins www.systemicformulas.com from Ogden, UT, and asking if they know a practitioner in your area that they can refer you to. I have had a number of patients that have done very well with specific thyroid support from Systemic. What they use has been designed to help organs heal and in most cases patients do not have to take the support more than 3 to 4 months.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies
    • December 30, 2007
    • 05:35 PM
    • 0
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  • Thanks Monsterlove...I am new to posting on message boards. My post was related to a blog I did in then Spring of 2007. I didn't post to this board the journey of actually withdrawing. I ended up stopping all meds cold turkey. I didn't realize how serious doing that would be at the time. I suffered from a horrible case of vertigo for weeks. In addition to that, I often hear buzzing noises in my head. I read accounts of others who had the same experience withdrawing from SSRIs. I'm happy to say that the only pills I take right now are vitamins and minerals. Tranquility, thanks for the link. I may have visited this link during my withdrawal phase. I was so frustrated that I just refused to take another pill. Ralph, thank you so much for the information. I will contact Systematic Formuals to find a practitioner in my area for a consultation!
    lyrist 2 Replies
    • December 30, 2007
    • 09:07 PM
    • 0
    Flag this Response
  • Hi my names tiara and im 16 when i was 13 i had the same issues and symptoms like you except mine were about 10 times worse. When i went to bed(if i went to bed that night) my eyes would stay open and my whole body would move, i lost excessive amounts of weight to the point that i only weighed around 95-100 pounds, my heart rate was constantly at a high level, i was misdiagnosed with add and then adhd, i ate constantly to the point where i was eating every 30 minutes, i was prescribed depression drugs that the doctor had thought off the top of his head(where the ***l did depression come from), i was forced to go to a counselor because i started to get mood swings and as a result started to lash out at my family(not intentionally). This had gone on for about a year until i finally started to get agonizing headaches, and i was always sick with some sort of illness; my mom ended up taking me to the hospital because i was having body pains so bad that i would drift in and out of consciousness, they ran a million blood tests and found out that my body was shutting down to the fact that the depression drugs mixed with atenanol had forced my body into thryoid storm(thyroid problems didnt just come shooting out of my **s overnight i had them all along and they kept misdiagnosing me) my t4 levels were out of the roof meaning my body was producing way to much hormone, and my white blood cell count dropped to dangerous levels. They had to do an emergency radiation treatment on my thyroid to obliterate it. Im on synthroid for thyroid complications and im feeling way better now except for the occassional headache and needless to say the doctor could have killed me because he didnt want to test me for all reasonable disorders that i was showing symptoms for.
    pur3ange1wings 1 Replies Flag this Response
  • hey i feel some of the same feelings. about 5 years ago i had a panic attack. then they put me on lexapro, didn't work, then paxil, the effxor, the zoloft, the citrilpam, now remrone. none of these meds work, they calm me alittle, but i have tremendous head pressure. i'm wondering if i could have an thyroid problem. here are my symtoms. my outter eyebrows are almost gone, i have double vision(for over 12 years). my anti's arent working. my basel temp is around 96.8. i have these puffy bags under my eyes that i never had, i have no appitite except in the late evening. i have virtuially no libido. my ears wont stop ringing. my body temp doent get above 97.4. i am tired all the time, i have no drive like i use to to lift weights or archery. any suggestions?
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • hey i feel some of the same feelings. about 5 years ago i had a panic attack. then they put me on lexapro, didn't work, then paxil, the effxor, the zoloft, the citrilpam, now remrone. none of these meds work, they calm me alittle, but i have tremendous head pressure. i'm wondering if i could have an thyroid problem. here are my symtoms. my outter eyebrows are almost gone, i have double vision(for over 12 years). my anti's arent working. my basel temp is around 96.8. i have these puffy bags under my eyes that i never had, i have no appitite except in the late evening. i have virtuially no libido. my ears wont stop ringing. my body temp doent get above 97.4. i am tired all the time, i have no drive like i use to to lift weights or archery. any suggestions?--------------------------------------------------------------------------Hi Jjambow:First of all let me state for the record, that my heart goes out to you and I am so sorry this is happening to you.Here's the thing, I have had an under-active thyroid since I was a teenager. I wasn't diagnosed until the last trimester of my pregnancy years later. I was always feeling exhausted, got so many colds I stopped counting them, experienced lightheadedness on a constant basis, lost my appetite quite often (not good during a pregnancy), and all I ever wanted to do before, during and after was sleep. Back then (I'm talking the late 70's/early 80's), the whole "Depression" thing was not as commonly discussed although, it did of course exist along with and not limited to being treated with these outrageous drugs with many side effects, yada, yada...Nonetheless, I just couldn't shake this condition for some reason. Then there came a point when I thought I might have Mono. Yikes, freaking out especially during my pregnancy was just normal for me.So, I went to my MD. They did a battery of blood work, etc., and finally diagnosed me with Hyporthyroidism. I only had about 15% of my natural thyroid, so they prescribed a thyroid replacement therapy drug called Synthroid. Synthroid is an artificial thyroid replacement med which will synthetically replace whatever percentage of your thyroid is depleted. Whew...was I relieved because it worked!Based upon your story, and having to deal with this...oh, and by the way, this is in fact genetic in nature; I actually got it from my Dad, who has a very mild case of this condition. So, although it is more common in women especially during their menopausal years (both pre as well as post...), men can in fact have this condition. And yes, mild hair loss can sometimes also occur along with possible weight gain. (I did not have the hair loss symptom but some folks women as well as men can and do however...)My suggestion would be to go to your MD and get the blood test. It's called a "panel." In fact blood tests to check your enzymes, lipids, thyroid, etc. can be done all in the same test. Have your MD order it up for you. And, based upon the findings, the appropriate med will be Rx'd for you. If in fact this is not what the problem is, a blood panel is a great way to find out what the problem in fact is. Believe me when I tell you that I have been taking this med for over 20 years and I am gladder than glad that I am. Very treatable, and feeling much, much better overall! :))Best of luck!
    daunting4sure 12 Replies Flag this Response
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