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Need an Endocrinologist Who Takes AHCCCS, Mercy Care

By June 19, 2009 - 9:07am
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I was diagnosed with hypthothyroidism in October 2008 by my GP. She prescribed 25 mcg of levothyroxine and did bloodwork two months later in December 2008. She did not change my dose then. Recently, however, I had an additional thyroid panel done because of an increase in symptoms. In May, for example, I had a heavy period for three weeks. Shortly thereafter, I had an additional heavy period for a week. I have also been sleeping about 10-12 hours per day, have gained a lot of weight, have gotten a puffy face, have lost hair, have incredibly dry skin, have water retention problems, and have developed other symptoms like short term memory loss. A week ago a full thyroid panel produced the following results: T3 82, T4 .91, and TSH 10.13. A staffer from the doctor's office left a voice mail when the results of this bloodwork came back in which she noted that I should call the doctor's office with a pharmacy number so the doctor could call in a higher dose of levothyroxine. The staffer further noted that I should come back in eight weeks for more bloodwork. I have decided that it is time to get a referral to a good endocrinologist, and need one who takes AHCCCS. I would appreciate doctors' names and any other suggestions.

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February 27, 2011 - 10:53pm
Expert HERWriter Guide Blogger

Anon - It can be very difficult, and frustrating, to get medical support for a multi-symptom situation when most doctors today specialize in specific areas. There are some things you can do to advocate for yourself and gain support.

One is to do research to understand your own conditions better. Raynaud's phenomenon, for example, has been seen with a number of conditions, including rheumatic diseases (scleroderma, rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus), hormone imbalance (hypothyroidism and carcinoid), trauma (frostbite, vibrating tools), medications (propranolol [Inderal], estrogens without additional progesterone, bleomycin [Bleoxane] used in cancer treatment, and ergotamine used for headaches), nicotine, and even rarely with cancers. You can find more information here: http://www.medicinenet.com/raynauds_phenomenon/article.htm

Second, whether we like it or not, the time we get with doctors is limited. Having a concise, easy to read and understand list of symptoms, perhaps even including a timeline, can help the physician deal with the patient's condition as a whole more easily.

Also, it may take several appointments to go through the entire list. It may also take going to several doctors, and may take quite a bit of time.
It takes a lot of work to advocate for yourself, but in the long run it's worth it.

Good luck to you.

January 27, 2011 - 12:31pm
EmpowHER Guest

I am so frustrated about all this endocrine stuff. I have been begging my doctors to help me for at least 7 years now and it starting to make me feel like it is all in my head cuz they dismiss me when the numbers in my tests don't say what my symptoms are. At first I saw who I thought was a good Endo named Dr. Mishra. I had gone from 120lbs to 165lbs in a matter of months and nothing I did like eat healthy, exercise every day was helping. I kept gaining weight. She did a Glucose fasting test on me and said my insulin was spiking really high and diagnosed me Insulin Resistant and hypoglycemic. I changed my ways of eating and started on Metformin and lost my weight. Over the years I was diagnosed with PCOS which explained some of my other symptoms like the cystic acne on my face and back and the black hairs I was getting on my stomach and face. But that's when the doctors stopped listening and started explaining every other symptom to those illnesses and nothing was getting any better. It started to get worse. Now I am experiencing; hair loss on my head (receeding hair line big time) and eyebrows (the ends of my eyebrows are almost gone), my white blood count is ALWAYS on the high side with every blood test yet they dismiss it, my body temperature is all over the place...like my hands are burning up hot for no reason or they are freezing for no reason...apparently I have something called Reynaud’s Phenomenon, of course I have painful cystic acne, I am EXTREMELY tired all the time I can't even explain how bad it is... it's like total mental fatigue and like I am in a fog and can't remember stuff at all anymore, my body aches and hurts all the time and I feel so weak, I started getting tendinitis in my right elbow and I am left handed how does that happen?, I swell and retain so much water in my hands and body I have to take a diuretic (dyazide) to keep it from getting out of control or worse, my weight keeps increasing and then I fight to get it down even a little ( I eat very healthy), I have bad episodes with constipation (saw a GI specialist who did a colonoscopy and said there is nothing wrong with my bowls), every time I stand my blood pressure drops so low I feel like I am going to pass out and everything gets all tingly, I have really bad vertigo, I have been dealing with anxiety and depression for so many years now (seeing a therapist) I am all over the place with emotions it feels like a roller coaster, I can never get a full breath and always feel like I am gasping for air like someone is sitting on my chest (my PCP has tried every asthma med and nothing helps at all). I tried seeing a Dr Nagul and he just blows me off and says since my test results show nothing extreme I'm ok. He tested my thyroid but said it was ok. I wonder though cuz my mom had about 90% of hers taken out when she was younger (and has problems now but won't go to a doctor) and a lot of the women in my family have thyroid issues. But my tests all say my levels are fine. I have been looking for a new Endo, someone who will listen to my symptoms and not just look at the numbers. I know something is wrong with my body but no one will help me and I can't take much more. Recently I got bronchitis (never had before) and my PCP but me on Prednisone (never had before) and within days my face was completely clear, my hair stopped falling out, my eyebrows started growing in, my body didn't hurt, I felt great even though I was tired from being sick I didn't have the mental fog and felt like the old me. I hadn't felt that great in over 7 years. I don't understand why that medicine helped me so much but even the side effects of gaining weight and sweating were worth feeling that normal again. Does anyone have any answers for me or maybe can help me in the right direction please! I am thinking of trying to see that doctor Joan Bailey but after reading these posts I am not sure how much luck I will have getting in to see her. I am desperate and need answers but I can't seem to get anyone to help me or will listen to what I am saying about how I am feeling and my symptoms....not the doctors at least.

