Decades ago my sisters and I sat on the couch on a Thursday night watching The Cosby Show. Raven Simone’s character tried to convince Dr. Huxtable that she’d grown overnight. Hands fist, arms against her chest, the child leaned forward and said, “I know my body!”
If only everyone else took the time to do the same.
I am completely honored and blessed that my husband and I have health insurance. He’s a cancer survivor, and I don’t know what we would have done if we hadn’t had insurance. It helped us eat and stay sheltered while he didn’t work. We truly needed it then. Now, however, I rarely use it because I avoid my M.D. as much as possible. Yes, I visit him when I need my inhaler prescription refilled, but otherwise I stay away. I don’t want to treat conditions, I want to eliminate them. To do that, I visit my insurance-free naturopathic doctor’s office.
I first visited the naturopathic doctor after multiple visits to other doctors offered no results. Urgent Care and the M.D. didn’t look at me, they looked at my symptoms. They wrote a prescription. It didn’t work. They tried a different one. Sick of the side effects, I tried a different approach. My first trip to the naturopathic doctor took forever – he talked with me for an hour and a half, wrote down my medical history, asked me questions, listened to my answers. When he was done, he told me it sounded like mold in our house. No prescription. No extra money for him by selling me supplements. He suggested that I move out for a while and see what happens. Guess what? Mold.
I should have learned my lesson then, but it took a while. I’d been feeling off – various things in my body just weren’t feeling the same. When I went to my M.D. he told me not to worry. Everything came up “normal” for women my age. Nothing to worry about. Maybe not, but I didn’t like the feeling. Nothing drastic, just not me. I paid the doc, then went back to see my naturopathic doc. We talked. He listened. He tested. My vitamin D levels were below safe! I’ve been taking supplements since then, nothing else. I’m feeling better.
Most recently something else was wrong. I worked out 3-4 times a week, but gained weight. I brushed it off as nearing my 35th birthday. I dragged in the afternoons. Maybe I just needed coffee. Though not dangerously high, my blood pressure was 130/90. Technically okay, but I’ve always been a 120/80 girl. Nothing about this screamed “Illness!” but it didn’t feel right. I didn’t bother with the M.D. this time. I went right to my listener. Two tests later we had an answer – my body produces less than 20% of the progesterone that it needs. He gave me a cream and some directions. I feel better than I have in MONTHS!
Sometimes I worry when I see prescription drug commercials, because I wonder how many people go to their doctors and tell them what meds they want. Do we really want people diagnosing themselves? But then I think about my own situations. No one knows my body better than I do. I might not be able to explain what feels different, but I know when something is off. I know how I feel when I’m healthy, and I can tell you when I’m not feeling healthy. Just because a chart tells you that my BP is okay and my weight is too much and my sleep patterns seem fine to you doesn’t mean they’re fine with me.
I am eternally grateful to the doctors and surgeons who spent their time and money to learn how to treat and beat cancer. Thank you for saving my husband. We need you. We also need you to listen. I know me better than you do. You know medicine better than I do. How about we start working together? You do your part, and I’ll do mine.