Author: Betsy Westhafer
Week 3 of 26 – It’s Complicated
Remember that song, “The hip bone’s connected to the leg bone?” Well, I’m learning that achieving and maintaining good health is a very interconnected and complicated thing, much more so that that cute little song would imply. Add to that the avalanche of information (and misinformation) that is available to us within a split second google search, and it confirms the need to have someone in your corner who does this for a living and with a personalized, integrative approach.
I haven’t really mentioned what follows in my blog posts yet, but within the last 18 months, I had gone down a rather unpleasant rabbit hole health-wise, despite doing all the things I thought were right. My generation was taught that if you just eat “right” and exercise, you will be healthy. Well, it’s simply not that simple.
I’ll spare you most of the ugly details, but I landed in a place where I had the kind of anxiety that wakes you up in the middle of the night clutching your chest, days where all I could do is sit on the couch and cry, a scales that nearly went through the bathroom window and landed in my neighbor’s yard, and lots of other symptoms that aren’t nearly as fun as these. I couldn’t understand what was happening, especially the depression part. How could I be crying all the time when I have such an awesome freaking life? It actually added to the depression because I felt guilty for being so sad when others have life so much worse. It just wasn’t making sense to me.
I went to the female family doc that I had been going to for the better part of 20 years, and quite frankly, came away even more distraught. “Well, you’re in your 50s. Welcome to it. And you think you’ve got it bad, I’ve gained more weight that you have.” Not exactly the help I was looking for. (The nurse then came in and pointed out that she had us both beat when it came to weight gain.) Needless to say, it became very clear that I needed to find another practice.
I found a holistic doc right around the corner from my house who I interviewed. It was all going pretty well until he said that he needed $2000 up front and that wouldn’t include labs, supplements, etc. Also not helpful.
Fortunately, I was then referred to Dr. Gary Huber, an integrative doc in Cincinnati, about a 40 minute drive from my house. Did I really want to start driving that far? Heck yes, if he could get things turned around for me. And thankfully, that’s how it’s all playing out.
When was the last time you sat down with a doctor who asked you about everything that’s going on, not just the one thing you told the receptionist when you booked your appointment? When was the last time you got a full hour with your health professional and then an additional 30 minutes with a nutritionist?
I had never thought about having this kind of relationship with my healthcare professional, especially while being treated for something that was relatively minor. It was a total change in perspective – truly personalized care without the doc’s hand on the doorknob while I was explaining my symptoms. That’s what healthcare SHOULD be about, and it’s sad to me that this is such a unique experience. But hopefully it’s the wave of the future and people will start demanding it of their docs.
Dr. Huber dug deep into what was going on with me, spirit/mind/body, and to cut to the chase, it was all fixable and in pretty short order. But the biggest thing is, it was fixable with NO MEDICATIONS. Yes, that’s right, Big Pharma. No meds. Turns out I had a thyroid issue, hormonal imbalance (shocking, right?), sleep issues, and a splash of insulin resistance for good measure. With supplements, a change in diet and a lot of education, I’m happy to report that three months later I’m feeling better than I have in years and have reversed the weight gain. We’re still working on the sleep issues, but it’s definitely better than the nights where I would be awake for 4-5 hours straight. And did I mention, no meds?
I’m a firm believer that every challenge presents an opportunity. Had it not been for that miserable time of life, I would have not been pushed to find a better doc. And had it not been for that better doc and the programs he offers, I would not be in the Virtuoso Program and I wouldn’t be sharing my learnings via this blog. So while I don’t ever want to go back to that state of being that I was in previously, I am grateful for the outcomes that emerged as a result.
And speaking of gratitude, here are the three things I am grateful for today:
- A new model and relationship with my doctor
- My Ninja blender for making my delicious smoothies
- My happier, healthier self
Have a great week!