Sick model of medicine is what most physicians’ know the best. It is their game plan they use when treating you for disease, sickness and/or injury. The agenda goes like this, once they’ve treated the issue at hand, they either refer you to a ‘subcontractor like a rehabilitation therapist of some sort and/or leave you to your own devices to create a lifestyle that is conducive to maintaining maximum health if indeed there is any health to be had afterwards. That is analogous to being plopped down in the middle of a desert with a glass of water and a wish for- good luck. Bare with me… this is a bit of a long read but- it is well worth it.
The buzz words today in western medicine are: Mind, Body, and Soul in varying degrees. I am going suggest to you that, the sick model of medicine hasn’t evolved even though, you hear so much about western medicine embracing ‘psychoneuroimmunology therapy (mind-body medicine). Why do I think that? I think that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks, so to speak, as you will see.
In my story it happened like this… first, the basics. I am over 50, female, well educated, and- in good health. That means I am very conscious of LifeStyle Health-Wellness Strategies or in denial on some level (tongue and cheek), I am opting for the prior. I have watched western medicine over the years really muck it up with their style of delivery of health to countless individuals- some instances are more publicized than others. They do not know how to do it a different way because in their paradigm- they treat sickness as their primary focus, not health. They are trained to think that health is something that happens to you by chance in their world. We all know that is not true… you might not have the best genes pool which you cannot do much about, but you can do great deal about your constitution. That is why you hear today the buzz words like “biomarkers” which targets gene pool weaknesses. That is why you have ‘Functional Medicine’ that improves your constitution and embraces LifeStyle Health-Wellness Strategies for instance. Notice the average MD refers out for that and that is because they were trained in the ‘sick model of medicine’, not in health-wellness. Andrew Weil MD was one of the first Md’s thought of who wrote a book about psychoneuroimmunology therapy (mind, body medicine) – which gives the impression almost like he invented it, but that is not so. Then other Md’s saw the business opportunity at hand, and started to embrace this niche in like methods but, in reality do not believe in it. They talk the talk but, do not walk the walk. Just before prior to this period- the general community of Md’s casted out any delivery of alternative medicine even though you saw the public at large demand better information, methods and specialties that adapted to the their needs. If you did not demand it, trust me, medicine (western) would not have evolved to even the point of acknowledging ‘other’ possibilities. The advent of the use of computers (the information age) opened an abundance of information that is at your finger tips and- for free. Think ‘Google’.
Inquiring directly with your physicians and demanding to receive better information such as available alternatives, possibilities put them on notice- that the way they practiced medicine in the past is outdated. Things have changed and are constantly a changing, as is evident with the numerous national surveys that showed people get better results using other alternative and integrative medical solutions like: Chiropractic, Acupuncture, Massage, Meditation, Nutrition, and Yoga to name a few. Look at Jeff Bland PhD who coined ‘Functional Medicine’ back in the 90’s. Now there is an institute of Functional Medicine that is becoming mainstream delivery system for those who truly want to participate in LifeStyle Health-Wellness Strategies and- have the opportunity to express their optimum health. Don’t you want to have optimum health? Yes or yes. Functional Medicine takes a look at the uniqueness of each individual and how they are expressing their gene pool at a given time and then sorts out LifeStyle Health-Wellness Strategies which reduce, eliminates the expression of the epidemic chronic disease that plague us today. How fantastic is that?
So with that said- I had a recent experience that reminded me that the ‘sick medicine model’ is alive and well in western medicine and hence the incentive to write this blog… You see, I come from that Alternative and Integrative Medical Solutions Model that embraces Functional Medicine and other alternative methods as possibilities, yet- I am human too and almost was wrapped up in a sick model of medicine which can put even a strong minded individual to test. I pride myself on really thinking things out, doing my research and speaking my mind- especially if someone wants to poke or prod me. No different than when I had my first mammogram (recommended yearly after the age of 40) or colonoscopy (first one at the age of 50). I think it is important to have a base line study… the age you do that is up to you. You have to really make that decision with clarity and base on facts especially if you have a family history of anything relating to weak gene pool of chronic diseases, cardiovascular disease and breast cancer for instance. In these cases for sure you would want to opt in early as opposed to later. For instance, it is recommended you have a mammogram every year. It is not diagnostic until you get past the age of 50- that is what the research claims. Why on God’s green earth would you allow someone to ‘smash and damage’ breast tissue and then radiate the hell out of it which exposes you to more radiation on a yearly bases. An over exposure of radiation has been shown to lead to cancer. Now if you have a family history of breast cancer- then that changes it. You can however get a Thermogram which is as based on my readings as effective as a mammogram and– no, radiation. Ask for it, no- demand it. Do the research.
