Do What You Can as You Are Able
Amy Rios March 8, 2019
Faced with a challenging diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease, Lyndsay found the infusion care she needed at Wasatch Infusion and learned how to be her own strongest advocate in the process.
Lyndsay Johnson has a talent for making things beautiful.
After nearly a decade of battling a variety of health issues that culminated in a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s disease, a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks the thyroid, Lyndsay has found some balance between family and her need for creative expression. A mom of three, Lyndsay is also a freelance graphic designer and a beauty consultant for Younique, where she can virtually impact and inspire other women with makeup looks and tutorials.
“Because of my autoimmune issues, I sometimes have a really hard time feeling like a normal person. [Younique] helps make me feel beautiful and confident and enables me to socialize online when I otherwise can’t due to my health,” explained Lyndsay. “It helps me feel like I am doing something for me as well as helping other women.”
Nine years ago, Lyndsay started experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) symptoms that resulted in a diagnosis of Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth (SIBO). For years her focus was managing the GI symptoms, and because SIBO typically prevents the proper absorption of vitamins and iron, Lyndsay had her first experience with vitamin infusions.
A few years later, Lyndsay’s symptoms worsened and eventually lead to the Hashimoto’s diagnosis. Due to her alarmingly low ferritin levels, a blood cell protein that contains iron, Lyndsay’s physician instructed her to start a specific iron infusion, Venofer, to raise her ferritin. After a month of receiving the iron infusions at the hospital, Lyndsay sought more cost-effective care and found Wasatch Infusion in Utah.
Wasatch Infusion is a growing medical practice that serves infusion patients across western Utah and eastern Nevada regions with low-cost infusion services in a safe and comfortable environment.
“Wasatch is truly the day spa of infusion centers,” gushed Lyndsay. “I have very tricky veins, and it usually takes techs at other places just as long to find my vein as the actual infusion, which can be really stressful.”
“Our ‘One Poke Philosophy’ means that our highly skilled medical professionals use the latest technologies, tools, and techniques to ensure that the patient experience is as painless and comfortable as possible,” explained Charlie Schadewald, president and CEO of Wasatch Infusion. “We combine this professionalism with spa-like perks in an environment that is better than home. We strongly believe that when a patient looks forward to coming in for their appointment, they are more compliant with their doctors’ orders and medication regimen, which results in better and faster healing.”
Since November, Lyndsay receives Venofer infusions at Wasatch once a week for a certain period depending on her ferritin levels, with as many as four infusions per month.
“The people at Wasatch know me and make me feel normal,” explained Lyndsay. “Being able to have a private room, with comfortable recliners and having my vein found immediately really makes a difference…Every time after my infusion the receptionist gives me a Coke with a koozie as I’m leaving so I don’t have to carry it in the cold…They have such a great bedside manner.”
While Lyndsay has finally found the infusion care she needs at Wasatch, she is no stranger to having to advocate for her care.
“What actually catalyzed my decision to go to Wasatch Infusion was having a healthcare provider refuse to give me an iron infusion in the hospital even though I had critically low iron levels,” recalled Lyndsay. “As someone who has an autoimmune disease, especially a woman who has an autoimmune disease, it can be tricky to find someone who will take you seriously.”
Many autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s fall under the umbrella term of “invisible illness,” or a medical condition that isn’t immediately apparent, or even recognized, by others. While increased understanding and knowledge has brought awareness to these illnesses, patients like Lyndsay must often be persistent to receive the treatment they need.
“I’ve had experiences where I’m sitting in doctors’ offices with makeup on, dressed nicely and appear to be fully functional but have to keep telling them that something is wrong,” Lyndsay said. “You just have to be persistent and insist that your symptoms be taken seriously.”
For other patients trying to balance the fatigue that often accompanies chronic illnesses with the increased amount of work it takes to manage their care, Lyndsay’s advice is short and profound: “Do what you can as you are able.”
“There will be days that you have energy and feel ‘normal.’ On these days, make your doctors’ appointments and call your health insurer if you need to,” advised Lyndsay. “Most importantly, rest when you are tired because that is your body telling you to rest.”
As Lyndsay continues to depend on consistent iron infusions at Wasatch to manage her disease, she also depends upon the members of her care team and family to advocate for her health and encourages other patients to do the same.
“Make sure you have a support system in your home, doctor’s office, online, in your neighborhood, and everywhere you can…Keep seeking help until you find the people who will also advocate for you.”
Learn more about NICA at infusioncenter.org