Philosophy of The Big Society

David Cameron gets to be God!

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

Blood Test Results, Discussions with Medical Persons and the Peri Menopause

The psychiatrist received my blood test results yesterday and rang me back to discuss them with me.

Overall blood is functioning okay, as are organs in my body. However, there are a couple of 'concerns' (psychiatrist's terminology) in regards to an on-going potassium deficiency which might lead to complications when taking Lithium. For that he has advised I take a potassium supplement. The other concern is to do with my thyroid activity. It is the lowest end of 'healthy functioning'. This threw up 2 further concerns for him. Firstly, that Lithium can affect thyroid activity. Big hmmm! Secondly, it is an indicator that I am peri menopausal.

Whilst we were on that subject, I broached a conversation I had had, a week previously, with a nurse (having rung NHS Direct about my continual use of migraine wafer thingy). That was the main reason I rang but the nurse (who was male) said that because the migraines seem to be clustering around my period, I could be peri menopausal and it was something that I should discuss with my GP. The psychiatrist was in full agreement and said it is quite likely that I am peri menopausal and there is a simple blood test that the GP can do to find that out.

Now, many moons ago, I wrote a post on the Lifeboat about my own view that I thought I had 'hormonal' probbies but when I went and spoke to the GP they pretty much pooh-pooh'd my suggestion and said there was no such test available.

It now seems there is and it isn't that complicated to carry out. I have to wonder at why the GP was so negative about it all. Is it that GP's consider hormone balance testing as hocus pocus? Or because I am officially a loony, any notion that I might understand anything about my physical being (changes to it) is deemed beyond me? Or it is a matter of finance?

Whatever, I think there is more than enough hocus pocus and skull duggery going on in the NHS already so won't be put off by some lame excuse of 'non relevance' and loony I may be but thick as the Minutes from a Trust Board meeting I am not. If it is the money, then I am prepared to pay for the test to be done. It is that important to me.

Not just because I would like to know for sure what is going on with my hormones..and in relation to thyroid activity and cluster migraines....but if the medics want me to try the Lithium then I need to be clear how much of what is going on is down to hormone activity and what the 'danger areas' are in regards to my physical state when I go on it.

At this point in time, Lithium (although quite possibly the most tried and tested of all mood stabilisers) is not looking like a good option for me.

Granted, I can take potassium supplemens and Thyroxin if the thyroid gets weaker but to start on a medication apt to mess about with salt levels and thyroids, with things not particularly okay, doesn't bode well.

Seeing GP tomorrow, so will discuss all the angles then.

I did speak to my care co-ordinator about it yesterday and.... in spite of the fact that she had rung me and told me I wasn't answering the door (when she was actually knocking at a house 4 doors down from where I live) and me having to walk up my road to stop her driving away.....was rather worried about me taking Lithium and wondered if there wasn't a more suitable alternative for me.

She said she had been to a conference, about Abilify, and set up by the company reps and the professor there was waxing lyrical about the wonders of Abilify in treating Bipolar. Having tried the drug last year (without positive outcomes) am not inclined to try it again. Whatever the professor said, any conference paid for by drug companies has to be biased....Well, I think so.

So, tomorrow could be quite an important day. It could be a day where I do get the okay for hormone level blood testing. If not, I will have to seek further guidance on that. Depending on that and discussions around supplements, thyroid activity and how closely my blood is going to be monitored along the way, depends on whether or not I agree to take Lithium, although I might actually put myself on a potassium supplement anyway.

And it could be time to buy another T Shirt. "I MAY ONLY BE PERI MENOPAUSAL BUT I STILL BITE LIKE A BANSHEE"


  1. I had to look up what perimenopause was. A year or two before the full blown thing huh? Nice!

    Why do GP'S totally dismiss the importance of hormones when it comes to depressive illnesses and anxiety? I can tell you that my anxiety increases dramatically around those tricky times and I may as well write myself off as useless for a few weeks each month. The last thing you need is to be taking thyroxin either on top of everything else. Getting the balance right there is trial and error too. Gee Mandy I empathise.

    PS. My Mum is a pharmaceutical rep. Diabetes is her thing tho. One thing I do know is that drug companies are completely biased and only interested in meeting financial targets. Conferences are always funded by those with a vested interest. Yes I'm pretty cynical too :-)

  2. I thought at the time when you posted about this on on your other blog about hormone testing, I did think your GP wasn't very helpful.
    Good luck with the appointment.