On the topic of colonoscopy by ‘that age of 50’ I faltered on my base line. I did it instead at the age of 56. I do not have a family history of cancer and had no digestive symptoms- period. I also justified that being an ‘alternative physician’ that actually practiced what I preached- I justified that wait. What one has to remember is the basic definition of health-Dorland’s Medical Dictionary (used by all teaching medical institutions) states that Health is a state it “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Webster’s Dictionary states it is a condition that the organs are functioning 100% of the time which refers to the general condition of the body or mind with reference to soundness and vigor. What is important in these two definitions is that is clear that the absence of the expression of disease (no symptoms) does not mean you have good health.
That first colonoscopy will definitively tell you how your colon measures up after so many years of eating a diet you were told has been good for you. Or has it been good for you? You wonder bread fans- beware if you have been eating a ‘typical American diet’- you ought to be scared- you could have a cathartic experience. For me, my base line study was last November, 2010- remember I had no medicine growing up and only took antibiotics maybe 3 times in 56 years. The results were only 3 small pockets that were so small that the attending nurse was surprised the Md even mentioned them. I did however have a variant that they suggested I get checked out… and that was an ‘eccentric bulge of the cecum’ which means that it is like a ball caved in on itself. It was recommended that I have a pelvic ultrasound (no radiation) or a cat scan (radiation). Being that we live in such bombardment of some variation of radiation daily, I opted for the pelvic ultrasound. And- for peace of mind (very powerful) – I wanted to know. The results of the colonoscopy- was great, my next one- due in 10 years.
I scheduled my pelvic ultrasound and that is when I was reminded once again of the ‘sick model of medicine’ which showed me there was no shift in the paradigm of western medicine and how they approached health. That is why I believe going to see a doctor can kill you- so the ‘fun’ began. To be clear here I just want it on the record that I do not advocate not ever going to see a doctor. I do however advocate going with ammunition and knowledge so that when you demand accurate information, you get the answers you need so you can make educated decisions is right for you- is your right not to be intimidated by ‘the’ white coat. In western medicine- they are taught to look and seek ‘what is wrong with you’. They are trained to look for what is not working. In some cases I have personally witnessed an underlying disappointment if they do not find something. If they do not know an answer or they get to a point they do not know what to do- they feel like they have to do something and that usually means they operate. How permanent is that? Or, they drug you- I mean poison you: Dr Mayo of the Mayo Clinic once said that the very same drug that helps some are poison and can kill another’s. How can a person of 200 lbs need the same dose as a 100 lbs person? Take for example we have come to see as a norm- think TV adverts! Have you ever listened, really listen to long lists of side-effects if you take that drug? All are worse than the actual disease! Why did you get that ‘disease’ in the first place? Why are they not addressing the cause and looking to just the symptoms? Pay attention to that next drug avert and ponder this… how does this sick the model of medicine permeate TV time in this day and time of the informational revolution and not giving better options? They are praying on your insecurities and weakness… in my view this is unconscionable.
My saga in the ‘sick model of medicine’ continues. I had the pelvic ultrasound at prominent local hospital and was escorted in the room, given a gown to put on and told to disrobe below the belt. They explained nothing of the procedure, the technique, the cost of any sort or what was involved. I have issue with this. In every other health care profession- you have to post your cost to procedures including the patient Bill of Rights. It is clear they exist and enforceable, but not in western medicine. They did two procedures. I was under the assumption I was having one. I only found out only when I was billed. On investigation with a sister hospital and medical staff I discovered that only one of the procedures was really necessary to get the ‘preliminary’ information needed. Remember- I hadn’t symptoms what so ever regarding the pelvic or woman’s problems- so doing an additional procedure, one can assume that it was a monetary reason, much like winning the lottery.
