My doctor no longer practices medicine, so I had to find another.

Like most long-time thyroid patients, I’ve been through the proverbial mill. I knew for sure I didn’t want to be bullied into taking Synthroid, which most doctors prefer–even though it doesn’t work.

I found a listing for doctors who prescribe Armour thyroid, the medicine that does work, found a doctor near me and made an appointment. I signed in and handed my information–my list of supplements and one medication (Armour thyroid), a very brief medical history and my two current concerns–to the receptionist.

As I waited to see the doctor, I noticed a closed-circuit television, courtesy of Big Pharma–a very bad sign. My years of experience as a patient taught me that Big Pharma is about money, not health. A doctor in the clutches of Big Pharma–as most are–has more concern about fitting in at the club than in making me well. Doctors who cross Big Pharma lose all their goodies.

But, I rationalized, this doctor prescribed Armour thyroid, verboten to Big Pharma.

The TV offered all the Big Pharma bromides, some disproved by scientific research. It did not help my comfort level.

Then a courier delivered “lunch for the doctor,” courtesy of a Big Pharma rep. The courier said the delivery company had the wrong suite number, but fortunately he knew where to find “doctor” because of his regular deliveries.

Looking around, I noticed Big Pharma paraphernalia everywhere. Things looked grim.

But the doctor prescribed Armour thyroid. There had to be a disconnect somewhere.

By the time they signed me in, my normally steady-as-she-goes blood pressure registered 152 over 64. I recognized the 64, but that 152 marked new territory.

Long minutes went by, probably as the doctor ate lunch and perused my materials.

When he finally arrived, he opened by saying he’d never heard of anybody taking as much thyroid as I do. I chose not to mention the fact that in the days when doctors concerned themselves with symptoms, before the currently preferred, but unreliable, blood tests appeared on the scene, doctors routinely prescribed double today’s levels. Back then, my dose–and more–raised nary an eyebrow. While I said nothing, I knew he intended to lower my thyroid dosage, and long experience told me that spelled doom.

He asked about my thyroid tests. I told him my TSH runs low because I have panhypotuitarism (my pituitary doesn’t produce TSH no matter what my thyroid does or doesn’t do), but my free T3 and free T4 scores hover around normal.

A flurry of activity ensued as he typed furiously on his laptop keyboard. I wondered what I could possibly have said that took so much typing to record. As it turned out, it had nothing to do with recording and everything to do with researching for something to contradict me–which he didn’t find.

Well, that attitude annoyed me, so I casually mentioned the unreliability of the TSH test and the fact some med schools no longer taught it. He said he doubted that.

I could have mentioned that I write about endocrine issues and do daily research, but then I could also have talked to a wall. Neither seemed a productive use of my time.

So further into the swamp we went. He suggested I have a bone scan since “studies show” that low TSH levels lead to bone loss. I said I would prefer not to do so, obviously riling him.

I knew the studies to which he referred weren’t all that reliable, and that bone scans show bone density compared to some mythical normal, but not bone strength or bone health. I also knew I’d never take any of the medications he might order because they create thick, but brittle and weak, bones by interfering with the body’s normal bone health mechanism.

He closed his computer, stood and announced he would not accept me as a patient because “you think you know more than I do.” He told me to leave immediately, and he would pretend I had never come.

How about that! Other than mentioning my hypopituitarism, the unreliability of the TSH test and not wanting to have a bone scan–for reasons I left unstated–I had been remarkably discreet. He obviously picked up on my view of doctors as well-educated peers, not demigods. Good doctors have no problem with that, but he sure did.

But he left money–the cost of an office visit–on the table because I wouldn’t have gone back. His allegiance to Big Pharma told me to run for my life.

And the Armour thyroid? He’s hypothyroid, and Big Pharma or no Big Pharma, he knows that’s what works. So give him props for that.

Author's Bio: 

Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be one. She's a patient who's spent the past 30+ years studying, with great success, how to handle endocrine problems. Her best credential is that doctors tell her she’s doing ‘too well’ for somebody with pituitary problems. Subscribe to her free e-zine and get plugged in to her information at If you’re dragging your patooty, and the doctor says you’re just fine, this is the place to get some answers.