Big Problems and Slow Solutions / Rants and Silver Linings

The Right Doctor at the Right Time

I am changing doctors again which, for me at least, can be a stressful time filled with second guessing. (My autocorrect just changed that to streusel time and wouldn’t it be great if every stressful time was indeed streusel time? Especially if I could eat streusel?) I started working with Dr. Grace Ziem in 2009 and have experienced a significant decrease in chemical sensitivity during my time using her sensitization protocol. There have been quite a few ups and downs, rather than steady improvement but that is primarily my fault since I would get so excited about my new tolerance that I would push my boundaries too far and relapse. While the chemical sensitivities are much better than they were, my food sensitivities have gotten steadily worse. Sometimes it feels like I have traded one set of limitations for another. But the basic fact is that I can be in more chemically laden environments with significantly fewer reactions than I could 5 years ago. So that’s a win.

Chemically laden movie theater with kids.

Chemically laden movie theater with kids.

Chemically laden salon for my son's hair cut.

Chemically laden salon for my son’s hair cut.

Chemically laden doctor's office with my daughter.

Chemically laden doctor’s office with my daughter.

Given enough time, avoidance of triggers, and the pillars of good health (balanced nutrition, clean water and air, regular exercise and rest) I believe everyone with a chemical injury can win to some degree. But then we all have individual needs that require medical intervention and that gets tricky as our needs vary quite a bit from person to person and at different stages in our lives. For example, I definitely needed to do an intensive detoxification stay at a clinic to get started. I needed to do chelation for a few years to remove the heavy metal before my body could start healing. I needed to do some micro-managed nutritional therapy (like Ziem’s protocol) before I could balance my nutrition through diet. But I don’t need to do all those things all the time or for the rest of my life.

Think I might always need my sauna.  Love my sauna.

Think I might always need my sauna. Love my sauna.

I believe I have reached a sense of completion with my previous health plan. Dr. Ziem has done all for my body that she can and I have completed the healing steps that she is skilled at directing. Whatever guidance might still be relevant for my situation is outweighed by the inconvenience of a long distance relationship with this particular physician. I have to travel, involving plane, rental car, and hotel, once a year to see her in person and that exposure always sets my health back a bit. The phone call appointments we have can be tricky for clear conversation, her partial retirement means fewer available appointments, and she has less time for new research. I feel a little disloyal even considering the notion of not being under her care. She has truly lived up to that antiquated phrase, in that she has really cared for me. I am grateful to her in a way that exceeds any financial compensation I gave over the years.

I have, under the direction of my local primary care physician, started working with a nutritionist. I am hoping that as a team (physician, nutritionist, and myself) we can build a long range preventative plan and be also prepared to intervene in urgent situations. I have been working with the primary care physician for almost a year and the nutritionist for six months so I have not been attempting to fly without a net. I now trust them to really listen to me and be prepared to search out new information and they trust me to be my own best prepared advocate. I am also sure if anything comes up that my local team cannot handle, Dr Ziem will graciously take my call and try to help. Yet I find it all unsettling. I must admit that I am a bit scared to shift my main health care to people whose intent I trust but who have limited experience with chemical injury.

New problem, old eyes.

New problem, old eyes. Which means red eyes if not artificially lubricated.

New problem, spreading food allergies.  Which means rice and nuts fro breakfast.

New problem, spreading food allergies. Which means rice and nuts for breakfast.

I have always found the onion metaphor rather apt for TILT. We resolve one layer of health problems just to discover another layer that needs addressing. You can’t really get to the underneath layers until you remove the top one. I have comforted myself with that model as I minimized varying chemical reactions and other health problems emerged. It was easier to see the new problems as being revealed because with that theory I might eventually get all the health problem layers removed and be …cured, healthy, better, able to eat streusel? Instead, ever since I turned 40 a few years ago, I have had to admit that the onion model is not quite right. I simply have new problems. Actually, I am getting older problems, in that they are age related.

Regardless, I need to be flexible and responsive to my body’s changing needs. Hopefully I have spent enough years learning about chemical injury and advocating for myself in that role that I can continue to do so with less professional expertise in that specific area. I have spent no time learning about eye problems and apparently not enough time learning about food intolerances so I need some profession help there. Written here, it all sounds rather logical and comes together in a smart plan. Here is where the second guessing comes in – I worry that my intention is not as true as I have rationalized it here. What if I am changing doctors just for the sake of a desperate wild goose chase and a never ending cycle of new treatments? It’s enough to make a girl want to eat streusel.

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5 thoughts on “The Right Doctor at the Right Time

  1. I still think there’s truth to the onion theory… it doesn’t mean that new issues aren’t also possible… And & And happens more often than we are prepared to believe… or want …

    Your plan does sound pretty good to me, and hopefully you find the solutions to the food issues sooner rather than later.

    You have probably looked into all the things I can think of that would be important to look into, being the thorough researcher that you are 🙂

    I am really grateful that I’ve been able to re-introduce a lot more foods (well, that is relatively speaking) this past year, after having quite a limited diet for quite a few years…

    The thing I have been most excited about (as well as ____, maybe Miss D can fill that blank in for me) are my kefir grains and organic goat milk kefir that they produce for me (tastes a lot like the buttermilk I grew up with)… and some of the 2nd ferments, blueberry especially – create such joy in my mouth! I seem to be feeling better too in ways I haven’t quite been able to put my fingers on…

    Since I haven’t been able to consume dairy in so many years, this is really a huge treat for me… and the people who are into fermented and cultured foods and drinks all swear that they can heal everything, and they get so excited about all their pet projects, it’s really kind of fun to see 😀

    • Oooo, dairy! I have hopes of getting some kefir and other fermented/cultured foods into me someday! I believe they can be very healing and I am so glad that you can enjoy them. It is amazing how powerful a taste can be after an extended time of limited flavors. If (when) I get to that point I must make sure to take a selfie (unmasked) to document my eyes rolling back in my head!

      • Some of the 2nd ferments with blueberry and cranberry juices have had my mouth, brain, and body in near ecstasy!

        After over a year without a camera, I am being gifted one, so will try to take selfies with my kefirs when I learn how the camera works (I can’t believe I just said that… if it happens, I may or may not put them up on my blog)

        It was a looooong time with no dairy, except I’d have a bit of goat cheese a couple of times a month… I had to work up to the kefir a bit too, had way too much, and can still end up with too much… then I make pancakes!

        I really hope that you can enjoy some soon too!

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