Suddenly- for them the alarms went off because they noticed that the uterus lining (endometrial lining) was thickened. They asked me repetitiously – do I take hormones at least- 8 times. My answer 8 times was- no. Then I admitted on second thought that it could be a–yes, because I eat American food. That is a story for another blog, but I can guarantee you, if you eat somewhere in between the East and West coast in America, your food is laced with hormones. I asked if I could see the image- the answer was- no even though by this time I told them I was a physician. When asked why the lining would be thickened, they came up with polyps (growths- can be cancerous/or- not), or it was a normal variant and they were closed mouthed. They said they would send the results over to my Md but, I would have to talk to him to find out anymore- once again western medicine lack of humanness expressed itself. I immediately ignored them and requested a copy of the report (on test like this they read them at the time of doing them) and I went on the internet to make sure, I had all my information- before I saw my Md a day later, who by the way is way smart, but an alarmist. It was not his fault, his behavior the end product as the result of how he was taught to believe and act in his teaching environment.
At my Md’s a day later, he told me that the same thing the tech did who did the ultrasound- and that was that the endometrial wall was thickened (7mm, 1-5mm is normal for postmenopausal women) and then made a recommendation for a biopsy. I asked if it could be a normal variant and he rolled his eyes and chose his words carefully- and said, yes. That was hard for him to say. His choices for me were- I could have another ultrasound in 4 months or I could have the biopsy. In the meanwhile if I have any bleeding I would have to have a biopsy/hysterectomy (bleeding after menopause is not a good sign and a big red flag) immediately. Now get this… I was in amazement… going from a colonoscopy to talk about a hysterectomy in 3 weeks, and I had no symptoms scared me and for myself, I chose the biopsy… my reasoning has always been, that thoughts have such power and I did not want to have ruminating in the back of my mind- what if and manifest the worse. I decided knowing was more valuable, productive and-yes, powerful.
To have the biopsy it would require another procedure and couldn’t be done that day… not surprised. It occurred to me since they knew what the report said… and the biopsy was a real possibility why not schedule the time needed when they gave me the results of the ultrasound? Time management is not their strong suit and for sure they do not care about your schedule and other components were in play- what crossed my mind the almighty buck.
I scheduled the biopsy but, in the meanwhile, I decided to get a second opinion (which I highly recommend- period). After asking some medical people I actually trust, I chose a woman obgyn. On first meeting she time managed the situation well and tried to do that procedure but, it was noted that the cervix and it passage to the uterus (endometrial lining) was stenosed (closed) significantly and ended that attempt. Now, a surgical biopsy had to take place under anesthesia and guided ultrasound. It is easy to get the idea how this is escalating…yes or yes? As time wore on the drama and urgency they created for me were getting out of hand- the insinuation now was that the main cause of the endometrial wall thickening was- cancer although, no proven yet.
Can you imagine what goes on in your minds when the average person hears this… no matter what they say, you hear death sentence. It is like you already bought it lock, stock and barrel? I chose to stay with my model of medicine that works for me and that was- until I have better information the jury is out. I do not allow myself to presume when it comes to my health, I only accept current and accurate knowledge. I started listening at a- distance and ignoring ‘their’ high level of urgency. Think about it… it is urgent, but- sorry we cannot get you in for a month? The emotional impact and frustration in and of itself if you own it can be deadly. Between the two Md’s I was dealing with, I chose who ever could do the surgical biopsy sooner- it was the second opinion Md.
Surgical biopsies are done under anesthesia which I do not like because I do not react well to it. There are unnecessary side-effects. After the anesthesia for the colonoscopy, for instance, was memory loss, something I cannot afford. Thus you can see why I would not recommend general anesthesia from my personal experience for anyone for in this scenario. I would recommend a MAC. You are alert and aware the whole time and can hear what is being said about- YOU. Do you know why they do not want you aware during surgery? They say so you are comfortable and do not feel anything… I am sure you can read between the lines here. For me- I insisted that I would have a Mac.
