This topic has long been on my heart since I received my first diagnosis with a doctor telling me, "Crohn's doesn't have a cure and you will be on medication the rest of your life". For 17 years I asked God, "WHY?" why the heck do I have to deal with this?? God knows, and 17 years later he revealed himself and now I know, it's so that I can help people like yourself find healing too.
Many of us go straight to problem-solving the issue instead of taking a step back to see how God is directing.
Here is my advice number 1, PRAY.
God will direct you and bring the right people into your life. Sometimes we have searched and searched and don't understand why no one will help, God still has you. God doesn't always heal... sometimes we are given these challenges in life for a reason and we don't know what it is. And sometimes we may never know what is wrong with our bodies or have a diagnosis. My rest falls to God, not on doctors and their opinions.
There is a lot that you can do though, and I know the frustration with traditional doctors VERY well... It takes so much work advocating for yourself when you are already so exhausted and feel like shit. I get it... It's enough to make you give up. Don't give up, I pray that these tangible steps will help you find answers.
The Traditional Medicine Journey...
Doctors don't know everything.
This is VERY important to keep in mind while you go through your journey. We just assume they should know everything we bring to them in a 10-20 minute appointment. There is no way they can make perfect and sound judgements in that amount of time.
Doctors are so accomplished and have dedicated their life to the study of the human body! What an honorable career. But unfortunately, somehow during this process what you, the patient, need from them gets lost. Many of them struggle with these 3 things:
1. bedside manner
2. a lack of determination to find answers to the root cause
3. remain open-minded to other forms of care
I have found in my journey, this is unfortunately the normal for most doctors, of course there are a handful of doctors that are absolutely incredible and are in this profession for all the right reasons- to help people. These are the doctors we all dream of handling our care, but they are the ones that have appointments 2-5 months out, and most of the time don't have the bandwidth to take on new patients.
Why does my doctor seem to not listen or care about me?
They have too many patients in a day
They are behind on appointments
Have TOO much on their plate.
Lack of care for the person (this how they cope, it may not be purposeful)
Try to find the fastest solution to alleviating the symptoms or problem, instead of addressing root cause.
They're "why" they became a doctor is not about helping people feel better, it is money driven
They may believe they know everything and no other opinion is right
Now that we know WHY they might act this way, let's chat appointment strategy...
1. Come in knowing and expecting to be on a conveyor belt
- This will lower your expectations of care
- It will also help you not take it too personally
2. Be prepared
- They may not have answers
- Come prepped with questions
- Have your elevator speech of "why are you here today" ready
- Provide a personal touch in caring for them, this butters them up a bit, and sets your appointment up for more success.
3. YOU are your best advocate
- Set the expectations of your appointment for the doctor
- Only you know what you need, express what you need from them
- Be FIRM, you know what you need, make sure you get it from them.
4. It's your care
- I have to remind my clients of this often. Just because a doctor recommends you do something, doesn't mean its the right thing for you (If its life-threatening, ya, I'd be letting them make the call for sure).
- You ultimately have the ball in your court, what do you want for your care?
YOU HAVE MORE OPTIONS.
Care does NOT end with traditional medicine. Build your care team.
What I have learned over the years is that there are more doctors in America than just the typical Traditional M.D., and these doctors know what they are doing and can actually be MORE effective than your traditional MD.
There are Naturopathic Doctors, Osteopathic Doctors, Integrative Physicians, Traditional Chinese Medicine Doctor... Most healthcare plans cover at least partial to see this kind of care.
Branch out, search for alternative care to get the answers you want. MOST of the time these are the doctors that will know how to find the answers traditional MD's can't seem to find. Alternative medicine definitely has its place in this world just like traditional.
There are even more alternative methods you can look into and are right for some people: Chiropractic care, Acupuncture, Massage, Reiki, Nutrition and Wellness Coaching, SO MANY MORE!
Do your research on these doctors and methods before you commit to paying to see one. Read reviews and email their portal to find out what they are all about. Find out what their education is like, determine what is best for your health journey.
Having a team of professionals that are willing to work together on your case, you have a much higher chance of finding healing.
DISCLAIMER! Be aware, most Traditional MD's do NOT like this, and may even threaten to stop treating you. It is their right to stop treating you as a patient, but it is NOT their right for them to tell you how to manage your own health. THIS MAKES ME TRULY ANGRY. You are allowed to have the care you want for yourself, and if a doctor is unwilling to work with you and your carefully chosen care team its time to let them go or fire them, and find someone that will support your health decisions and work with your care team.
I'm STILL not getting answers...
At this point in your journey, your diagnosis is stumping everyone, you're confused and doctors are blowing you off because they can't give you the simple solutions they were taught. And your alternative doctors are even confused and trying different things, but can't seem to determine diagnosis or root cause. It is at this point I would be on my knees asking God for direction.
This is when you and your loved ones have to make some choices. You treat and manage the symptoms without diagnosis, and trust your care team, or look into Mayo Clinic. Mayo Clinic is a well oiled machine and you stay at the hospital and get tons of tests done and a doctor sees you the next day with the findings. This is the best solution I have found when no one else is helping. It is rare that people leave there without diagnosis and next steps. Find out if Mayo Clinic will take your case and if your insurance will accept the visit.
And sometimes even after that you may not have answers. Keep pushing forward and advocating for yourself, trying to find doctors and specialists that may have answers. Sometimes this even means firing your entire care team and starting over.
I don't have insurance.
Okay, this is a tough situation to be in and trust me I have been there, its scary, and feels so unknown. My suggestion is probably not what you want to hear. You need insurance, OR you need to be willing to pay out of pocket. If you are this fed up with feeling this way and want answers, your health needs to be a priority. You and your family need to find a way to get insurance and make this a priority, that may mean making uncomfortable changes to your lifestyle.
Wrap it up Amelia!
Okay.... I THINK I have covered everything :) If you have more questions feel free to shoot me an email or leave a comment! If you desire more help or direction I will be happy to have a conversation with you. I really hope this has been helpful in knowing how to navigate this crazy and confusing healthcare world.
Amelia Hunt, FNTP