I have worked in the medical field for 50 years as a nurse/nurse practitioner/nurse midwife.
The last 5 years have brought a lot of changes to my thoughts about conventional medicine. But in the last year I have spent more time researching integrative and functional medicine then ever before as I have worked my way through a stage 4 colon cancer diagnosis. I learned that conventional medicine, with rare exception, does not cure cancer. At least it doesn’t keep it away for long.
My heart and soul is in the prevention and potentially the reversal of chronic disease and the maintenance of health.
Isn’t that what is done in conventional medicine? NO!
Here’s a little the road that lead me to where I am. Perhaps if I had this knowledge before, I wouldn’t have had the most interesting last year. But then I wouldn’t be able to share all of this good stuff with others.
About 5 years ago, I had some routine testing done. My cholesterol was over 200 and my LDL was in the 130’s. My LDL had been stable there for a decade. I had just turned 65 years old. By the calculator that is used to determine whether or not someone “might benefit” from the use of a statin, I was called and told I should probably use a statin. No one took into consideration that my fasting blood sugar was 113 (100 -125)which signifies glucose intolerance. And, my A1C was 6.1. Over 5.4 is Metabolic Syndrome. The use of a statin would have made me diabetic. Statins are known to affect carbohydrate metabolism in susceptible people. I was obese by clinical standards. I was in a stressful job. My diet was the standard American diet with a slight attempt to eat healthily. I tried to get 10,000 steps in a date but could never get over 8200 and generally was lucky to get 5,000.
I was not treated as an individual. I was treated as everyone walking int he door with an elevated cholesterol was treated. They use standardized guidelines. These are the guidelines to which health care providers are held in a court of law.
I knew, if I followed these guidelines for myself, I would become diabetic. I would be placed on Metformin and without changing my lifestyle, it would progress to insulin. By the way, I also took blood pressure medicine, an antidepressant, and an anxiety medication.
My family history was positive for early onset heart disease, hypertension, depression, and anxiety. I found out recently that I have a genetic predisposition to all of these things through the MTHFR genetic mutation with a double copy of T. This has to do with how I metabolize folate (or don’t metabolize) which increases my risk of cardiovascular disease and includes symptoms of hypertension, anxiety, and depression. My inflammatory markers are also slightly elevated. No one else ever checked these before my current provider.
Thankfully, I decided to research the way I could be healthier without taking a bunch of medicine (which generally leads to taking more medicine but does not resolve the chronic illness).
First of all, I lost my stressful job. Yup, I was fired. The best thing that ever happened to me. I didn’t shed a tear. January 13th? or 14th, 2016 was the beginning of my new life. I vowed NEVER to work full time in medicine again. Thankfully I was 62 so I could collect social security which decreased some of the financial stress.
I started seeing a chiropractor who does “Nutritional Response Testing”. It’s a type of muscle testing that tells him what nutrients I am deficient in. I started taking whole food supplements. I changed my diet slightly. Through the supplements and other minor lifestyle changes, I was able to discontinue my blood pressure meds. I weened from my antidepressants and benzodiazepines. I was confident that there had to be a better way. By the way, I lost 10 pounds just leaving the stressful job and getting adequate sleep.
In the summer of 2017, in my continued search for health/wellness, I came across several books on grain-free diets and high-fat diets. The book that resonated with me the most was “Eat Fat, Get Thin” by Mark Hyman MD. I am a meat eater and I enjoy fatty foods. I read most of the book (I didn’t get into the menu ideas though I probably should) and adopted some of the things he recommended. I also read “The End of Alzheimer’s” by Dale Bredesen MD. He mentioned many of the same things that Dr. Hyman mentioned. The advice from these two books allowed me to fashion my health and wellness plan so that I lost an additional 20 pounds and I am not longer prediabetic. I am still insulin resistant but things were better.
Stress doesn’t always come from a bad job or a bad relationship. Sometimes we pile it on ourselves as in letting people “get to us” and ruminating. Watching the news, having perceived or real financial problems. The list goes on. Our diet also is a huge factor. I thought I was doing OK. But 1 year ago after several months of worsening belly pain, I was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. I had emergency surgery for a bowel obstruction. I did conventional chemo as I was not knowledgeable enough to do anything else and quite frankly to afraid not to. I get it. I lost 30 pounds. I needed to lose it but I can think of better ways. I learned so much about how my diet, mind, and exercise play into my health. So far so good. By the way, I am currently not on any meds.
I know that in the conventional medicine arena, I can’t help anyone. I can throw pills at symptoms and see patients every 8 minutes. Even my integrative medicine doc, who spent time with me, only explained labs and threw supplements at the lab markers. I now see a functional medicine doctor and my primary is a different integrative doc.
So my question for myself is why. What is the diagnosis. I could say “well, I’m MTHFR TT positive. It’s in my genes”. There are things to turn off those genes.
In my never-ending thirst for knowledge, I know I can help myself and others to increase their level of wellness and decrease their dependence on pharmaceuticals.
I know that functional medicine works for chronic disease even cancer.
I also know the importance of credentialing so I am a national board-certified health and wellness coach along with my family practice certification.
I’d love to help you find your why (for your what) or perhaps where your health weaknesses are so you don’t ever get the what (diagnosis).
To learn more about how I can help you reach your wellness goals email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 419 819 9181