Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thorough doctor

I continue looking for help with my rheumatoid arthritis.

The other day, Sarita saw an article in The Week about studies that have shown "a link between certain pollutants, including PCBs and DDT, and conditions such as heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis." Moreover, "people who'd lost 22 pounds or more in a decade had the highest levels of pollutants in their bloodstreams."

Hmmmm. I did make an effort, beginning about three years ago, to cut back and lose some weight. Indeed, by the time the rheumatoid started hitting, I had lost a good 30 pounds or so. (The day I hit 199.5, I said to myself, "So far and no further!" I'm now bouncing somewhere between 159 and 163.)

And there is the matter that Jonelle has been going to an ND (Naturopathic Doctor) in hopes of "healing up" or "strengthening up" to be able safely to bring another baby to term.

In evaluating Jonelle's present condition, the doctor discovered she is high in a number of heavy metals . . . and has been giving her certain injections to help remove them from her system. (It's called chelation.)

After reading the article in The Week, Sarita said, "I want you to go to Jonelle's doctor."

So I called the office and set up an appointment, which I kept yesterday afternoon.

Prior to the appointment, however, the doctor sent me a patient profile/health history questionnaire the likes of which I have never seen. Eight pages of fine details.

I thought: "Man! If I didn't have at least a vague idea of why he asks all these questions [except the one where he wants my Social Security #!], I might think he was massively invading my privacy."

After we met, however, I was even more impressed by the thoroughness of his interview and exam. We spent two hours together . . . and I am scheduled to go back in a week for beginning diagnosis and health improvement plan.


While I'm at it, let me share two things he said that struck me during our time together yesterday.

  1. "Let me tell you about my philosophy of health. I believe we were created to be healthy. We are supposed to be healthy. We should be able to self-heal . . . if we could only get out of our own way. So when I meet a person who is unhealthy, I ask, 'What is this person doing--or not doing--that is getting in the way?"

    He said that he believes good health is based on four legs or foundations:

    1. What we ingest--i.e., what we eat or don't eat and what we drink or don't drink.
    2. Movement or exercise.
    3. Sleep--both quantity and quality. And,
    4. What he called Interconnectedness--which includes not only social relations, but spirituality. How are we doing in relation to others (which may include God or the spirit world).
    "Take that four-legged bench over there," he said. "With four legs under it, you and I could both sit on it and it will hold us comfortably. Because it has four strong legs.

    "If I remove a leg, it will still stand. And, in fact, if I am careful, I could even sit on it and it would hold me. But if I sit in the wrong place, I'm going to collapse it.

    "And if it has only two legs? It cannot stand any longer. It will collapse.

    "So I want to know how you are doing with your four foundation pillars."
  2. We got onto the subject of thyroxin--a hormone I have had to take ever since I had my thyroid removed back in the mid-80s as a result of Grave's Disease.

    I mentioned to him some of the hassles I have faced as a result of seeking to use natural thyroxin (desiccated and processed bovine or porcine thyroid gland) rather than the synthetic variety. (Natural thyroxin contains the full complement of thyroxin variants--T4, T3, T2, T1 and calcitonin, at least, while the standard synthetic contains T4 only. There is an additional synthetic that includes T3. None for T2, T1, calcitonin, or any of the other minor fractions that may be present--and unstudied--in desiccated thyroid gland.)

    My regular doctor, for example, is convinced that synthetic is better. He really doesn't want me to be taking the natural stuff. (I had one doctor who refused to treat me if I refused to take the synthetic. My current doctor was unwilling to help me locate natural thyroxin when the FDA made it almost impossible legally to acquire it last year. Happily, though he is obviously critical of my approach, he lets me "do my thing," as it were.)

    My naturopath, yesterday, said he has found, in his practice, that 9 out of 10 patients do better on the natural thyroxin, but, for some reason, one out of 10 seems, actually, to do better on the synthetic. (Point--which I had not considered before: I ought not simply to assume natural is better.)

    But what really bothered me was what he had to say about why he believes most doctors prefer to prescribe synthetic hormones.

    He referenced John Abramson's Overdosed America as his source.

    He said that Abramson shows how the Journal of the American Medical Association has a practice (policy?) of printing only those scientific studies that are critical of the non-synthetic hormones or that show them in a bad light. "There are ten studies showing the efficacy of the natural hormones, but JAMA won't talk about them. But when it gets one study that is critical, it will publish that immediately."

    Supposing he had accurately recalled Abramson's data, and supposing Abramson is right, he concluded, "With that kind of input, you really can't criticize mainstream medical doctors for believing that natural hormones are ineffective."
And I wonder: Can't we?
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