AnonymousJuly 29, 1998 at 11:33 pmPost count: 93172
Thank you, RTrex, for alerting us to details about Gail Devers’s
appearance on Oprah. I was able to watch it and taped her portion
of the show, which was about diseases that go easily undetected.
For those interested about the show…
Gail was articulate and likable. It’s easy to listen to her story
and empathize. She did a wonderful job of summarizing her many
symptoms that she experienced prior to diagnosis: fatigue, hair
loss, weight loss, bulging eyes, sores and scaly skin on her face,
menstrual problems, accelerated resting heart rate, depression,
large goiter, thoughts of going crazy and being a hypochondriac,
and lowered self-esteem. She summed it up like we would – she
avoided mirrors and she wanted to crawl in a hole until it was all
over. She went undiagnosed for 2 1/2 years, and all the while her
doctors said that she was just under tremendous stress. They didn’t
suspect a thyroid problem until her goiter became noticeable.
Oprah asked, “Wouldn’t the first thing be that you’d get a blood
Guest Nancy Snyderman, MD, answered, “Because we’re in a state,
a time in medicine, where we always weigh is it cost effective to
get a blood test on everybody who comes in and says I’m a little
pooped and my hair’s falling out.” During her talk she mentioned
that 1 in 8 women suffer from a thyroid disorder, especially
women over 30. She referred to the thyroid as “the engine that
keeps us ticking.” She stressed the need for a good, respectful
relationship (on both sides) with your doctor. She also stressed
being a proactive patient and asking for blood tests when you
know that something just isn’t right.
Gail talked about her Gland Central Campaign (did I get that
right??), where she’s teamed up with the American Medical Women’s
Association to educate people about the thyroid gland and its
disorders. Her message: The thyroid gland influences every cell,
organ, and tissue in your body; if it stops working, so do you; and
know some of the symptoms – “Go in and talk to your doctor and get
a very, very, very simple blood test.” At this point she mentioned
the TSH test.
At the end of the segment, Oprah flashed a list of common symptoms
to watch for:
Hypothyroidism – low energy, sluggishness, dry and brittle skin,
weight gain, feeling cold in a room where everyone else feels warm.
Hyperthyroidism – feeling “jittery”, attention deficit, hyperactivity,
feel hot when everyone else feels normal.
I’m very happy to see that the word is getting out about thyroid
disorders, but I do have a wish list after watching this segment of
Oprah. My wish list:
1. *I* know that Gail has hyperthyroidism (Graves’), but I wish that
she or Oprah had made that point clear. Gail never mentioned what kind
of thyroid disorder she has, let alone Graves’ Disease.
2. I wish that Oprah had put Graves’ Disease as a subtitle under
hyperthyroidism in her symptoms list. Just like she should’ve put
Hashimoto’s under the hypo list.
3. I wish the symptoms lists would have been more complete. (i.e.,
my eye symptoms were my first symptom!)
4. I wish that Gail hadn’t say “very” three times when referring to
the blood test that (it seems automatically) diagnoses the disorder.
5. I wish Gail had elaborated on her treatment and present health
condition. She sounded “cured” and ready for the next Olympics.
6. I wish Graves’ Disease would’ve been mentioned – even ONCE!
7. I wish the NGDF and other organizations’ addresses and/or phone
numbers would’ve been flashed on the screen.
8. I wish I wasn’t wishing for more…
Feeling cheated somehow, Debby
P.S. Sooooo glad that the BB is up and running again (thanks Jake
and Archie!!). Our vacation coincided with the breakdown, so I
didn’t have to experience any withdrawal symptoms! LOL
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