MP Diane Finley presents Canadian Thyroid Patients’ petition

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TEXT TRANSCRIPT

“On Monday, I was pleased to be the first MP to table petitions on behalf of Canadians in the new House of Commons Chamber.

The first petition called on the government to abandon its job-killing Carbon Tax.

The second petition was on behalf of Canadians who suffer from thyroid disease and need to take specific medication to regulate their thyroid. They called on the government to ensure equitable access to ALL thyroid drugs approved by Health Canada, and for doctors to be educated on various other treatments that exist to help thyroid patients.”

LINK TO VIDEO

For Facebook users, the Video is on Diane Finley’s Facebook page here https://www.facebook.com/DianeFinleyHN/videos/1673796376098916/

The video may soon be available on Diane Finley’s public website at http://www.dianefinley.ca/ — look for a new post on her news feed or search her website for “thyroid”

THANK YOU, HON. DIANE FINLEY!

We sincerely appreciate having our concerns brought to parliament.

Thank you for being our face and voice as you eloquently expressed some very important points in our petition.

You identify yourself openly as one of us, and we are honoured by that.

Thank you for all the work you and your office has done to support our petition behind the scenes.

A CLARIFICATION

A little confusion might result from Hon. Diane Finley’s wording when she says “medication to regulate their thyroid.”

We understand and sympathize with Diane Finley’s perspective as a Graves’ Disease patient. She has personally experienced having to take meds that limit thyroidal secretion of hormones and limit conversion of T4 to T3.

A large number of Graves’ patients will eventually become hypothyroid either during this therapy or after thyroid ablation by radioactive iodine or thyroidectomy. These thyroid patients will then require meds to replace or supplement their thyroid, no longer just to regulate a thyroid’s secretion.

Thyroid patients suffer hypothyroidism from a variety of causes:

  • Autoimmune thyroid gland destruction (antibody attack in Hashimoto’s, Atrophic Thyroiditis, and the outcomes of antibody attack in Graves’ disease), and
  • Partial or full thyroid gland removal, either due to thyroid cancer or due to thyroid growths and nodules.

We usually require thyroid hormone replacement for the rest of our lives.

The text of our petition, therefore, focuses on access to medications containing thyroid hormones, as well as full thyroid hormone testing (Free T3 and Free T4, not just TSH), and better education of doctors to understand these tests and treatments.

We know the treatment of Graves’ disease needs a lot of improvement too, as it can be poorly managed by non-experts, and patients often do not get fully informed of the long-term implications before a thyroidectomy or RAI therapy. However, there are endocrinologists equipped to handle hyperthyroidism. Meds to manage autoimmune hyperthyroidism are not experiencing shortages (that we are aware of). No major prejudices and biases (that we are aware of) prevent a full range of useful anti-thyroid medications from being prescribed.

In contrast, the powerful dogmas limiting hypothyroid therapy prevent most endocrinologists, not just doctors, from helping us.

Too often our therapy is downgraded to those who do not have knowledge of the recent research on hypothyroid therapy. Their education is limited, their hands are often tied by restrictive flowcharts and guidelines from the American Thyroid Association and provincial health care, and their perspectives are usually limited to TSH tests and T4 meds.

ONWARD AND UPWARD

We look forward to hearing what the government’s response will be.  We’ll post again once we receive word on this.

The petition is an important part of our campaign, but it’s not the only part. Even if the response is fully favorable, things will not change in a day, and it will be difficult to see changes even within a year, since we’re dealing with strong, institutionalized beliefs.

Each of us as citizens and patients can continue to learn.

We can share campaign posts and educational materials with doctors, family, and friends.

We need to get the word out about:

  • Our suffering as patients when we are symptomatic. We are too often dismissed and denied proper therapy adjustments due to TSH test results alone.
  • How to diagnose chronic hypothyroidism during therapy with full testing including Free T3, and
  • The importance of maintaining equitable market access to the full range of thyroid hormone medications.

 

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