Take a Pause and Do the Research

Take a Pause and Do the Research

 

She called my office on a Friday afternoon. And urgently wanted me to call her back that day. She was not a current patient of mine but I called her back anyway because she sounded so scared and so desperate and wanted me to help her. Even my receptionist was concerned. She said she didn’t think she could last through the weekend and wanted to know what she should do. I gave her very basic guidance,   but in my opinion she really needed to be hospitalized or at least go to the Emergency Room and I strongly told her so.

 

I often get very complicated cases in my practice. I am sometimes the next of a succession of practitioners the patient is seeing for their complex problem. Patients are desperately looking for answers and are often in crisis. They want me to fix their problem right there on the spot. This is difficult if not impossible. Now it may be that the patient has been tested out the wazoo with various functional medicine tests and they are now on about 18 (or more!) different supplements. In these cases I usually like to simplify their protocol and “clean out” and try to eliminate many of the supplements because obviously they aren’t working or the patient would be seeing improvements. The fact that they are now bringing me onto their health care team usually means that they aren’t getting better.

 

It is especially difficult for any practitioner when patients come in crisis and want advice right then on how to handle an acute situation. Counter-intuitively that is often when we all need to take a pause and do the research. Otherwise I just feel like I am throwing various supplements and herbs at them without any evidence of efficacy to put out a fire.   And often, if emergency treatment is not needed, the fire is put out by simplifying the protocol. Especially with digestive and autoimmune issues too many herbs in the mix can complicate and exacerbate the situation. When the digestive system is already compromised, adding in very strong herbs to treat a concurrent condition such as Lyme can exacerbate the situation and cause a whole lot of misery.

 

So I often take a break from creating a protocol and giving out supplements and run laboratory tests. I want to know exactly what is causing the symptoms before I treat so that I can treat much more effectively and efficiently, saving patients both time AND money.

 

Why the rush? Many patients by the time they enter my practice are really at the end of their rope. They are desperate. They don’t want to waste any more time or money on something that doesn’t work. While I wish that I was a magician or wizard and could wave my magic wand and make all their symptoms quickly go away, I am not and I can’t. Guesswork has really no place in treating chronic disease. So instead I like to do the research through functional medicine testing. This takes time to do the testing, and second of all get the results and thirdly to interpret the results and create an effective protocol.

I have said before that cookie-cutter medicine is rarely effective. Each patient is unique so even for a disease of the same name, why would 2 different patients need the exact same approach? Sure, there are usually similarities that are measurable through science, but a more nuanced approach for each individual is mostly what patients who seek out my expertise want and need. They want the problem fixed and nobody else has really helped them work through the maze of the illness towards their healing. Many times, especially after taking a massive amount of pharmaceutical drugs, their condition is much worse than it would have been had they just stayed home and done nothing! Pharmaceuticals in the right situations are absolutely lifesaving, but all too often they are ineffective for chronic diseases, which is mainly what I see in my practice. I see patients whose gut flora has been completely decimated from repeated dosages of strong antibiotics. I see patients with fibromyalgia and adrenal exhaustion from chronic stress who are placed on multiple antidepressants, and don’t get me started on pain medications and opioids. The appalling frequency they are prescribed has directly contributed to the heroin scourge affecting many urban and suburban areas.

 

Stress is a major contributor for chronic digestive issues as well as most other chronic diseases. Americans have a much higher level of stress than other developed countries due to relative economic instability and lack of social safety nets. This must also be taken into account when treating the chronically ill. A big part of healing is learning how to develop strength and resilience when it comes to dealing with life stresses. Diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular diseases, Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well as Depression and Mood Disorders all have chronic unremitting stress as a major contributory factor.

 

To unravel and treat their complex illnesses, when there is so much going on at once often takes prioritization and research. How do you deal with the complex digestive issues when their stress levels are chronically high? And which came first? The stress or the digestive problems? They feed into each other and worsen each. Digestive issues make you stressed and stress worsens the digestive issues? What is going to be the lynchpin that breaks the cycle? That is what the research is for. Find what is most pressing and work with that and the idea is that eventually the crisis lessens and real deep life healing can occur.

I don’t think I was able to help the woman who called that day. She cancelled the appointment we had squeezed into my packed schedule because she was “too sick” and again I thought she really needed emergency intervention and hopefully she went that route. Had she come in sooner, and had we had time to do all of the testing and the research needed there would have been an increased likelihood that I could have helped her.

 

So if you have something chronic going on with your health and you are hesitating and procrastinating addressing it, OR if you aren’t getting helped with the care you are currently receiving, don’t wait until it is a crisis! Do it now! Make that call! And if you are interested in seeing if you and I are a good fit for each other, you can schedule a FREE 15 minute phone consult by calling my office at (303) 443-2206 Mountain time 8:30-5, OR you can schedule online using this link https://intakeq.com/booking/NaURW8

Be well! And again, don’t procrastinate with your health or those little whispers in your body may become screams.

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