I have Graves Disease and hyperthyroidism. After my last blood test result, my endocrinologist decided to taper me off my heart pills (Inderal) saying that the thyroid pills (Tapazole) are now doing their work and I shouldn’t need to keep taking them. I was happy, one problem less. She was happy, everything was going according to plan. We’ll see each other again in 3 months.
The pharmacist prepared me a taper off plan, with a lower and lower dose until I stopped taking the heart completely. At first, all was well, but as the days passed, I wasn’t feeling quite right and some symptoms like heart palpitation and hand tremors were coming back. I decided to take my pressure and my heart rate twice a day. Both my pressure and my heart rate were rising steadily since I stopped taking the heart pill completely.
Worried, I called the hospital and left a message with the secretary for my endocrinologist to call me back. I wanted to know if it was normal that I was suddenly doing high pressure and my heart was beating faster and faster as the days passed. It didn’t seem right to me. After several days of no call backs and many people saying, don’t worry, she would have called you back if there was something wrong. I decided to call again and take an appointment. I told the secretary there was a change made to my heart medication and something was wrong. She got me a spot the following week. I took the blood test referral from the last appointment and went to the hospital to take them right there and then instead of in 3 months as originally planned.
In the meantime, my endocrinologist did call me back. She didn’t seem worried about it. Told me I could go back on it, if I felt I really needed it, but she didn’t like the idea of keeping me on a pill I didn’t need. I told her that I had taken the blood test and had made an emergency appointment for later that same week to see her after my blood pressure reached stage 3. She agreed to still see me if I needed to feel reassured. She made me feel like it was all in my head and I was worrying for nothing. I almost cancelled it all off, but decided to go anyway. I wanted to see the blood test result.
Turns out, it was a good thing I trusted my instincts. Yes, I am doing better than that very first time when I met her, but the prescription of Tapazole wasn’t strong enough for me and my thyroid was still in hyper mode. So some readjustments had to be done. I’m back on Inderal, but at a very low dose. It was enough to bring my pressure and my heartbeat back to normal. I’m now seeing the specialist back again in a month and we will see if the new doses are appropriate or if need to be changed again.
There won’t be early celebration of success again.
The point of my story is that many told me not to worry, to trust my doctor and let it go. My own doctor wasn’t worried over the phone when I spoke to her about how I felt and the changes in blood pressure and heartbeats. If you don’t feel right and you know something’s not quite right, question it, asks for tests or a second opinion. I know it’s not always easy, but for modern medicine to work, you really need to be an active participant.