Thousands, if not millions of people suffer from autoimmune diseases, which are defined as any disease in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells. Each of us who has one or more autoimmune diseases feel like we are alone because the problems are rarely visible to others. Due to social media we can finally reach out to others and compare doctors, vitamins, voodoo tinctures, books and ideas. But we still suffer in silence because we don’t LOOK sick so we must be faking it, right?
We are your neighbors, your nurses, your relatives and are usually but not always women. It begs the question, what exactly is in our environment, in our food that is slowly killing us? There are several theories thrown around on social media but one thing is evident. When it comes to a cure the medical society looks the other way, shrugs its shoulders, offers drugs for depression or suggests a relaxing walk along the beach. More and more of us are venturing off into alternative medicine for answers.
Supposedly while I was in college I had mononucleosis. Really? Seems like I would remember such a notable malady. Nevertheless, I’m told that is why I now test positive for the Epstein Barr virus, which can exhibit as exhaustion.
In the early 1990’s a doctor told me I had Grave’s disease, with my thyroid working overtime. I was told I HAD to have radioactive iodine therapy to kill off part of my thyroid to bring it down to normal levels. In the process my thyroid was slammed down to barely working at all. There are few things in my past that I regret. But having RAI was a bad decision for me.
Since then I’ve searched the medical field for doctors who understand how to treat thyroid problems. One thing became apparent. Endocrinologists are the most useless and disliked doctors in the medical field. They only believe in one method of treatment, a synthetic hormone called Synthroid, a T4 only drug. It made me sick and led to me finding a natural supplement and a great Naturopath in Portland, Oregon. Unfortunately I moved across the country a decade ago and my wonderful Naturopath has since died. My life has never been the same.
When I moved to Florida I had a bone marrow biopsy to investigate my continued problem with exhaustion and discovered that I have a genetic problem with anemia. When you have a genetic problem you have to live with the cards you’re dealt. I was offered a cancer drug as a possible help for my anemia but declined it because it had a low success rate and I worried about the drug’s side effects.
So now I pretty much have a “sucks to be you” conglomeration of autoimmune diseases. My platelets are low and my white blood cell count is low but I’m told that’s no big deal. Although my thyroid is in range according to acceptable conventional medical standards I’ve learned that the levels need to be “optimal” for me to feel better. Meanwhile as I fight with doctors about doing full thyroid panels, not only TSH, I’m exhausted and it’s getting progressively worse.
I’ve spent thousands of dollars to find relief but it is apparent that conventional medical doctors could care less about women and their “issues”. We are simply advised to diet, exercise and do yoga. If only it was that easy to feel normal again. Do I sound mad? Log onto Facebook and enter into any autoimmune group and you’ll find I’m not alone. Search under Lupus, Fibromyalgia, Thyroid, Anemia, Adrenal Support, etc. We are an ever-increasing group, now including children. Yet conventional medical doctors do next to nothing. I was told recently that I should be lucky that I’m so healthy? Really?
After every dog show that I attend it takes between 24 to 48 hours for me to recuperate. That’s one to two days I lose from exhaustion, two days of sitting around doing nothing. I took a recent trip to southern Florida to show my beautiful, talented Border Collie and was gone for five days. When I got out of the car at home and walked up to the mailbox I could barely walk. My neighbor saw me and later remarked on how bad I looked. I’m not faking it. I’m tired. I’m also mad. No conventional medical doctors will help me because they are stumped. They don’t know why so many people are suffering. They can only throw drugs at us and hope we go away. Does anyone care?
It’s time for me to set aside my dog shows and spend some time, money and effort on finding the best alternative doctors in the United States that I can find. I need to find someone who quite literally “gives a shit” about their patient’s healthcare. Conventional medical doctors are constricted by their backers, the drug companies who sponsor the medical universities. But I see more and more conventional doctors losing patients to naturopathic, homeopathic, holistic, and functional medicine.
My current physician’s assistant told me recently that she can only do what she is allowed to do. She can only order so many tests without getting in trouble herself with the insurance companies and the people who pay her salary.
It tears me up to quit dog showing for now but I’m so damn tired and cannot force myself to drive to another show. I need answers. We who have autoimmune disorders need and deserve answers. My suffering is real. I’m devastated to have to take time from a sport that I love. But I quite literally can’t go another step without help.
If you have any suggestions for alternative doctors let me know. I’m in NW Florida but I’m willing to drive or fly to someone who will help me.