My road to thyroid disease started in my late 20s after I had my first son. I had been feeling unwell for a few months and decided to make an appointment with my doctor. Since this was over 20 years ago, it is hard to remember all the symptoms I was having at the time, but I do remember telling her that I had not been feeling well for a while. She ran some bloodwork and discovered that I was hyperthyroid. She referred me to an Endocrinologist, and after many tests, I was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. I battled Graves’ disease for about 7 years, struggling to stabilize my health and thyroid hormones. We had reached the pointin my health journey where my Endo recommended using radioactive iodine to effectively “kill” my thyroid since it was such a consistent struggle. Just before my appointment, I found out I was pregnant with my third child putting the plan for radioactive treatment on hold. Little did I know that would be the last time Graves’ disease would a problem for me.
After my youngest son was born in 2006, I became hypothyroid. After being on Synthroid, we ran new tests to see where my levels were at only to find that I officially had Hashimoto’s disease. I was told that it was extremely rare to have both diseases, but, fortunately, getting my numbers under control was pretty easy compared to what I went through with Graves’ disease. Over the course of the next few years, my medication was tweaked a few times, thankfully never really experiencing Hashimoto’s symptoms and a period of stability for the next 10+ years with only an annual visit to my endo to have my labs checked.
Fast forward to late 2020 into 2021, I was turning 50, and my health had started to rapidly decline. I was struggling with exhaustion, brain fog, weight gain, and horrible joint and muscle pain, among other symptoms. I have battled Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis off and on since I was 2 years old, and thought I was in a flare. After seeing my Rheumatologist, and running labs, we came to the hypothesis that I might have fibromyalgia. My history with doctors and experience with my health had given me little confidence in the medical community at that point. Since I was also going through menopause, I assumed that all these symptoms were just a part of the process and decided to try to look for natural remedies.
In the midst of all this, I realized that I needed to renew my Synthroid prescription. Since I had been stable for almost a decade, I was forgetting to make my medication regualraly. However, it never occurred to me that my symptoms might be thyroid related.
How I Found Paloma Health
After moving over an hour away from my Endocrinologist, I tried to find an online doctor who could order labs and write me a prescription. I am not a huge fan of actually GOING to the doctor and really didn’t want to drive that far for what had always been just a 5-minute appointment.
In my search for a telehealth doctor who could manage Hashimoto’s disease, I found Paloma Health. Not only did they see patients virtually, but I was excited because they specializes in hypothyroidism and allowed their thyroid blood tests to be done from home. On top of that, I was excited about the price being that I would have paid QUADRUPLE the amount they were charging me to get labs done through my endocirinologist, office visit, and blood draw. I decided to go for it, still fully expecting them to be normal.
Why I Love The At-Home Test Kits
The testing process was SO EASY! They mailed me a blood spot card, and all I had to do was prick my finger, fill up five little circles with drops of blood, seal it up and mail it back in a prepaid envelope.
To my surprise, my results came back abnormal! While my T3 and T4 were normal, my TSH was 19.4 and my TPO Antibodies were 600. My endocrinologist never checked my TPO Antibodies so I didn’t even know what that was. Luckily, Paloma has TONS of information on their website with a full description of the different labs.
My Paloma Doctor Experience
After researching them more, I decided to schedule an appointment with one of their doctors. I liked that I could have my appointment from home, and loved that all they specialized on was hypothyroidism. I also really appreciated their openness to try different medications and treatment option. As I’ve gotten older, I have become less willing to just do whatever a doctor tells me to do and would rather be a part of the discussion, treatment plan and have my concerns and wishes taken seriously. From everything I had read, Paloma does all that and more.
My appointment with my Paloma doctor went beyond great! My provider was super knowledgeable and gave me all the time I needed. She spoke WITH me, not at me, and we decided, together, that I would stay on Synthroid and adjust my dose. Through this visits, I learned that It is common for menopause to create an imbaance in our hormones. So between that and skipping doses here and there, it made sense to see if adjusting my dose would get me back to where I needed to be.
Within days of my appointment, I had my new prescription ready to go. While waiting for the new dose to work its magic, I spent some time on the Paloma Health website and found a huge library of education, guides, resource sand more.
After being on the new dose for a few months, I met with my doctor to find that my thyroid levels were back in the normal range. Now, I am not totally symptom-free at this point but I am happy to say that heading in the right direction has given me a tremendous peace of mind and excited to check back in with my provider in the next few months.
How Paloma Actually Saves Me Money
One thing that I know is always a concern is the financial aspect of going through Paloma versus your insurance. Unfortunately, Paloma is considered out of network with my insurance, which isn’t the case for everyone, so I highly recommend you check if your insurance is eligible. Being so, everything had to be paid for out of pocket. When crunching the numbers, I actually came to find that going through my insurance and in-network provider would have actually cost more due to our extremely high deductible. Since we never even get close to hitting our deducitble, every in-network doctor appointment has to be paid for out of our pocket, so in the end, Paloma actually ended up saving my family and I money. I know this isn’t going to be the same for everyone, but for us we definitely came out ahead.
Overall, the time and money Paloma has saved me, the knowledge I have gained from their resources, has made me confident that whatever happens with my Hashimoto’s disease, I have found a great doctor and medical community that can help me so I no longer have to suffer for so long.