Chance: Advance To Go
Collect the $200 Answer
I have continued to blog about my health over the past 9 or 10 months, but I made my posts password protected: just for the eyes of people I know personally and who really care about me. I hope it suffices to say that my thyroid-related health challenges that began 10 years ago, triggered during a pregnancy, have not disappeared. This blog was begun as part of my own search for answers. For awhile I thought I had found them in essential oils. Because of my health seeking, I also discovered the vast world of herbal medicine. (I have yet to finish that journey, since I still hope to become a Master Herbalist someday.) As any reader of this blog knows, I have also become so disenchanted with traditional hospital- and-pharmaceutical based allopathic medicine that I avoid it like the plague it literally is. Yet despite all that I have learned and implemented, despite all that tried to do on my own, the big changes I have been hoping for are not happening. My battle with weight has reached a stalemate. It isn’t soaring astronomically anymore, but it isn’t coming off. It’s actually very sneaky, and doesn’t like me watching like a hawk, as it tiptoes up and down, plus or minus 7 pounds. I have two additional health challenges now, which have joined the bandwagon and, I suspect, are inviting their friends. I had decided to just strike out and go it alone, in another Don Quixote medical crusade upon myself. But then I stumbled across a meme one night on Facebook, and it blew my mind. This is the section of it that blew in my face like a Maxell storm: Wha-a-a-a-a-a-t? What do you mean hypothyroidism is an autoimmune disease? And this one new thought has been a game-changer. The wedge in my thoughts that just wouldn’t go away. Even when a rare practitioner or two has had the brains to run the labs to check for thyroid antibodies, all I have gotten is a comment like, “You probably have Hashimoto’s”. I thought it was like a brand or something: Yes, you see darling, some people get Levi’s hypothyroidism while other people get Wrangler or Carhardt. You have the Hashimoto’s kind, okay dear? ???!!! Why did it take 10 years for me to accidentally learn that it’s an auto-immune disease just like Lupus is ???!!! In fact, if the meme just below is to be believed, Hashimoto’s was the tip of the new iceberg, the TIP of what has now been discovered to be a whole world of immune-system related diseases heretofore unknown to allopathic science. And they don’t have the courage or integrity to admit that they don’t know what the heck to do with it besides throw their drugs at it, blame the patient, or run for cover – not bothering to educate themselves, oh no. What I mean by running for cover is covering or protecting the status quo: the way things are. Because change would mean THEY have to change (i.e. work; obtain much more education), and that just can’t happen. Against my better judgement, I also decided to try a return to Levothyroixine. Why? Because my biological clock is ticking and though I am now able to get pregnant – and 100% credit and thanks goes to Dr. Richard Schulze at herbdoc.com for that – but I am not able to remain pregnant. Even Schulze’s materials say to stop using the Female Formula once you are pregnant, but I didn’t, because I was afraid that not feeding my body the building blocks in FF would cause it to miscarry. Yes, Catch-22, here you are again. My energy levels had been better, but not good enough to exercise regularly. Then recent events in my life (a move) required all that I had physically and emotionally; I saw that I still wasn’t enough. Something was still wrong. I shouldn’t still be feeling like this, and not able to cope lie this. So, even though it came from evil Big-Pharma, I started thinking of taking Levothyroxine again, since this drug is what the allopaths pointed to as the sustaining power of my most recent pregnancy. So I gave it a whirl, even while hating the drug and hating its makers. Well, that whirl went very wrong. I ended up getting back off the drug after only a week on it. This time around, I absolutely could not function as a busy wife and mother while dealing with the side-effects of taking the stuff.
What to do now? I spent the last day of my recovery from Levothyroxine scouring the Internet, again. Since I’d been on a recent kick of watching documentaries on YouTube, I typed in Hashimoto’s, just for the heck of it. Holy cow, I wasn’t expecting so many videos to come up. This didn’t happen even a few years ago! So I video-researched. It is kind of tedious. I actually find text accounts easier to skim and come to a conclusion…. but maybe having to watch the videos had a hidden blessing. I was forced to digest more information. I was forced to listen and to consider while I listened, instead of just reading and saying no, no, no that’s not true, no this is wrong. I came forth from my day of researching with a new discovery. There is a new field of medicine: functional medicine. It seems to be connected to the chiropractic school of thought. I have no problem with that. I have had good experiences with chiropractors, when I have been able to utilize their services. In this new field of functional medicine there are doctors who seem very confident. I found myself automatically, almost naturally believing that they know what they are doing when it comes to auto-immune disease. There wasn’t any skepticism or doubt. I think I have found the path to finally – permanently – getting some answers.
CORE PRINCIPLES OF FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE
Functional medicine has long been guided by six core principles:
- An understanding of the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness;
- Awareness of the evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than a disease- centered approach to treatment;
- Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external body, mind, and spirit;
- Familiarity with the web-like interconnections of internal physiological factors;
- Identification of health as a positive vitality not merely the absence of disease emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology;
- Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the health span, not just the life span, of each patient.
