Modern Medical “Practice”

With the growing wealth of information available at the click of a button, many doctors warn about the danger of self-diagnosis. Medical websites continually stipulate that nothing beats seeing a doctor to receive a proper diagnosis. I’m not a doctor, so legally I have to say, “Go see a professional.” But I have become so jaded by the modern state of the “Medical Practice” that I’m all but done with doctors. If nothing else, do your research. Be pro-active in your own health and wellness. Know what questions to ask and when to ask for a new doctor.

Why so Disenchanted?
I’m tired of being “Practiced” on.

My Personal Experiences:
I’m a 26 year old woman. I have been experiencing migraines with varying symptoms since I was 12, but was only diagnosed 2 years ago when I suffered a severe ocular migraine that almost had me rushing to the ER. I experienced about 15-20 minutes of loss of vision in my left peripheral. After it subsided, I suffered a severe left-side-only headache for the next 3 days. I was on the phone for 2 hours the following morning trying to get a hold of a doctor to see if I should come in for an eye exam or a CAT scan to rule out glaucoma or mini-stroke. When I finally had an optometrist on the line, her simple response was “You suffered an ocular migraine.” Oh. Well..

Allow me to give a little more history.
Three years prior to this incident, I was suffering frequent silent migraines. I would get dizzy, nauseous, and even faint, tremor, and lose speech. I was tested for hypoglycemia, and the tests were inconclusive. My doctor said, and I quote “It’s all in your head.”

Well it was, just not how she meant it. I wish she had had the wherewithal to have sent me to another doctor for further testing, but instead she just shrugged it off. So I lived with it, until things got worse.

After my phone diagnosis (the first successful point in this whole ordeal) I saw a doctor for treatment. I was having a hard time pinpointing my food triggers at the time, and was missing a lot of work. I was put on propranolol, which is a generic high blood pressure medication FDA approved to treat migraines as a preventative. It works by lowering your overall blood pressure. It mildly reduced the number and severity, but it wasn’t enough. Furthermore, I was beginning to suffer from depression (common side effect) and I was always cold and tired. I took myself off the drugs (I hate drugs anyway. My body is not a chemistry play set.) and resolved to more carefully document my every migraine and my every meal. Eventually I found that the MSG content in Mayo was my main issue.

Now, with a more careful diet that eliminates MSG, soy (which means almost no processed foods whatsoever), onions, and artificial sweeteners, I have gone from 3 migraines a week to 2 migraines a month. As a woman, one of those migraines is essentially unavoidable. Hormonal changes that cause migraines are just a part of life for me, but a more bearable disturbance than the previous frequency.

My Husband’s Experiences:
My husband is allergic to dairy. No, not lactose intolerant. Many people get these things confused. He has a significant allergic reaction to dairy.

A little history.
My husband has suffered difficulty swallowing for several years. Before we started dating, he experienced a choking episode on a corn chip. Shortly after we started dating, he began to have difficulty eating foods with texture and substantial density, like meat. As it got worse, noodles, rice, everything solid became difficult. We rushed him to the ER on two separate occasions because he was having difficulty breathing or swallowing, and they simply said there was nothing they could do. If there is nothing they can do, then why did we get a $1000 bill?

He is 6 feet tall and was down to 125 lbs and a liquids-only diet by the time a doctor had referred him to a throat specialist. He was told he had eosinophilic esophagitis, which is a collection of white blood cells in the rings of the throat, causing constriction. He had surgery to have his throat dilated 3 times over the course of 3 years, and never did they mention the usual underlying cause: Food Allergy.

Each subsequent surgery helped a great deal. He gained back most of the lost weight, but he was still suffering. One day, he experienced a severe nose bleed that wouldn’t stop, so we went to the ER. He passingly mentioned EE, and the doctor said, “Oh, I used to have that.” “What do you mean ‘used to’?” “It’s an allergic response, usually to food. Find out what you are allergic to and cut it out of your diet.”

What a ton of bricks came crashing down on us at that moment. We sat and thought for only a few minutes before the line of reasoning went to:

  • My husband’s mother is lactose intolerant.
  • Recent studies suggest that women that avoid certain foods during pregnancy are more likely to have children allergic to those foods they avoided.
  • He must be allergic to milk.

We set about a milk avoidance diet for him straight away. He immediately noticed his throat hurt less, he experienced less stomach and intestinal upset, and was gaining weight again. After almost a year of a nearly milk-free diet, he scheduled an allergy prick test to see if there was anything else that might be causing him trouble. The doctor told him the tests are inconclusive. He could pursue further testing, but they, too, are considered inconclusive. At that point, why bother?

He is noticing that he is slowly becoming more sensitive. Processed foods with small amounts of milk cooked in that he was able to eat a few months ago are now causing his throat to hurt almost immediately. His response has become severe enough that he did need to seek a doctor for one particular thing that only a doctor could provide: a prescription for an EpiPen.

More Recently:
So, remember those migraines? I’ve suffered a malady of other small issues my entire life that doctors have always just shrugged and said “It’s just your body, every body is different.” Severe nosebleeds, slow clotting, easy bruising, cold hands, irregular, heavy menses, debilitating menstrual cramping, difficulty gaining weight (prior to use of the birth control pill). Hm.

I’ve started to have a strong aversion to eating out. Anywhere. It seams as though I am constantly getting mild food poisoning. Or am I? I’ve been noticing over the course of the last couple months that I sometimes have to clear my throat for a couple hours after eating, followed by severe intestinal upset the next few days. I recently read that most people with milk allergy experience excessive phlegm and intestinal upset from their allergy, and that gluten allergy is the same. Being a lifelong drinker of large glasses of milk, I knew milk wasn’t the issue. The next few times I ate bread, I paid very close attention to my throat, and noticed (more severely with wheat than white) a slowly increasing tension and phlem build up after just a few bites.

After a little research, I found that most of my other maladies, as well as my migraines, could be attributed to Celiac Disease (gluten allergy). Time to get more aggressive with our diets. Between the two of us, groceries are quickly reducing to fresh fruit, veggies, and meat only. At least we are eating healthier.

Doctors are useful (when they know what they are talking about), but I don’t need to line their pocketbooks to figure out every little thing that is wrong with my body.


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