I recently asked Amber, a friend from high school that I have kept in touch with through Facebook, to write a guest post about what her frustrating experiences were like when being diagnosed with multiple diseases. Her words are inspirational and brought tears to my eyes knowing that I had an impact on her health and well-being. I think you will appreciate her words, and you may identify with her. Here are her words:
The Journey into a Healthy Life with Amber M
We all don’t see our primary care doctors as much as we should. There are a million reasons that we don’t, though I wonder if anyone else has had the opportunity to just stop and think about their care they do get when they go in. Are you happy with your physician? Do they answer your questions? If they do, are the answers actual answers or a blanket statement of general knowledge?
These are all things I have had to ask myself when I started my journey. For years I have had back pain. I accepted that in my case it is most likely a genetic disorder. Both of my parents have bad backs, and the limited knowledge I have on genetics suggests that I most likely do due to my genes. When my back pain started being accompanied with fatigue, I decided maybe I should see my doctor. I was losing weight and it was a healthy loss. Why was I fatigued? Most people going through a weight loss claim to have a renewed sense of self and more energy than before. Why didn’t I?
My primary care physician ordered some blood work to rule out any thyroid disorders, and from my family history also ordered tests on my cholesterol. The test results were mailed, which I feel is very impersonal to someone’s care. I held in my hands multiple pages of my results and what they meant. At the top of my booklet, was a suggestion to follow up with my doctor to go over them. I have high cholesterol, and while it’s not dangerously high it is something that needs attention.
Even more frustrating was the doctor’s appointment. I asked as many questions as I could to try to find out what I should do, can do, and will do. My doctor refused to put me on medication to help me get to a lower number, citing the side effects may not be worth it. That is the most positive thing I can say about the visit. A doctor not wanting to slap a band aid on the issue with a pill. The only information I did learn on what I can do is, change my diet. She couldn’t tell me how, just that I should do it.
Not that it’s an issue to research things, but I felt like I should have had some guidance on what to do from my doctor. I hunted all over for ways to help my body get my numbers down, and changed my diet. Eliminating soda being one of the biggest things, along with the intake of fast foods. Salad dressings had to be changed from anything creamy to dressings that were oil based and low sodium. Not an issue there either since I love most dressings, creamy or oil based.
My fatigue was still lingering though. I napped a lot and started drinking coffee. That got me going and helped pick my day up so I could go to work and function in the mornings. That helps for so long before you have to increase the intake amount. Then it’s something more. No other doctors I have seen after my original one have been able to pin point that.
I also ended up with a very new and scary diagnosis after a yearly lady doctor visit. (Yeah, yeah, I sound childish there calling it a lady doctor, but the technical name in my opinion is just no fun. Not that the visits there are ever fun.) I told this new doctor my history and my concerns with things, and we went on the normal path of the visit. A week later I get my test results from that and I was shocked to see the results of being positive for High Risk HPV. It’s not the end of the world, I realize this. When you have been free of any issues for literally decades, and have been with the same person for what feels like just as long, it’s still a blow. I yet again was left to do my own research. The doctor said it was not anything big and they will follow up with me in a year like normal.
Hearing that and doing research into this makes me feel like they just don’t care. In my age group, things are a bit more of concern especially when it comes out of left field like this. After sitting around feeling defeated by my search on ways to improve my life, I decided to give it one last try.
Most of the people I know have the preconceived notion that holistic health and natural remedies are weird. I admit, I did too. When a friend of mine wanted to do some health reviews to get a certification, I went for it, thinking I can at least help her with that. Little did I know she would give me her results, as well as be patient and kind enough to talk to me about everything I put on my form.
I filled it out thinking I was helping her, when in all reality she is helping me. My fatigue has been going away since I started following her suggestions about diet changes. Reducing my caffeine intake is a bonus since drinking that is depleting my vitamins and minerals along with what my birth control does already. I tested this on myself as well to see if it was really true, and I can VERY noticeably feel the difference in myself on days I have coffee and the improved feeling in myself on days I don’t. Increasing my water intake is helping too. I have been sticking to water all day, but I wasn’t drinking enough. I am getting the energy to want to do more. The suggestion of certain types of teas as well has been a wonder. They offer all of the same benefits, and then some, as the costly sports drinks.
Cardio is a rule in Zombieland as a way to survive in an apocalyptic world, but it should be a rule we live by right now. Cardio is something we can all benefit from, me especially. I have picked up my cardio workouts, and thrown some yoga in for good measure, and breathing. This leaves me feeling even better in the day than I did drinking cup after cup of coffee! Another hint that I was given was, if I start feeling sluggish, do some jumping jacks. They get the blood flowing again, plus I bet you haven’t done one since elementary school.
Weight training is something I will get into as well, as soon as I feel safe enough to do so. Not for my safety, but for my children’s’ safety. My youngest likes to mimic mommy a tad too much, and I don’t feel safe having weights in the house with her wanting to do what I do. Once she understands, “no” better, then you can believe I will stop using her for my weights!
In our lives we tend to try to follow Doctor’s orders, but when those orders are vague and a blanket statement, we research. The internet has become a useful backup to what we hear with everything being so readily available to us. The downside to that is there is more negativity in what we research, and it makes seeing our diagnosis even harder to take in. We want someone to help us, and an internet page cannot answer our fears. When you run into these fears, and still want more answers, why not turn to the holistic people you know? We all know one, or know someone who knows someone. That too is thanks to the internet and its social media. What is the worst that is going to happen in seeking out some reasons as to why you are feeling the way you do? You might have to pick up more activity in our ever increasingly inert lives. You might have to change your diet and stop finding quick food fixes. You very well might have the chance to talk to someone as patient and kind as I did. Someone that was willing to take the things the doctor told you, look into her (or his) knowledge of ways to go about changing your lifestyle, and improve your life for the better. Nothing I was told was anything so drastic as to think it was weird. It all was more of the things I wish I could have found that would help me. I never once thought the ingredients in my foods could be causing my issues with my stomach, that my activities weren’t quite as active as they should be, and that water is the answer to my headaches.
Try to find someone. There is no dispute we still need our doctors to help us find the answers to some things, but they need the support of others to have those answers detailed out for us.