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Recover from Fibromyalgia
A quick note: I now have my fibro blog set up on fibromyalgiahope.com. If you sign up for the RSS feed (directions available on website) you can be notified whenever any new information is posted to my blog including any new or revised pages on my website. It's a great tool to get the latest information sent directly to you, instead of having to check back and find out if there's anything new that will support your recovery.
I was trying to think how I could most support you this month in your journey to wellness. So, I decided to address some do's and don'ts for doctor visits.
How do you talk to your doctor? How do you get him or her to provide the right tests and medications? Is there a way you can give them information without them taking offense? How do you ask informed questions without seeming like you are trying to diagnose yourself (which can really anger them)? How do you know if you have the right doctor?
Honestly, I don't have all the answers here. But I will go through some hints and tips for dealing with your doctors, along with pointing out the limitations of your doctor and where you need to put the responsibility back on yourself.
Here's your first responsibility: to choose a doctor that you are comfortable with so that you will tell him or her everything that's going on. If you leave out stuff about your health, you are not allowing your doctor the benefit of the whole picture. You make their job more difficult. I think it's important to get a second opinion, too. Doctors are not perfect.
Now, I understand that not everyone has a choice of which doctor to go to. Your choices can be limited by where you live or by your insurance company. That is something that you can deal with or try to change. You can make a request of your insurance company to add more doctors. You can ask around for doctors that other people recommend.
To me, the right doctor will spend 30-60 minutes on your first visit finding out your medical history--what you've tried before--as well as your current symptoms and concerns. This step can be done by a nurse, too, but make sure that your concerns and questions are written down in notes for the doctor to see.
Go into your doctor with a list of what you want to discuss. You can be building this list for days ahead of time so that you remember everything you would like to discuss. Or you may be writing your list in the waiting room just before you get called in. (Especially helpful when you forget the list you already made!) Better some notes than none at all.
The doctor may be a little impatient when you bring out a list, but stand up for yourself and let them know that you need these questions answered. And if you don't understand the answer, ask more questions. This is as simple as, "What do you mean by that?" or "I don't understand that. Can you explain it another way?". You must be pro-active!
Most doctors are taught to give a medication that treats (covers up) a symptom. This medication often comes with side effects, some tolerable, some not. Right? If one of your goals is to be on as few medications as possible, with the least amount of side effects, your doctor needs to know this. But please do not go off medications without doctor approval.
Bring in all of your medications and herbs so you can make sure that nothing you are taking will be dangerous together or cancel out the positive effects of each other. (If you are taking whole food supplements, you don't have to worry about interactions because they are just food.) Then, make sure you know why you are taking each medication. What symtpoms are they supposed to help? Tell you doctor if the side effects are bothering you. There is almost always an alternative medication that the doctor can try.
Ask for tests that rule out cancer, heart problems, thyroid problems--everything more serious than fibromyalgia. Although I feel all of these conditions can be helped by nutrition, there may be acute problems that need immediate attention.
Ask what your TSH level is from a blood test for your thyroid. If it is higher than 2, check out my thyroid page. I've heard of people boosting their thyroid naturally and even getting off thyroid medication. If you are interested, contact me and I can tell you how other people have done it.
I think hormone levels like estrogen, progesterone, testosterone are important. But before using hormone replacement--even if it's natural hormone replacement--you need to clean out your liver first. This may solve your problem, so contact me if you'd like to do this. A liver cleanse can cost hundreds of dollars. The one I recommend is about $40 a month.
On a final note, your doctor cannot cure you of fibromyalgia, just like I cannot cure you. He or she is not going to have a magic pill to make it all better. Doctors are not God.
Healing is part of your own responsibility. How do you do that? Get the toxins out and the good food and nutrients in, so your body can heal. Stop smoking, stop drinking, get clean air and water, eat whole, raw, organic foods, get movement in your daily life. The concepts are simple, but the act of making all of these changes isn't, is it?
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