It has been two years since I launched Hormones Demystified. When it turned 1-year-old, I was excited and a little shocked that: one, I’d been cranking out lengthy posts roughly every 2 weeks for a full year; and two, reader expressions of gratitude and encouragement far outweighed the outraged voices of those offended by my irreverent writing style. Last year, I felt that reflecting on the blog’s first year of life would be a worthy endeavor, so I penned Hormones Demystified Turns One! I didn’t map out that post prior to writing, so I found its trajectory surprising; the end-product showed me that I accomplished all the goals initially set out in my mission statement. At the risk of appearing self-congratulatory, I thought that was pretty cool – I may have actually dislocated my shoulder patting myself on the back.
As Hormones Demystified approaches the end of its second year, I’d like to look back and see what – if anything – I’ve accomplished since its first blogiversary. Priding myself on being somewhat self-aware, I realize that asking casual readers to celebrate a second blogiversary is akin to inviting your adult friends to your kid’s second birthday. They may have been able to muster some forced enthusiasm for the first one, but by year two, the kid is old news. With that in mind, I’m going to stick to the major highlights, hopefully making this a short and painless read. For those who are still interested in a peek behind the curtain, please enjoy Hormones Demystified: Two-Year Update.
I’d like to begin where I left off at the end of my one-year update. At that time, I noted that I probably should have included a sixth goal in my original mission statement: connect more with kindred spirits/bloggers. I thought this would be important – not only for networking purposes to expand my reach – but because one leg of the “happiness” stool is strong relationships. As blogging is a mostly solitary activity, and I tend to prefer long stretches of quiet time in the wilderness to being surrounded by people, I’m quite selective about those with whom I associate. I can be “on” for short intervals, but then I require hours of alone time to recharge my social battery. That’s not exactly conducive to building bridges, is it?
With that in mind, the accomplishment – if I can call it that – about which I am happiest is connecting with M, the anonymous blogger behind Reflections of a Millennial Doctor. After binge-reading her burnout chronicle, I felt like I’d found a kindred spirit. But it was her dark humor that convinced me we should be besties. Like a mentally ill celebrity-stalker, I graduated from commenting on her blog to reaching out via email and suggesting we meet IRL (I had a rough idea of where she lives, and I happened to already have a trip planned to that region). After adequately reassuring herself that I was not likely to be dangerous, she agreed to meet, and thus our unlikely friendship was born. M and I “get” each other in a way that has allowed us to hop over all the circles of acquaintance and land squarely in the deep-connection bullseye.
So, although I couldn’t summon the effort this year to really “network” in the traditional sense, I’ll take quality over quantity any day. I feel like I’ve made a friend for life, which is simply awesome. M even called me a life coach at one point, which is both flattering to me and horrifying for her, at the same time. Of course, millennials are notoriously flaky, fickle, and capricious, so next year I may be telling you that M won’t return my calls anymore. 😉
Expanding Blog Reach
Along the lines of achieving greater reach for Hormones Demystified, a few intriguing opportunities have presented themselves. This tickles me, since I’ve been too consumed by other aspects of life and work to go about beating the bushes. I’ve declined most offers that have come my way, for various reasons. The bottom line for me is, if it’s not a “hell yes!” it’s a “no.” Out of respect to the folks to whom I’ve said no, I won’t go into detail about what I’ve declined. However, I will say that a major online medical resource reached out and asked me to create content for them. Although we could not come to a mutually acceptable agreement, I’d like to knock on that door again in the future to see if we can make it work.
