My new integrative/functional medicine doctor ordered dozens of blood tests that show I am out of range in critical areas. For example, with no known heart disease in my family (other than when my parents were nearing their demise) I am at immediate risk for stroke or heart disease unless I do something about it. I am 52, albeit with the physical body of a 62-year-old due to the massive amounts of chemotherapy I received during my lymphoma treatment and the subsequent radioactive tests that I have been undergoing for the past 15 years.
I also learned from my lab results that:
- I am pre-diabetic. My body is not processing insulin properly. No one in my family has diabetes.
- My kidney function is extremely low.
- I have zero vitamin D even though I've been taking supplements for years.
- I have zero estrogen and progesterone - again after taking medication for at least a dozen years.
- Gastro-intestinally, I'm a mess.
- I'm dangerously dehydrated even though I drink the requisite amount of proper fluids each day.
- My body is in acute stress due to the above and is working way too hard to maintain itself.
I guess I could have told you that because of the way I've been feeling; but to see it laid out on a three-page lab results form with the highlighted out-of-range areas is quite scary and makes me angry.
Traditional medicine will wait for the stroke and then treat you. They will wait for renal failure and then start dialysis. They will let diabetes overcome before starting any kind of treatment that could prevent it from happening. Our physicians are taught to treat the event or the symptom, not to prevent any of it years before it might happen.
I asked Dr. Dalal Akoury to rate me on a scale of one to ten with ten being the worst. She gave me a seven. However, she also gave me great hope. She's created a Road Map or treatment and recovery that will address all of these areas and more. She will help me live a longer and more satisfying life and wean me off of many prescribed medications that have been doing harm to my vital organs and are, simply, no longer working.
I can't tell you exactly what she's going to do yet because while she rattled off (from her genius mind) all my treatment options, my mind was wandering. I was thinking how sad it is that everyone can't get these tests done (they cost up to $2,000) or work with a preventive medical doctor. I have elected to do this and rationalized (rightly, so) that if I can get off of just two or three chemical medications, I will save up to $400 a month in co-pays.
So what makes sense in this restless and, perhaps, reckless Obama-care state of mind? The pharmaceutical companies will continue to make tons of money. Doctors will do even less preventive medicine - if they did it at all - and treat, treat, treat. I guess it costs more to keep us alive then to have us die. I also plan to meet with my excellent and progressive-thinking cardiologist and review the blood test results with him. I want to know if he would do this same type of extensive testing if insurance companies paid for it or patients could afford it. I want to know his opinion.
As I've written before, I'm baring the good, bad and ugly of this new medical journey of mine. As a 'professional patient,' my modus operandi is to take the lead, even when I'm too damn tired to do so. I'm placing my very life in the cradle of a new type of medicine that is really 'old school.' Identify and fix early using the very best natural foods and plant-based medicines that are available to us. Apparently one of my intravenous treatments with Dr. Dolly (as she is affectionately known) will contain Niacin to help my digestive system, skin, and nerves to function. It is also important for converting food to energy.
As Dr. Dolly says, health is the new wealth. It is up to us to take charge of our own healthcare in whatever fashion we choose. But, make no mistake, it is up to you and you alone.
I'll let you know how it goes.
In the meantime, I hope you'll check out my new website at www.dyingtoliveamy.com. The book WILL be available soon - I promise. I just had to make sure it was perfect!