A book, Vaccine Epidemic, sat proudly on the reception counter. The seats in the waiting area were antique, slightly stained, and felt as if we could fall though the bottom at any moment. I filled out an enormous packet, with front and back pages, providing the entire history of my health. We sat for a hour and a half feeling unacknowledged and agitated. It also allowed time for suspicion and fleeting feelings to arise. Is this place even credible or a false beacon of hope? Maybe we should just leave.
My husband, mom, and stepdad were all there feeling a wave of emotions along with me. We were finally moved into a room where we sat longer. The room was large, had a massage table, sink, and small desk with children’s art under the glass. There were also numerous photos of two children, both gingers. One of the photos was a creepy hologram. The faucet in the room dripped heavily. My stepdad and husband sought to stop it without success. It quickly became a metronome for a impromptu rap for my husband and stepdad. Meanwhile, my mom thumbed through a basket full of magazines eventually picking up a Best Home magazine and quickly browsed through the gardening section. I sat anxiously, but amused by my family.
Time went on. My mom thumbed through the reading materials again, finding several children’s books. She settled on the giant eyed Powerpuff Girls. She read the story, A Little Monstrous Problem, aloud to us as if we were children in a kindergarten class. I was entertained and more importantly distracted. My husband and stepdad were still fidgety, not paying attention at first but quickly became involved. In the story, the Powerpuff Girls ran into a monster which, looked more like a dinosaur to us. They were rightfully scared but it turned out the monster was too, even crying a river. The Powerpuff Girls struggled with indecision. Was the monster and enemy to be destroyed or scared and harmless? The result is they spoke to him, found out he was sad and lost, and returned him to his family. It seems the Powerpuff Girls need to have a conversation with my immune system. My joints are not the enemy! They are also sad and harmless!
My step-dad began to read Thomas the Train when the doctor made his grand entrance. Perhaps arriving late is his way of getting our attention. He had it but, we were cranky and doubtful. He began wanting my life’s story, which I struggled to tell. My mom filled in the blanks. I provided head to toe health concerns and much of the same info that was in the packet. I was annoyed. It’s like calling your credit card company, typing in all of the damn numbers and then getting a rep who asks for it again. Ugh! At one point he said he had to figure out a diagnosis and I felt my body shutting down. Not again. It took months, actually even years, to learn what is wrong and now it’s in question again? I’m done. After a long dumbed down explanation of RA, I was feeling annoyed, hopeless, and disappointed.
The doctor expressed his feeling that I don’t cope well with stress. I strongly objected. I feel I have recently made significant progress in that area. Getting out of my abusive job has made an enormous difference! He then talked about stress with the analogy of seeing a lion and the fight or flight response. I quickly understood the point, realizing I have a long way to go in learning how to be calmer in morally challenging situations. He told me he cannot help me if I am so sensitive to my environment (feeling the flight/flight response). My health depends on my calm response to stressful situations. A doctor who is concerned with more than just my disease? About my whole self and how it effects other things? Well, that just makes sense. None of my other doctors are concerned with my mental well being- that just doesn’t fit into the 10 minute appointment timeframe nor has it seemed relevant. I tried to ask for help related to insomnia and anxiety a couple times and was told I will be better at handling it over time. Thanks for the vote of confidence! However, how do they know? Can you get to know someone in 10 minute increments a few times a year?
He then asked me what I thought of my immune system. “Is it weak or strong?” he asked. I confidently told him, it is weak. I am sick whenever a cold /flu comes around and developed RA. People in my life have referred to me as being a sick person- which I cannot stand. He then explained how the immune system worked coming to the conclusion that my immune system is strong and is doing its job. He said he worries most for those who never get sick. Well that just makes sense! Now, if only my immune system could stop being awesome at attacking me.
After the million question test my doctor believes I do have RA however, has to prove his hypothesis. My next steps are to bring in all my prior blood work, have a blood panel of 150 foods to learn which foods cause inflammation, and a full body physical (going as far as to even know how I move/walk/pressure points etc.).
I went to this homeopathic doctor with high recommendations as a skeptic and left feeling like this is the best doctors appointment I have ever had. He listened, cared, and spent over an hour and a half with us. He wasn’t the cliché homeopathic doctor telling me to stop taking all medications. He actually told me to continue on methotrexate according to my rheumatologist until my RA is (hopefully) managed through homeopathic methods. His goal is to reset my immune system and said it will take a year to see the results from this route (which is to be determined). It is important to mention, the folks who recommended this to me manage their RA through traditional and homeopathic methods.
My family and I have decided that this all may or may not make a difference but, it’s better to know than to wonder. Like most, I would prefer to control my disease with food and natural remedies than with poison. I feel his methods make a lot of sense- you are what you eat, it is imperative to reduce stress (reactions specifically), and treating the whole person rather than just a disease. I have always thought about food as being very important. Each bite I take is an has always been an important and conscious decision and will be even more so soon.
I’m going to take things one day at a time full of gratitude for life and my fabulous family. I’ll keep you posted as I go through this new process!