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Gonna get personal here.

This isn’t about writing. This isn’t about creation. This is about incredible medical neglect.

The Issue

Miscarriages. Chronic pain. Digestion issues. Insomnia due to pain. Many more symptoms.

This has been my life for thirty years.

I have been to many many doctors.

I got many opinions, in multiple states. I have tried to find out what was wrong with me in California, New Hampshire, Washington, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, and Texas. I have had CT scans and MRIs, gallons of blood panels run, all manner of nerve tests endured.

And the consensus? After all these things, in multiple states, over multiple years?

A shrug.

The Shrug

I’ve had numerous doctors tell me to lose weight, get rid of my cat, and consider that “maybe it was all in my head.”

I’ve been told “nothing is wrong with you. You’re just lazy.”

They’ve told me I just needed more exercise, or to cut smoking (I don’t smoke and never have). They told me I needed a psychologist – I went, and proved my head wasn’t the problem.

During all these things, as I tried and tried to find a way out of the pit of chronic pain, a few interesting things kept coming up in my blood work: an ANA marker (which is an autoimmune thing), and odd thyroid numbers.

Now, I saw these. I looked them up. They looked scary to me – so I asked.

And I asked. And I asked.

I was told over and over again not to worry, that although these numbers were out of normal range, it didn’t mean anything.

I have to shout this part. I’m sorry:

I might not have lost my babies if this had been properly diagnosed.

Okay, on we go.

Thirty Years of “Watchful Waiting”

No doctor has done more than watchful waiting. Waiting for what? Damned if I know.

Reader, you’re capable of using search engines. You can figure out where this is going. What I need you to know is this: doctors ignore thyroid readings, and we’re the ones who suffer.

Feeling tired all the time is not normal. Chronic pain is not normal. Brain fog is not normal.

I sought help. I got none.

Because I’m desperate, I kept trying. And this week, just a few days ago, one observant nurse practitioner looked over my blood work history and immediately saw what was wrong.

It was once mere hypothyroid. Now, it’s Hashimoto’s.

The numbers have been there. This isn’t new. She’s just the only one who gave a damn.

Today is day two of medication, just one little pill a day. Guess what? I already have an appetite. That’s insane. I never have an appetite. If not reminded to eat, I can go the whole day without putting anything in my mouth. Today, I feel hungry. This is new. This is wonderful.

But it also drove home an ugly truth: I didn’t have to go through any of this. It could have been addressed years ago.

But nope. We waited and watched, and in the end, my potential children are all dead.

Lessons Learned

I will be the first to tell you that you’ll never understand your blood work the way a professional will – but that doesn’t mean you can’t understand it fairly well.

  • Look up normal ranges. Don’t just accept numbers; see what each thing is supposed to be, and if anything is out of range, see what it does and whether those symptoms apply to you.
  • Advocate for yourself. DO NOT let anyone silence you. DO NOT let anyone tell you it’s “all in your head.” Yes, I know there are folks who struggle with hypochondria, which CAN make you truly sick, but this article isn’t written for them. This is for the rest of us, who’ve been told never to worry about the things slowly killing us.
  • If your doctor will (a) not listen to you about your symptoms, or (b) insists blood work out of range is just fine, or (c) heaven forbid, both, find another doctor.

It took me thirty years to find someone who would fucking listen.

I’m gonna be okay, but today, I am not, and both anger and grief need to work their way through me before I will find my way to calm.

To Medical Professionals

Hey, listen: I know many of you wonderful folks in the medical community are doing your best to help. You got into this job to give aid to those who need it. I understand.

But there are others – maybe you know who you are, maybe you don’t – who are in this for the money.

You are hurting people.

You are killing people.

The chances of that type of person bothering to read this post are slim, but on the off chance they might respond, change, do better, I have to try.


A three-times bestselling author, Ruthanne Reid has led a convention panel on world-building, taught courses on plot and character development, and been the keynote speaker for the Write Practice Retreat. Author of two series with five books and fifty-plus short stories, Ruthanne has lived in her head since childhood, when she wrote her first story about a pony princess and a genocidal snake-kingdom and used up her mom’s red typewriter ribbon in the process. When she isn’t reading, writing, or reading about writing, Ruthanne enjoys old cartoons with her husband and two cats, and dreams of living on an island beach far, far away. P.S. Red is still her favorite color.