A patient-centered approach refers to health care that is respectful of and responsive to individual patient preferences, needs, and values, and that ensures that patient values guide all clinical decisions. … Patient-centered care is at the center of what [is called] the therapeutic partnership, the relationship that forms between a patient and clinician that empowers the patient to take ownership of their own healing. The power of the therapeutic partnership comes from the idea that patients who are active participants in the development of their therapeutic plan feel more in control of their own well-being and are more likely to make sustained lifestyle changes to improve their health.
Beginning At Begin Again
So I decided to trust another health care practitioner with my total body health history and health problems again. I’ve actually been taking baby steps over the last year or so toward this moment. I can thank a caring midwife for that: Thank you, Julie Bates CNM, for restoring some of my faith in allopaths on an individual basis. I can also thank my friend Veronica for another recent positive experience with individual allopaths. She allowed me the privilege of being a doula at the birth of her baby. I observed an entire room full of people who genuinely seemed to be more concerned about her and her baby and her birth experience than they were about themselves or hospital protocols or hubris. One nurse had never seen a woman deliver a baby on her hands and knees, but was open-minded, willing to learn something new, and accepting. Another nurse was truly kind. And the attending physician made what I felt was a gallant attempt to give my friend the birth she wanted. Nobody in the room was threatened by or condemning toward my presence. I was treated as a valued part of Veronica’s support system, and I was given the respect I’ve only heard other doulas attribute to this calling. This acceptance was healing for me, both personally and professionally. Finally, during a recent online chat with a dear friend, who lives in a foreign country, we got into a discussion about racism and prejudice in general. I told him about the Dr. Seuss story The Sneeches, as part of trying to explain to him how I feel about this issue. I used to hold a prejudice toward all members of a certain race until I got a job working one-on-one with individual members of that racial group. I realized I was being unfair toward Koreans by judging all of them based on three bad experiences with six of them. Then I realized, even as I was typing, that I was being unfair toward mainstream health-care providers based on the bad experiences I have had with the majority of them. I think God knew this. I think this is why he started this whole journey to Begin Again by whispering to me that a certain allopath was safe; was trustworthy. So, most of all, I thank you, Nurse Practioner Dan Wood. You literally are the tree thrown in poisoned waters that has, however conditionally and cautiously, made them sweet for me again (Exodus 15:25-26). I have learned that I just need to follow the Spirit of God when it comes to working with any health care practitioner – allopathic, alternative or functional – and everything will be okay.
- And he cried unto the Lord; and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet: there he made for them a statute and an ordinance, and there he proved them,
- And said, If thou wilt diligently hearken to the voice of the Lord thy God, and wilt do that which is right in his sight, and wilt give ear to his commandments, and keep all his statutes, I will put none of these diseases upon thee, which I have brought upon the Egyptians: for I am the Lord that healeth thee.
STEP ONE: The spark plug. The doctor I selected required an extensive application process that involved more than just the routine paperwork. I was basically required to write a health-centric autobiography. I was also asked a few probing questions that surprised me, in a good way. I was given only two days to complete this application, and ended up pulling an all-nighter. But I got it done.
STEP TWO: The initial appointment. A good, solid 30 minutes. This doctor talks a lot, and fast. I figured since he’d spent so much time already getting to know me in my paperwork, it would be wise for me to shut up and listen. I was actually afraid the entire morning before my appointment that he would not want to take me on as a patient. It became obvious within the first 3 minutes that my acceptance as a patient was a given, and he was rolling out the next steps of the process. Foremost in his mind and mine is confirming the Hashimoto’s. Whether or not I really do have Hashimoto’s, he was pretty certain that I do have some kind of auto-immune disease. The next steps are labs, to uncovering the finer details of what this all means… and a big change in diet, part of which I’d already gone ahead and started practicing, based on his videos. As of the day of our appointment, I had been gluten-free, dairy-free and soy-free for 10 days.
STEP TWO-AND-A-HALF: I decided to send him the documents connected to my medical history, including all the blood labs I could find that had been run on my thyroid. I found these results. How can I not have Hashimoto’s? STEP THREE: The initial blood draw. When I mentioned to the lab tech my former blood draws, she said “You don’t STOP having anti-thyroid anti-bodies. Once they are there, they are always there. If you have Hashimoto’s then you have it forever.” Her statement confirmed a lot of what I’d learned in my video studies. I am excited to get back the results of these tests. I know they are basically a snapshot of the day in the life of Katie, but, it will still be interesting to see… especially since today’s labs will serve as a baseline for improvements I hope to see in the future.
STEP FOUR: When I got home, the package from my doctor was waiting in the mailbox for me. We will now be testing my immune system. With this part of the process, I am required to fulfill the return and report principle, writing an email to my doctor on a daily basis about my reactions to this testing. I like this idea very much, because it is a true principle that has long been taught in my faith:
- “You learn to be a leader by first learning to be a follower. The scripture says to ‘act,’ not to be ‘acted upon’ ” (2 Nephi 2:26)… The next step is to follow up… —the return-and-report principle. But some of our leaders are somehow afraid to give direction, to provide a kind but clear message of what is expected, and then to follow up. Things will not be done perfectly, but when the youth try, encourage them. The youth will remember that. They may not remember the words, but they will remember the feelings.” – President Dieter F. Uchtdorf
There are more steps to come. More blogposts will outline what they involve as I travel through them. Until then, peace and health and the love of the Lord be with you.