It only matters what works for you.

Archive for July, 2012

The answer is inside…

It’s another TED day.

Lissa Rankin is an OBGYN. She wore herself out in mainstream medicine. She hated that she’d work with patients and do the tests and look at the results and have to diagnose them as ‘healthy’ when everyone, her included, knew they weren’t.

So she took some time, and joined an integrative practice, and that was better, more time with her patients, more options for treatment, but that still wasn’t quite right because it still uses an allopathic model of the fix coming from outside the body.

So she studied and researched and read and got into the psych literature and put together a lot of pieces, and discovered that

health comes from within.

Treatment from outside can help, and sometimes you need outside help. But what will really make you healthy in the long term is a healthy, balanced life. Healthy love, healthy finances, healthy relationships, physical activity that is a positive experience. All those things coming together, that is what makes a real, healthy body.

There are always exceptions. Some bodies just don’t work right and that’s just the luck of the draw.

But if your health symptoms are vague and never ending? It might be time to look at the rest of your life to see what else you have going on that leads your body to send up warning flares.

It’s a very good talk. Let me know what you think.

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Now who do we trust?

Last week a friend who shares some of my medical issues sent me this upsetting article, which is a blog about this even more upsetting article.

The original article is by Marcia Angell. The gist of the article is this:

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

The article cites example after example of prominent medical professionals who are in bed with big Pharma and did not disclose their ties when they vetted the studies. She explains that medical schools are reliant on research grants from big pharma.

Because drug companies insist as a condition of providing funding that they be intimately involved in all aspects of the research they sponsor, they can easily introduce bias in order to make their drugs look better and safer than they are.

She really explains at great length, as an insider, why we can’t be trusting any of the research that is coming out of well respected institutions that we consider reliable sources of information.

Most everyone  that can make a difference is bought.

I do a lot of my own research and there are a lot of really bad sources out there. I, and others like me, have always considered those things printed in the NEJM to be reliable and the best possible primary sources.

What, exactly, are we supposed to do to insure our health and well being if the doctors we have access to are being lied to by those we have put in positions of trust and authority?

I am very confident that the doctor I saw last week would absolutely like to help me in every way possible. But what can she do if the information she relies on to make decisions is already wrong?

And while we’re talking conspiracy theories, that’s quite a statement she made. Why hasn’t some muckraking journalist jumped on it and build a huge story around it?

Anyone?

The silence is deafening, isn’t it?

 

 

Another day, another doctor.

Back in March I interviewed a doctor and was delighted to find one who wasn’t going to obstruct me. And I thought that was pretty darn good.

Then I realized just last week what a sorry opinion I have of the medical system and decided I deserve better.

Today I met with a new doctor and I like her.

We agreed that she is hampered by the guidelines set externally regarding tests and dosages and the labs she is allowed to use. She was polite and respectful and actually asked me what I’d like to do and paid attention to what I said. I think she will be fine for a primary care doc.

She has referred me to an endocrinologist. Undoubtedly the specialist I should be seeing for hormonal issues related to thyroid and adrenal glands.

I guess I’ll see how it goes. I’m sure I need a specialist. I’m just my usual amount of suspicious. My negative opinion of the medical machine has been very weighted by negative experiences with ‘specialists’. But my new doctor hesitantly suggested that this one seemed…open to unusual ideas. Her words, not mine.

So perhaps it will work out. I suppose I’ll set an appointment.

 

A disturbing vote of no confidence.

I hate those days when you suddenly realize you lack trust in a very fundamental piece of your world.

Back in March I posted about having a sudden swelling in my legs. Very, very uncomfortable. I assumed it was caused by my diet and the post-move weight I’d gained. So I went on round 1 of HCG.

Once I finished that round of HCG  the swelling came back, but not quite as bad. I did a bunch of research online. I read things. I asked questions. I talked to people I know on health forums. I got a good idea of a possible cause and took a supplement that would help if I was right but not hurt if I was wrong. I just lived with it.

Then I did round 2 of HCG and finally, finally all the swelling was gone. And it stayed gone for a few weeks. Then it started again. So I did some more research and followed up leads from before and worked out an additional treatment I could manage myself that I hoped would work.

What didn’t I do?

I didn’t go see a doctor.

I didn’t go see a doctor because I automatically assumed that they couldn’t help me.

