Ordering Laboratory Tests On Your Own – No Doctor Required

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In my last post I mentioned that I had some lab work done. I'm fortunate to live in one of the states in the US that allows me to order my own tests. I ordered from Direct Labs and they include this at the bottom of their site: “Services not available in MA, MD, ND, SD, and VT. To place an order in NJ, NY or RI, visit DirectLabs.com/ACCESS”.

One of my health issues is that my thyroid is not functioning properly. I have known this for years and I first discovered it when I took my basal temperature each morning for fertility awareness. It is normal for our temperature to fluctuate during the day, and common for it to be lower in the morning, but not as low as mine was. Looking back on my charts, the lowest was 96.1°F! I have several months where I calculated my waking temps average over the entire month which ranged from a low of 97.0°F to a “high” of 97.3°F.

In studying Stop the Thyroid Madness: a Patient Revolution Against Decades of Inferior Treatment I learned taking one's temperature three times a day for an average is the best way to assess thyroid function. You take your temperature at the same time each day, at least three hours after waking, and then 6 hours and 9 hours. As an example, I took my temperature at noon, 3pm and 6pm. For many months I charted my temperature three times a day (even while at work) and rarely did I have an average of 98.6°F.

I read in Dr. Hal Huggins' book It's All in Your Head: The Link Between Mercury Amalgams and Illness that some people have found their body temperature returns to normal after having amalgams removed, and I think it can take several months for the mercury to completely leave one's body (six months?). So it will be interesting to see what happens in the coming months after all the mercury is removed.

I also have the “Reverse T3 problem” and have for quite some time been contemplating the T3 Only Protocol to lower my reverse T3 levels. I thought I would kill two birds with one stone – get the necessary lab work done before the amalgams were gone so that I can retest later this year, and maybe if I'm still good to go, start the T3 Only Protocol.

My husband tells me if things keep going the way they are headed, it may not be an option for us to pursue the health care that we want. I don't like to think about it too much because it is stressful, but apparently if the “Affordable Care Act” (aka Obamacare) continues on like our president wishes, we will lose our ability to pick and choose our health care providers. But that is another blog post.

That is another reason why I'm trying to push myself to make decisions in my health care, sooner than later. I feel I am doing *something* because I am avoiding many foods that cause problems, but there is more that I could implement. The “cherries on the cake” as Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride refers to them.

But to get back to my topic – there are several laboratories online where you can order your own tests. I have known about this for quite some time, but until last month I had never tried it.

I last had blood work done in January 2012. I was ready to try the T3 Only Protocol but my naturopathic physician talked me out of it – instead he wanted me to try his “super” Vitamin B protocol which ended up nearly becoming a disaster if not for my friend Patty from Loving Our Guts alerting me to the fact that the Vitamin B which he had sold me was the wrong kind for a person with the MTHFR genetic mutation.

I lost steam after that and buried my head in the sand (except for continuing to eat full GAPS). But I know in order to start on T3 only, the people at Stop the Thyroid Madness have found that your adrenals have to be supported and your iron levels must be good, otherwise you will not be able to tolerate the T3. Also I was curious to know my Reverse T3 ratio so I needed at minimum Reverse T3 and Free T3.

The laboratory I used was Direct Labs. It just so happened  they were running a special in January for their Complete Thyroid Panel. This test normally runs $189 but was on sale for $139. It includes the following:

  • Reverse T3
  • Free T3
  • Free T4
  • TSH
  • Total T3
  • T7
  • Total T4
  • T-3 Uptake

According to the Stop the Thyroid Madness site, only the first three have value when assessing thyroid function. STTM says this about the TSH (which is what many doctors test you for when they are looking at thyroid problems), “ TSH: for diagnosis of hypopituitary, NOT to diagnose or dose your hypothyroidism. If you allow a doctor to diagnose or dose you by this lab test and range, you’ll still be hypothyroid.”

I also ordered the Iron Panel, which is $69. This includes Ferritin, % Saturation, TIBC and serum iron (sometimes it will say Iron, or total iron). Ferritin is our storage iron and a high number can indicate inflammation (mine has historically been sky high – like more than twice as high as a large man should have).

I paid for my tests and received a confirmation email at 10:07am.

At 10:40am, I received a notification email that my requisition was ready. Wow! Fast!

Any other time I've wanted to have blood work done it has taken literally weeks. First you have to call the doctor's office and schedule an appointment. Then you go to the doctor and for me it has always been an extremely stressful situation because the doctor may or may not be willing to order the tests I want. I remember years ago going to a doctor and asking for a full thyroid panel test to be done and when I explained why, she ended up making fun of me saying in a sing song voice, “Someone's been on the Internet too much.” So insulting. I have not been to a traditional doctor since that one.

You do have to use Lab Corp. I had my blood drawn on Tuesday morning, February 26th and by Friday afternoon, March 1st (just three days later!!) I had my results.

Now what usually happens? You go in and have your blood drawn, and then you finally hear back from your doctor's staff that your test results are back and you schedule an appointment so that you can go sit with the doctor who can interpret your blood tests.

Well, unfortunately most doctors are not too good at interpreting the results, at least they are not looking at the results in the same way as I am – which is according to the Stop the Thyroid Madness theory.

This post is getting long, so I will share in another my test results.

But one more thing – did you know that you can even do your own blood draw yourself? When I was having tests done more regularly in 2011, the lady who always drew my blood was very friendly and I had mentioned how scared my son Matthew is when it comes to needles. She asked me if I thought he would let me draw his blood. I had never thought about that, and I did used to draw our goat's blood. Now granted it is different, but I think Matthew might be more likely to allow me or his father to draw blood than a stranger. She told me that Lab Corp will provide everything needed for the blood draw. You just bring in the requisition and they will put together a little packet with blood vials needed, gloves, needles, alcohol swabs, even a tourniquet. She says they do it all the time for people who have someone travel to their home to take their blood.

And in fact, I found this to be true as I also ordered blood tests for my mother when I ordered my own blood tests, and when I went in to have my blood drawn I presented my mother's requisition and the lady (a different lady than the one from 2011) gathered up everything I needed and gave it to me in a little plastic bag.

Did you know you can order your own tests? Do you think you would ever draw your own blood or have someone draw it for you other than the laboratory?



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