January 27, 2011 - 2:41am
EmpowHER Guest

Dr. Sydney Westphal is my endo she is in Scottsdale,Az. I am on Mercy Care and see her. She is at 602-515-6296. Good Luck. God Bless.

December 8, 2010 - 8:18am


Ack. I see what you're dealing with. Multi-layered and complicated. You understand the layers and complications and just want to maneuver through them and get on with your life. It must give you an even higher sense of frustration to be on this end of it when you understand so well the legal end of it.

Keep up the good fight (even though I know it's so tiring right now). I hope this gets resolved soon so that you can enjoy your job and concentrate on it and your health. The stress of it cannot be helpful.

October 12, 2009 - 9:16am

The ADA letter has been a fight. They will not even tell me if they want the doctor to use their form.

I have asked repeatedly about that.

They have gone on what HR and lawyers call "fishing expeditions" to try to get information. Guess what they did at the training? They got someone who works there to come out at lunch and announce, as if this were training related content, that she got Xanax for her husband because he hates to fly when he took a business trip with a bunch of rowdy college kids to Mexico recently.

That one was so obviously a fishing expedition, designed to elicit information that they are not allowed to ask about, that I almost choked on my sandwich.

I told my counselor, a former HR professional about that, and we had a good laugh. She said, "Yep. They sure enough are on a fishing expedition."

Also, when I requested an eight hour day during training and asked them if I had been told before training that there would be any ten hour days, guess what happened?

Rather than deal with this narrowly, which is what they should have done to avoid potential liability, they opened themselves up to liability under the Americans With Disabilities Act, the FMHLA, and, signally, Title VII. The former civil rights lawyer in me (I clerked for the NAACP LDF in law school) just listened and heard "ccch ching," as in, oh, make my day. Are you really so stupid to be asking me these things?

A woman who is a supervisor in a substantive position and who also claims to wear a HR hat, and whom HR says wears a HR hat, took me aside and asked me if it were the right job for me, given questions I had asked about a few things. Those few things, ladies, are what would open the door for what is called pretext under the above-named laws. Good lawyers get people like this to shut their traps. Not to keep putting their feet in them.

This place is in the Midwest. I have seen this before. It is really comical given Obama's push for health care reforn, for example, but everybody and her brother knows that the U of Chicago at one time, and maybe still, was a walking ADA lawsuit, a class action, even, waiting to be had. Oh, the stories I could tell.

The place did not even have a valid ADA compliance policy on its face. That is right. When the ADA came out, the U of Chicago had a facially invalid plan, not just a plan for compliance that was invalid as applied. It was a hoot coming from the West Coast and seeing this. I had known the lawyer President Clinton tapped to be his point man on the ADA in law school. The guy taught as an adjunct at my law school in California. California was just so ahead.

So I am not surprised that this place in the Midwest is situated in the dark ages of the law. Still, it holds itself out as a very important standard bearer for affirmative action, even putting its policy before the Supreme Court when needed. And it does have a politically hot potato appointment in the Obama administration. Where I am working, that is. So if this blew up, it would really blow up. And probably all of the crap that a lot of us know about the U of Chicago would come up.

All of that would be very interesting, but I just want the letter and to get on with my life. The former civil rights lawyer in me would love to take them to town, but I am not practicing law now and just want to get on with the show.

October 11, 2009 - 4:00am


First, let me thank you for continuing to update us on your journey. It is very interesting to learn about the things you have experienced recently, especially with Friedman's protocol and your gp. I think it's frank and honest of you to come back and say hmmm, I may have misjudged here. That's good for all of us to read, especially because we are all encouraged these days to be our own best advocates and to switch doctors if we don't feel ours is being proactive enough. Your experience lets us know that there is an important middle ground.

