VA NY Harbor Healthcare System
When A Doctor Listens
Among the patients Dr. Guber treats, thyroid disease is also a frequent problem, including over and under activity of hormone production, as well as benign nodules and thyroid cancer. Talking about thyroid disease, Dr. Guber explains that diagnosing and treating hypothyroidism is truly a complex art, especially in patients who become hypothyroid after being treated for hyperthyroidism.
Despite that treatment, she still felt fatigue and joint pains, gained 60 lbs. and developed double vision with bulging eyes. Gittens says she’s lucky to have been transferred to Ft. Drum, NY after several months. “The doctors in Syracuse did a brain scan and found compressed optic nerves. They operated immediately and saved my eyesight although I still had double vision and was legally blind till this July, 2016 when I got strabismus surgery.”
Even with this treatment, Gittens continues to feel low energy although “I always push myself, after all I was a drill sergeant,” she says. Gittens walks two to three miles daily and although she’s lost 15 lbs. she still does not feel back to the "normal self” she recalls from four years ago.
Dr. Guber says “I make the patient a partner in their care and give them choices. It is important to listen to the patient’s concerns and tailor the treatment to every individual. I suggested to Ms. Gittens that perhaps she didn’t remember exactly how she felt four or five years prior to being diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, and that, that abnormal subtle hyperthyroid state had become her “new normal.”’
However, Gittens was sure about knowing her own body and was grateful that Dr. Guber respected her input. Now, waiting for the test of time, Dr. Guber has forged a trusting doctor - patient relationship with significant and adjusted medication in the way that her patient believes will help her cope better with daily life.
“It is important to note,” said Dr. Guber, “that I would not make any changes to treatment if I thought it posed a risk to the patient, regardless of how fervent the patient’s request.”