A few years ago I noticed my hair thinning. I also wasn’t feeling myself in all sorts of ways, not being interested in the things I used to like, feeling weepy and depressed all the time, very low energy, etc.
I exhibited many symptoms of hypothyroidism (a potential conclusion I came to based on my education and research), so I asked for a full thyroid panel.
Instead, I was promptly given a prescription for antidepressants that I did not want (in under 10 minutes of sitting together), given a blood test (that did not test what I specifically asked for), and was sent on my way.
My thyroid looked fine, my doctor later told me, and that was that. She only looked at my TSH level, which doesn’t say anything about whether my body is using TSH properly. That’s why I asked for the full panel! But my request was ignored.
Aside from that, what about my hair falling out? My unexplained exhaustion? Was anyone going to follow up on that?
The answer was a big fat NO. She didn’t listen to my needs, I didn’t get the care that I asked for, and the rest of my symptoms were forgotten. I didn’t know where to go next if my doctor couldn’t help, so I figured it out on my own. But many do not have the luxury of doing it all themselves.
Another situation that can happen (and has happened to me) is that they don’t have an answer for you, so they make their best guess and refer you to a specialist, who shrugs and sends you to a different specialist, and so on and so on. A lot of folks don’t have the money to keep going from one doctor to the next only to get no answers.
This is not to say some doctors aren’t excellent, but the way the system is set up doesn’t serve us as well as it could. How many doctors do you have to be shuffled through to find who listens, or who has the time to solve the problem? How many times do you have to tell your story?
For perspective, people with autoimmune disease see an average of 6 doctors over 5+ years before actually getting diagnosed!
You are more than a number
We’re often dismissed because of numbers alone. It can go a couple ways:
- You may be told you’re fine because the numbers are fine. Somehow symptoms cease to matter and are forgotten if the numbers say things are all good.
- For those with higher weight/BMI, you may be told that this is the sole reason for your symptoms and aren’t even asked about anything else, or offered proper care until you get those numbers down.
But numbers are only part of the story (if at all). This is why it’s important to be an advocate for yourself, in and out of the doctor’s office. There are many folks out there, however, who don’t know where to go or what to do next.
If the numbers are fine, what else is going on? How you can you get to the root of the problem? What questions should you ask your doctor? What tests should you look into? How do you implement their suggestions? What if you don’t even understand them? What if you have to do it on your own?
As a holistic nutritionist, I focus on nourishment of all kinds, and that includes helping clients advocate for themselves inside the doctor’s office and care for themselves outside of it (through diet and self-care).
I help clients manage their health through their diet as they navigate the system.
I can act as a complementary part of your health care team, helping with all of the above—navigating health and nutrition information, understanding doctor recommendations, helping you communicate better with your team, and helping you figure it out on your own if that’s what it comes down to.
I work with clients closely, meeting weekly, and take detailed notes, which allows me to see patterns and catch things that can fall through the cracks in a busy doctor’s office. I have helped clients find a long-awaited diagnosis, get the proper bloodwork, decipher their medical protocols, make informed decisions, and understand why they’re doing what they’re doing.
We all deserve to be seen and heard when it comes to our health care.
If you’re in need of a partner on your path to better health, I’d love to know more to see if I can be that person for you. Fill out this form and I will be in touch!