You love the job! This is something that many people have never experienced. And loving your job will ultimately contribute in good ways to your health overall. I agree, it's worth working on the hyper symptoms and doing what you need to do to keep the job while you get better. Four months seems like a long time when you are dealing with daily symptoms, but in the big picture, that means you should be feeling a lot better by the first of the year. Does that seem doable?

Do you know what sort of reasonable accommodation would help you in the meantime? Do you believe they will be amenable to that, or will it be a fight?

October 7, 2009 - 8:21am

Am now conflicted about what I post above re: the GP. Have found out from Friedman that the cholesterol will probably go down in two months, as it takes about that amount of time to catch up with the endocrine system.

Also, as my blood levels went to what Friedman called "pefect" in five weeks, guess what happened with my quick adjustment under his care? I have developed hyper-thyroid symptoms.

I saw my GP this week. She had me on what Friedman calls a "homeopathic" dose of thyroid hormone exactly because she has seen people develop hyper thyroid symptoms when they have a quick adjustment like Friedman gave me. She likes Friedman and respects his work, and told me it should take abour four months for things to resolve. Four months? That is a really long time, ladies.

In any case, I should have talked to her as soon as I saw Friedman rather than just assume that she was giving me poor care. Now, after all, I can see that her judgment may have been warranted.

After going through hair loss, dry skin, no sex drive, sleep, sleep, sleep et al. while being symptomatic with hypothyroidism for about a year--at least my blood levels were hypo for a year; it appears that I was hypo with "normal" blood levels for a very long time--a few weeks ago, guess what?

Libido returned with a vengeance. Thank God for my vibrator! Seriously. Thank god and thank more than a few Goddesses for it!

After not having thought about sex for a year, one night I had an absolutely engorged feeling deep in my pelvic area. Lots of pressure. Like what I imagine men must feel when they get an erection. I had about twenty huge orgasms, and I am not exaggerating. Then the pressure moved to my clitoris. And I had more.

Seriously. This made me ask if the whole debate about whether orgasms are vaginal or clitoral is really not a question of the female psyche as a social construct at all. Rather, I was experiencing the difference between vaginal and clitoral orgasms big time owing to the rebirth of my thyroid!

I started to have to take a shower several times a day as I had profuse body odor. Profuse. And last year I had no body odor!

I started to sweat like the dickens and to get heart palpitations and to feel on edge. I became restless and lost sleep.

All of this going in to job training in another part of the country, ladies.

They were not accomodating during the training, either. I let them know that I needed a medical work around, and was told that I had not asked for reasonable accomodation under the Americans With Disabilities Act when I accepted the job.

As a former lawyer, I replied that I had, indeed. When I was offered the job, I noted that my health had been an issue that I had not foreseen when I originally applied last March, but that now that I had received good medical care, everything seemed to be in order.

I am now waiting for HR to come up for air to give me their form for a reasonable accomodation letter.

I love the job. I have had a baptism by fire in it this week and last, but it is a great job.

I just need to get these hyper symptoms under control!

What do you ladies think?

October 6, 2009 - 2:18am

Thank you very much for the resources regarding cholesterol. I think that this has convinced me to find another GP. My GP saw my thyroid numbers not getting better. She heard me complain about my symptoms. She saw me gaining weight quickly. Rather than referring me to a specialist, i.e. an endocrinologist, she suggested sort of the medical equivalent of throwing paint to the wall and seeing what sticks. She did this when she suggested that I manage my irregular menses, or try to, before my hypothyroidism resolved. As I noted previously, had I followed her advice, I may have well masked continued symptoms of hypothyroidism. After all, it is important for me to be able to give Dr. Friedman accurate information about whether my achieving better thyroid panel numbers is being accompanied by a reduction of symptoms such as irregular menses. I could not do that following the GP's advice. Now I find that over the course of receiving improper care, I developed a cholesterol issue. My GP, had she acted appropriately, could have helped me nip this in the bud by helping me to get proper treatment for hypothyroidism. She did not. The bottom line, ladies? Get thee to a specialist! Hypothyroidism can be linked to heart disease. I am just lucky that in my case I am catching things that can be corrected.

September 15, 2009 - 1:13pm

Cheryl, I want to say thank you for updating us with such interesting information. I have followed your journey since you first wrote. I'm so glad that you are on the way to solving your thyroid problems and getting some lasting, multi-faceted management of your symptoms.

You're already doing two of the most important things to help lower your cholesterol -- you're exercising at an increasing pace, and you're watching your intake of animal fats. So pat yourself on the back for those changes!!

Here's the Mayo Clinic's list of the top five foods to lower your cholesterol:


And here's a link to the American Heart Association's Checklists for Lowering Your Cholesterol (they have four lists: eating, taking medication, being more physically active and making lifestyle changes):


And here's a link to a CNN/Health article that reports on supplements that do or don't help lower your cholesterol:


I hope these links help. Am very much looking forward to your next update!

September 15, 2009 - 9:55am
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