Because my 40+ years of experience with the American medical system has taught me that:

  • Everything will immediately be blamed on my weight
  • A diet will be the first thing recommended as a solution
  • The tests that might find a problem are unlikely to be ordered
  • If it doesn’t come with a drug solution, I won’t get a helpful answer
  • If it doesn’t look like a common problem, I won’t even get helpful questions

Those are all the assumptions I realized I have been working under. Now that I’ve realized them, I also realize that they may not be true, and they certainly aren’t true for all doctors. I know I have options and can look for a doctor who can work outside the box which is where my entire medical history resides. I even have someone in mind to call for an appointment.

But the real point I want to convey is

I never even considered going to see a doctor about the problem.

It never even once crossed my mind.

I don’t think I can even tell you how much it upsets me to realize that my experiences with the medical system have conditioned me to believe unquestioningly that there is no point in even asking, I will not get the help I need.

Do doctors have friends?

They must, I’m certain. Even my seLf-professed curmudgeon of a naturopath in Colorado had a perfectly lovely fiance who I knew professionally. They had a real life that would pass for normal. So he almost certainly had friends. Doctors are people too, right?

So how is it that the western medical profession as a generalized whole is not becoming more aware of the prevalence of food issues? Do they think we’re lying? Confused? Undereducated? I wish I knew so we rabble-rousers knew which direction to point our putative rabble in.

Today I went to a lovely networking lunch to promote my day job. I had a great time meeting fun and interesting people. After the ‘official’ parts were over I stayed to chat with a few people and, as it so very often does when I’m present, the topic of food allergies came up. Funny that, I know. The woman across from me has been gluten free (more or less) for just a few months after being diagnosed by her chiropractor. I was also diagnosed by my chiropractor, but that’s a story for a different post. The woman next to me told a story of a personal friend who had nearly died of a stroke caused by the cumulative side effects of undiagnosed celiac. Another woman joined our conversation when she heard ‘celiac’ because her mother has it and she herself was ‘in denial’.

Four random ladies in Virginia who gathered for completely unrelated reasons all have a personal story about celiac. That came up in more or less random conversation.

And that was the second allergy conversation I had at that luncheon. The first one popped up because two of us had to be sure that our meals had been prepared gluten free. Two of us at a table of five.

I grant that I may notice that this comes up more often around me because I care, so I notice when the topic comes up. Turns out that the conversation also comes up in my husband’s male dominated IT oriented work place. How do you provide a treat for clients when one of their staff has a food intolerance? One of his co workers shares my primary allergies, soy, gluten, and dairy, so he hooked us up so I could tell her about dairy free ice cream.

My point here is, these conversations are happening all the time.

Why aren’t MDs hearing them?

Why aren’t MDs LISTENING?

Too hot?

One of the classic signs of a thyroid problem is to be cold all the time.

What is much less known is that the ability to properly regulate your temperature in either direction is actually the sign. Not just cold.

My whole life I have always been hot. I like cold weather. I like the a/c down to levels that are seriously damaging to my electric bill.

Worse than that, the heat used to leave me utterly limp. Just walking outside into a hot day could take me from energetic and full of plans to completely unable to function in just a few minutes. I could barely move and I definitely couldn’t think.

I assumed back then that it was just my weight. Too much insulation. It did get just a little bit better when I lost that first 100 lbs, but it didn’t fix the problem by any stretch.

Because it was always a thyroid problem.

Would you believe that my ENTIRE adult life, for as long as I’ve been old enough to pay attention in fact, my normal, healthy body temperature was 97?

And the doctors told me that was fine.

Let’s think about this for just a second. 98.6-97 is 1.6. If, instead of low my temperature was high at 100.2, it would have clearly put me in the ‘sick’ column. But too low wasn’t a cause for concern? Why the heck not?

I’m not sure why the current medical doctrine is to under treat thyroid issues. I do know that the obesity epidemic, the horrific numbers of women with depression requiring medication, and high cholesterol are all signs of low thyroid. Yet a middle aged woman can demonstrate all of these issues together and on the basis of one test that doesn’t actually test functional hormone levels of anything but the pituitary, can be left to suffer and be told that she’s just depressed because she is fat and if she ate properly her cholesterol wouldn’t be a problem.

It might sound a little like I take the situation personally.

That would be a good guess. I had all those signs and symptoms plus a laundry list of others and for pretty nearly 20 years all I ever got was that same pointless TSH test which has become the gold standard and yet is pretty darn useless for a great many sufferers.

So I encourage you to take your temperature. If it is consistently lower than 98.6, take your basal body temperature. Get some data. Make a list.

Then  raise a ruckus.

I was 42 before my T3 levels were treated. I had to go outside the regular medical system and pay out of pocket for the tests I really needed.

It was worth it.