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Monday, November 8, 2010

Endocrine Disorders Series Part 1: Finding A Doctor

I have had a tough time the past 6 years with my health. I have talked a lot about the mental, but I haven't talked about the physical. I view the situation as a trial that God is not taking away from me because I'm supposed to learn something. Probably there's more than 1 thing I'm supposed to learn. Who knows the reasons we have problems that really upset us and even tempt us to really give up. But one "reason" I feel God has given me is that I'm supposed to share my journey, and hopefully help someone going through the same things, so they won't have to suffer as long as I did before they found some things that will help. It's like a bloggy service project!

I suffer from adrenal fatigue, hypothyroid, vitamin D deficiency, estrogen dominance (see my prior blog post), PCOS, and a few other fun problems that are compliments of the problems I mentioned, such as high cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, pre-diabetes, messed up hormone levels (pregnenolone & DHEA,) and magnesium deficiency.

The reason I haven't blogged about it before is that it's like, "where do I start???" I have decided to do a bunch of blog posts covering everything from what your symptoms would be if you have an adrenal problem (or the other situations I mentioned,) to what resources I have used to feel better for each of these problems.

The thing that has helped me the most is switching from a traditional doctor to a doctor that uses both traditional medicine and alternative methods, such as herbs, vitamins, supplements, etc. This type of medicine can also be called integrative, holistic, or complimentary medicine. I have found that doctors that use both traditional and integrative medicine have a different philosophy for treating endocrine disorders such as adrenal and thyroid problems.

The basic difference is this: if you go to a regular doctor, they will ignore almost all endocrine symptoms you are complaining of and treat you directly from lab results. My lab results said everything was great and normal. But I didn't feel great and normal! I felt like half a person! If you go to an integrative physician, they will look at both your symptoms and lab results, and they ask for EXTRA labs, that normal doctors don't ask for, AND they believe that traditional doctors interpret these lab results too narrowly. For example, my thyroid numbers were normal. But my integrative physician asked for extra labs that look more carefully at the T3 thyroid hormone, and she wanted it to be a higher number than the medical institution says is normal. The integrative doctors are all pretty much on the same page with this. It's like they are looking at different research that the traditional doctors either don't know about or are choosing to ignore/turn their noses up at. It sounds harsh, but this has been my experience!

I wanted to link to some good search engines for helping people find integrative physicians in your own area, but I think the best thing to do is google "integrative physician" or something like that and see what you find. If you have trouble, let me know in the comments, or send me an email, and I would be happy to help you search the web for a referral. Be prepared, of course, to pay a little extra. Most integrative physicians do not take insurance, which simply means it will be an "out of network" doctor. Your insurance will pay a portion, most likely.

A point I wanted to make is: don't be afraid to change doctors if they are not listening to you and helping you! First you might want to try insisting on specific lab tests or asking a lot of questions. Come to your appointments having fully read up on your condition. Spend some time on the internet, and list your symptoms. Here's a shocker: doctors can be wrong sometimes! It's happened to me plenty of times. How many times has our gut told us our child has an ear infection? We take them to the doctor, then are sent away saying they're fine, only to bring them back a few days later when their ear drum has burst, and we're going, "I told you so!" It's been the same thing with me and my endocrine problems. I knew something wasn't right, but no one would listen to me. Here's my favorite response from doctors: "I can't find anything wrong with you. Here you go- here's a prescription for anti-depression medication." Condescendingly patting you on the head (get out of my office, lady.)

I've switched doctors a few times when I was going to a traditional doctor, and I've even switched my integrative physician once & I'm not afraid to switch again. I am my own health advocate, and I deserve to feel well & I will do what it takes to accomplish this!

1 comment:

Mary said...

I love your willingness to discuss all this stuff. Hugs to you and yours!!