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.
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.
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.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.