I’ve also said no to every speaking engagement I’ve been offered, save one. I was asked to speak to an audience of physicians at the national level. My immediate reaction to the invitation was, “Hell yeah, I want to do that!” Then I proceeded to obsess over all the positives and negatives, polled my confidants, and then obsessed some more before agreeing to do it. I am an educator at my core, and I especially love teaching fellow doctors. So, I will be talking to a (hopefully large) group of physicians about how to approach patients who have one foot in the world of alternative medicine. What will be unique about my presentation – compared to others I’ve seen in this genre – is that I have access to a virtual treasure trove of insightful, poignant, and sometimes heartbreaking comments left by readers of this site. What better way to help my fellow docs empathize with our patients than to help them understand why people have sought care outside of mainstream medicine? To that end, I will share anonymized reader comments with the audience, which I expect will have a powerful impact. If I’m wrong, I’ll let you know next year. Regardless of how my talk goes, I’d like to thank my readers for generously sharing your experiences with me – I’ve learned a lot from you.
Favorite Content of the Year
I am still ridiculously proud of Everything You Never Needed to Know About Reverse T3. The construction of this post took me down so many rabbit holes that I wasn’t sure the finished piece would ever be coherent. The end result was a thorough debunking of everything I’ve ever seen alt med claim about the utility of rT3 testing. To the best of my knowledge, there is nothing like this post in the medical literature or elsewhere.
I also love You Can’t Eat for Your Thyroid. I had a lot of fun diving into the science behind how food can(not) affect the thyroid. Given the ubiquity of “eat this, not that” splattered across the internet, it felt great to call BS on all that nonsense…then prove it with science.
I had a love-hate relationship with my menopause trilogy (links below). It was painful to write, as my medical book knowledge in this arena outweighs my clinical experience. But, I suppose it’s good to put oneself in uncomfortable situations every now and then, as it forces one to hone a different skill set. Fortunately, I have an old friend who also happens to be an incredible OB/GYN, so I leaned on her heavily for fact-checking. The final posts did a great job debunking some of the absurd things alt med does in this realm; I hope they are a useful addition to the blogosphere:
- Why You Shouldn’t Care About Estrogen Dominance
- Are Bioidentical Hormones Safe?
- Salivary Testing for Bioidentical HRT: A Great Way to Waste Your Money
Of course, I would be remiss in not mentioning my three favorite posts about my favorite topic: Alternative Medicine. If you haven’t seen it already, check out Alternative Medicine is Kicking Our Ass. That post laid the groundwork for my next fave, Mainstream Medicine Needs to Play Offense, which was also published over at KevinMD. The third post sprung from a reader’s email, leading to my advice in Your Loved One is Alternative Medicine-Obsessed: Now What? I particularly liked this one because some of my advice applies to any disagreement between loved ones – now all I need to do is reread it every time I’m having an argument with my spouse.
Other standout posts from the last year include:
- Sexism and the Thyroid
- Life Lessons Learned at ENDO 2018
- How to Kill a Medical Practice
- Doing the Impossible: Fixing Healthcare
- Time-Restricted Feeding for the Pseudo-Athlete
- Should You Hate Your Doctor?
Where is Hormones Demystified Going?
At my day job, I have periodic performance reviews. My supervisors always ask, “What are your goals?” I despise that question. It’s not that I don’t think having goals is worthy – clearly it is – but in some circumstances, I think it’s acceptable to simply do great work until something fires you up. Then, shift gears and go after whatever lights that fire.
That said – at this very moment – I can’t rightly say what my goals are for the next year of Hormones Demystified, other than what I’ve already put forth in my mission statement. I do have some semi-formed, pie-in-the-sky ideas for where I’d like to take this enterprise. Because my brain still resides somewhere between pre-contemplative and contemplative on the action scale, I’m not yet ready to share these ideas. My primary focus right now is on continuing to refine my sustainable balance among work, play, family, self-improvement, and the blog.
Rest assured, I will strive to create content that educates and entertains, and I will continue to confront quackery. One thing I’ve learned over the last two years: there is no “defeating” bad medicine. The allure of quackery will always be powerful – too powerful to ever be completely suppressed by a simple presentation of sensible science. There are plenty of solid medical sites out there that offer evidence-based information. But, when smart people have trouble separating the wheat from the chaff, they will also need a reliable source that debunks the copious nonsense on the web.
I hope to be that source. Thanks for reading.
By reading this site and interacting with me in the Comments, you agree to abide by my Disclaimer.