On the day of the surgical biopsy… all necessary people in place and the procedure went without a hitch. The bottom line is after all of this, the Md who performed the procedure on getting the results did not take enough tissue samples as stated in the pathology report and recommended to repeat the procedure. I was hopeful that the result was clearer. I wanted to scream when it wasn’t. The Md who performed relied on that she has performed many of these before and felt she had enough of a sample- I do have to say, she expounded on the fact that it ‘took longer’ that she expected for the procedure which gave me the impression by the verbiage she used ‘to defend’ her not getting tissue sample that she was being rushed out of the room. That was the only negative of the experience. You have to remember that I am postmenopausal… there would not be much of an endometrial wall to begin with- hence the absence of adequate tissue sample as a possible scenario would be the norm- meaning that it is a normal variant. She told me directly she was going to consult with an oncologist she deals with all the time who told her to repeat the ultrasound in 4 months. After all- it was pointed out that I do not have any symptoms and this all started from a colonoscopy, a catch-22. I went along with that. I stay clear headed and look for alternatives to support a happy uterus (endometrial lining). I followed my own advice and made some LifeStyle Health-Wellness Strategies. I found a product that helps promote alkalinity of the body (which is a healthier body), my research leads me to clean my diet up- I eliminate ALL- Dairy and SOY. The research on how soy is linked to cancer is scary, especially with it being promoted from the western medical model. I increased exercising and I decided to eliminate- negative people from my immediate surrounds. In any event no matter the outcome- all good choices.
Speeding up to April of this year- I have repeated the ultrasound. Results were status quo… no difference from the original ultrasound but in this scenario- making “the call” harder. First, the second ultrasound was only one procedure- was asked why not the two procedures as was in the first ultrasound, as I explained before, it was not necessary and they had no idea why they would of done both procedures when one is all in their opinion necessary for a woman who was after all- postmenopausal and the test was for a preliminary look. Secondarily, the measurement of the endometrial lining was the same… that is a good sign. The second opinion Md said at this time something in the line of… ‘you know, in my gut I feel you are okay, but- there is nothing to confirm this here and she felt that feel that I had the following choices…
First- do nothing. You were going along your merry way and with no symptoms. The issue here was found because of something else- you have no symptoms. (this was looking to have merit- but that voice in my head the one that needs to know would not shut up, do this was a no go!)
Second- have a hysterectomy. Even the Md noted that she felt too drastic a measure at this time and a ‘big’ surgery. (not even on the table for me for options)
Third- see an oncologist for their opinion ( I called and that would like opening a new can of worms… remember they a box for you to fit in and if not, they will find something to fit you in- I felt here that this was putting the car before the horse, another no go at this time).
Fourth- follow up with regular pelvic ultrasounds. (if you are always looking, you will find. A possibility, but is the easy way out (a wait and see) – a no go)
Fifth- repeat the surgical biopsy, as it was noted that was the recommendation of the pathologist. I decided to do this option, because I want to quiet the voice in my head and I want to know. I decided to have my regular obgyn do the procedure as I lost confidence in the obgyn who performed the initial one for already said reasons. That is scheduled just in the immediate future- so we will see).
In the sick model of medicine- as just described above, the only time anyone bothered to look at the cause of the problem is when I took it into my own hands and searched out reason and rhymes. I was never at the prompting of my Md’s involved in this story or should I say saga encouraged to seek other possibilities. Persistence is one of my virtues- if there is a will, there is a way. I ask many questions (who-what-when-where-why-how), I listen for the in between the line answers and I approach each and every situation with apprehension. If I do not understand something said- I ask for a repeat in verbiage until I do understand. I seek knowledge bases solutions and only listen to those who have my best interest at heart… me included! That means everything said to me regarding my health and treatment of any condition need to be crystal clear and in English so I can make decisions based on accurate information. It is my right to have and achieve optimum health- and it is yours also. It amazes me still in this day and time when western medicine is touting psychoneuroimmunology therapy (mind-body medicine) why they choose not to look at and/or implement safe LifeStyle Health-Wellness Strategies for Alternative and Integrative Medicine Solutions. It makes me curious as to what is there fear in really embracing or truly understanding on a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual realm and looking out of the box.
I hope my story inspires you towards your greatest health so you do not get caught up in the medical catch-22 and get the answers you need health when you do not have the answers and strategies you need to protect yourself. Do yourself a favor… always seek the truth and see a knowledgeable and trusted LifeStyle Health-Wellness Strategist who has your best interest at heart. In fact if you have any question, have had the a ‘Sick Model of Medicine experience’ I want to hear your story…. leave a comment.
If you are in the midst of a Sick Model of Medicine experience now… contact me for a FREE 30 minute consult with no obligation. If we continue after the first 30 minutes, there would be a normal charge. I can advocate for and mentor you for success… together we can sort out your problem and offer LifeStyle Health-Wellness Strategies to enhance your health… and perhaps, save it! As I said, the first 30 minutes of are free… email me your information firstname.lastname@example.org so we can arrange a convenient time! Do it now-
Dr Pat B