Tuesday, August 26, 2008

No Stone Unturned

I recently started seeing a naturopathic doctor for some persistent problems not resolved by the eight hundred and thirty six traditional doctors I had seen. OK, it was only four doctors, but shouldn’t that be enough to find a solution to some problems I was having? Apparently not.

First, I’ve been having some rather uncomfortable skin irritations pop up all over my body over the last three years, to which three different doctors prescribed five different creams. The last doctor, the dermatologist, the one I had expected the most from, shrugged her shoulders when I asked if these problems would ever go away. She told me they wouldn’t and handed me the prescriptions. She told me to just apply them when I was “having an outbreak.”

Second, I’ll sum up by saying my body has been out of whack since Emily was born. For instance, my sleeping has been crap lately. I’m talking wake up at 1:00 a.m. and not get back to sleep until 2:30 a.m. or later. Every night. What happened to the days of teenagerhood when sleeping for 10 hours straight was easy to do? Not only easy but expected? If someone was threatening to stick bamboo up my toenails if I didn’t come up with something I missed about being a teenager, sleep would be the only HONEST answer I could give. And nothing else. Not one little thing else do I miss about my teenage years.

Another post-Emily issue I’ve had challenging me is feeling like I’m on an emotional roller coaster from which I can’t get off. For example, I could feel my blood pressure rising with the slightest whine noise coming from one or both children. I’m talking lump in your throat. Rising pulse. Then there were days where all I wanted to do was cry. SO not fun. Not one bit. Granted this didn’t happen every day, but let me assure you when it did, I did not feel like it was the end of the world. I did not feel like I had no way out. When I looked honestly at myself – a woman with two beautiful children running around, a husband who adores me and whom I adore, a step-son who is honest, sweet, and incredibly talented, food in our pantry, and a roof over my head - I KNEW something was out of whack with my body. The one doctor I brought these issues up with told me to reduce stress in my life, get more sleep, and offered to write me a prescription for the pill. Mind boggling.

So, I had heard about this naturopathic doctor and thought I would give her a try. I was not willing to accept the answers and indifference I had been given by the slew of doctors I had seen. I feel there is a lot to be said about homeopathic medicine, and I had felt failed by traditional medicine and doctors. Sadly insurance was an issue, but I got the go ahead from my loving husband who just wanted me to feel better.

My first visit was truly amazing. I didn’t walk out of there with all my skin issues gone. I didn’t walk out of there feeling like I was suddenly going to be able to sleep like a baby again. Far from it. What I walked out of there with was hope. A plan.

During my initial visit, the doctor, who happens to be trained in BOTH homeopathic AND traditional medicine, started by talking to me about all my issues. In detail. I didn’t feel strange with her at all, but rather felt like we were having an honest, comfortable, and open conversation. Her questions were poignant and precise. During this visit I had acupuncture, and while I was lying on the table with the lights dimmed and the soothing music playing, I cried. Not a bawling like a baby cry. A silent cry. I felt like someone was taking care of me. She understood my issues and had a plan to resolve them.

I have now been to see her three times, and this is what I have learned. My skin issues are related to a food sensitivity. I took a skin prick test and found that out of the 96 foods they test against my blood, I am highly sensitive to only one of them. Eggs. I am on my first day of cutting them out of my diet completely for six weeks. After this time, I should see a huge improvement if not an elimination of the skin problems. I have learned that a shift and imbalance in my hormones can cause each of the other issues listed above and the others I haven’t mentioned here. I am now taking supplements to help put my body back in balance. I’ve learned that my body is highly sensitive to acupuncture, but it’s a good thing.

I was told that for each year your body is off-kilter, it takes approximately a month to restore and re-balance. Some may argue that I’ve been a little left-of-center my whole life, but for the issues I’ve discussed here, we’re talking about three months. The doctor said after taking the supplements for three months, I would be able to look back to before I was taking them and see a big difference.

For any non-believer who may be reading this, let me tell you that I’ve been diligent about taking my handful of pills everyday. My favorite is “Women’s Relaxing”, a Chinese herbal supplement whose name brings a smile to my face every time I crack open the bottle. It has been only two weeks and I already feel a shift in my mood. My blood doesn’t start to boil when my children argue over a toy. I feel like I have a lot more patience. Even with the damn dogs that still wake us up early in the morning when our children are FINALLY SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT.

I was not willing to accept that my body was defective at 36 years of age. I have too many great years ahead of me to be uncomfortable in my skin. If you don’t like an answer a doctor is giving you, see another one. And another one. And another one, until you are satisfied with the answers and the results. Question them. Be relentless about it. This is your life. Let no stone go unturned.


  1. So glad you're feeling better ;)
    Western medicine is certainly only one small part of the enormous puzzle. It's nice to know there are other things to try when it just doesn't work!

    PS: Eggs are evil! I haven't touched one willingly since 1991. Blech. I've got a good egg-free chocolate chip cookie recipe somewhere (applesauce is a good substitute)...I'll try and dig it up for you!

  2. Thanks Carley! Coming from you, I know they'll be scrumptious! :-)

    It's amazing how many things eggs are a part of. I have to keep starting my 6 week hiatus over because I forget to look on some of my staples, like Whole Foods Light Ranch and Light Caesar! I'll figure it all out. It's going to be worth it for sure!