    Love Sis x

  3. Hi CC and Sis

    Well based on my meeting with GP today, they seem to pooh pooh everything.

    Sadly, the GP I like is on indefinate leave so I had to see a GP who I hadn't had a postive experience with before. Plus they hadn't got the letter from the psychiatrist or blood test and ECG results!!!

    Their views were as follows:

    It is more dangerous to take a potassium supplement than risk even more depletion through taking Lithium.

    That 12 is a healthy enough level for my thyroid to be functioning at and there should be no problems taking the Lithium.

    There is a blood test for hormone balance but it is not given to women over 45 because 'they are all peri-menopausal' and, in their view, a blood test won't necessarily show that a woman is peri-menopausal. Yes, it was another round of Hocus Pocus.

    I did, however, get a diagnosis for my iffy elbow. I have tennis/golf elbow and have been advised to go to the chemist and get a band to place under it.

    For my part, I said I wasn't going to take anything based on what was discussed and would await psychiatrist's letter and test results before I decide what I am going to do.

    Was so frustrated when I came out that I actually walked (like power walked) all the way home. So, it wasn't a totally wasted venture.

    Think I am going to wait until letter and test results are back at GP practise (to ensure they don't get lost in transit...again). Meet with them to go over everything...not so much given them another chance as getting to see what they say when they look at the test results and letter. After than I think I willn register with another GP, although my faith in the medical profession is pretty non existant right now.

    Have the bank holiday weekend coming so am going to let it all go and then worry about it next week.

  4. This is what gets me thr Shrink says one thing and the GP says another ! Good luck with the results !

    Sis xxxx

  5. Now I thought it was only a legend - about thingywotsits with teeth. But you're actually telling us yours "bites like a banshee?"

    Seriously. Don't mess with thyroids, Kipper. They're volatile and dangerous things if not kept in order - hypomania, bulging eyes and racing heart on one side lethargy, obesity and the slug on the other.

    And remember, Lithium is a poison. That's why they have to carefully balance the blood content with regular tests. The side effects are awful.

    Hugsx (the x was a typo but on second thoughts I left it there).


  6. Well I have had my hormones tested at the insistance of my GP

    The consultant endochronologist didn't like being pressed by the GP, however the results came back & I was placed on HRT.

    I aslo have a history of Thyroid problems & once my sex hormones were normalised it appears my Thyroid goitre shrank.

    A further check showed that I had Thyroid peroxidase antibody - i.e. I had an autoimmune disease & bingo no more thoughts of sending me to shrinks.

  7. Hi Sis

    and the medical profession wonders why people are so distrusting of it?

    Is like an invididual doesn't have the right to say "This is my body here and I am concerned about what the medication will do to it"

    Is all in the pending file at the moment. Pending me telling them to stop treating me like a cretin.

  8. Hi Mike

    I agree that Lithium is (when not treated with utmost care) a poison and from where I am sitting is looking like it is going to poison me.

    Because my thyroid is the very lowest end of active, I can see that the the Lithium will aggrevate propensity to become some 15 stone slug (shrink did say Lithium tends to pile the pounds on)

    Even as I swing back and forth I can pick up 'loud and clear' that Lithium (for whatever good it will do me) is more likely to do me more harm.

    A case of back to the drawing board and trying to get through the pharma hype.

    The x was much appreciated as was the hug.

    Hugs to you too x

  9. Dear Anon

    Thanks for sharing. These medics are too quick to try and make people feel that they ask too much...or are not in any position to question things.

    I will be changing my GP practise next week..and hope that I get a GP who will actually listen to my concerns and be a bit more 'on the case' in regards to potential negative interactions between medications and my body.

    Glad your hormone probbies were sorted and, from what you wrote, it has certainly improved things for you.

  10. quote -

    "However, there are a couple of 'concerns' (psychiatrist's terminology) in regards to an on-going potassium deficiency "

    Mandy did they discuss your actual blood levels of potassium ?

    I note the used the terms "ongoing" which might imply you have had a longstanding potassium problem.

    Did he use the term Hypokalemia?

    Did he make you aware hypokalamia can actually cause psychiatric illness?