This post originally appeared on DC Metro Moms on August 19, 2009
Let patients get the full picture
“This is why health care costs are so high,” hissed my endocrinologist when she looked at the results of the labwork my holistic physician had ordered. To her, the additional blood tests were a waste of time and money. But the information – a full, more complete picture of my thyroid levels and antibody levels– helped me to get better. And whose fault is it that the tests cost a lot in the first place?
At the time, I was dealing with autoimmune thyroiditis. I sought help from alternative health care providers in addition to the endocrinologist. She spent a short amount of time with me, mostly hunched over her prescription pad figuring out how to alter the dosage of my medicine. By contrast, the holistic physician spent close to an hour talking to me to explain in great detail – even drawing me graphs – how the chemicals in my body were working together – or not working so great, as the case was. With his help, I came to understand what was going on in my body, which helped me to heal.
So what is a waste of money? Time to talk with a patient? Time spent to investigate lifestyle choices that might make a huge impact?
Without the advice of a nutritionist, I might have never figured out that I had both casein intolerance and gluten sensitivity on its way to celiac disease, both problems undetected by gastroenterologists. And both problems long in the making that could have been part of my developing thyroid disorders — Graves’ Disease (autoimmune hyperthyroidism) and Hashimoto’s Disease (autoimmune hypothyroidism).
Without the help of acupuncture and craniosacral therapy, I don’t think I could have learned how to make the kinds of inner shifts toward a calmer mind that I believe were critical to my disease going in remission and my fertility returning such that I was able to have a healthy pregnancy.
The holistic physician helped me utilize the standard medication I needed but also taught me how to rebuild my whole body health such that my body could help heal itself. He – a trained MD – and another practitioner trained in BioSET allergy elimination and other energy healing modalities both came to the same conclusions about herbs and supplements that would support my thyroid and my adrenals.
To these folks I am grateful. To them – and to other alternative healers – I paid hundreds and hundreds of dollars out of pocket. The endocrinologist’s fees were covered by insurance. All the labwork was covered at the time, but now that my consultant husband is self-employed and self-insured, I have no coverage for anything thyroid-related. None.
So far, I haven’t needed coverage. I am many times healthier now than I was before I figured out how sick I was five years ago. I get discounted tests from a holistic MD, and we (currently, luckily) have the ability to afford healthy, organic food and alternative health therapies (whenever I can get childcare to schedule them, that is).
But why is true healing available only to the privileged? Can we please get away from a medical culture that sees dollar signs in prescriptions for drugs that might not be necessary if we looked further into the whole picture of a person?