Paleo – The Doc Who Speaks Paleoenglish

Well, I finally did it!  I went to a Paleo doctor. Well, in this case, she was a physician’s assistant.  It doesn’t matter to me.  I think this has potential to be life changing good.  The coolest thing ever was just speaking to a member of the medical establishment who spoke Paleoenglish.  I could understand her.  She could understand me.  I didn’t have to explain my diet to her (although I did take a list of foods I eat and avoid).  It was just cool.

Here’s the bummer part.  I had to go in a fasted state, which also meant no morning medications.  I’ve been taking a medication for low T3 (for some reason my body is not converting T4 to T3, and this has caused some major symptoms like long heavy periods, severe word retrieval problems, weight gain, poor sleep, fatigue, etc…)  Low T3 was the main reason for my visit.  Anyway, the T3 med is apparently the only way I function in the morning now.  I didn’t take it until after the appointment and EEEKS!  By the time I got to the doc’s office (90 minutes away for a 9:30 appointment), I was almost crying (for reasons I don’t know).  My brain was going 100 MPH, but I couldn’t pull up the words I wanted, so I was talking in circles a lot.  I’m sure I came across as a bit nutty. That’s ok.

Lots of tests… some new thyroid ones that I don’t think were done before (reverse T3, thyroid antibodies, A1C, insulin) and some old ones for inflammation and such.  I also have some scheduled by the endocrinologist in 2 weeks, so there will be other test results coming in too.

She recommended a thyroid scan.  If the endo doesn’t order one on the next visit, then she will.

She asked me if I had ever heard of or tried low dose Naltrexone (I heard of it, haven’t tried it).  She asked if I ever had a stool culture done (nope, despite having some extreme bowel issues about 5 years ago).  She asked me if I ever had my adrenal function tested (I hadn’t, and I brought home a kit to do so).

So, we’re starting with some blood work, a urine sample, and adrenal function.  No changes to what I’m doing yet.  She did mention trying AIP again, but when I mentioned that that was the first thing I tried when I started not feeling well, and it made me worse, we cancelled that plan for now.

I hope this post make sense.  The lack of T3 is still messing with my brain a bit, and I’m finding it hard to think and type.  More to come, I’m sure!

RA – Paleo Doctor?

So, for well over a year I’ve been thinking about seeing a functional medicine practitioner.  The one I found last fall looked great and was all about Paleo, but then she raised her rates to over $800 just for the first visit (no testing, as I’m sure would come up, was included in that price).  I put the whole thing on hold for a while.

In the meantime, my thyroid (specifically T3) has gone all crazy, which seems to have made my RA more active, and one of my two inflammation markers has been slightly elevated for the first time since going Paleo 3 years ago.  Or is it that my inflammation has gone crazy and made my T3 nutso? The endocrinologist thinks it’s the latter, but then she also said she has no idea why this is happening or how to fix it other than to add a T3 medication.  Ugh.  I’ve been feeling like my thyroid was off for well over a year, but the inflammation marker only went up 4 months ago.  I don’t know.  Maybe it doesn’t matter.

Did I ever mention that my husband has a biology degree from Johns Hopkins?  Although he decided to not go into medicine, he’s retained all that knowledge well, and is probably the most intelligent well-educated person I know, brilliant, in fact.  And he’s not a fan of alternative medicine.  Double that when insurance won’t cover it.  Still, I highly value his opinion, and he has seen what Paleo has done for me (and him), and he can’t argue that (and doesn’t).  When I bring these alternative things up, he’s much more supportive of them than before we went Paleo.  He’s still not totally on board though.

So I’ve decided that I really want to pursue the functional medicine piece.  My understanding is that they look at you much more as a total, not as a list of diseases.  Let’s face it.  Modern medicine sees me as a list of diseases, and it’s easily understood when I say that I have or have had a primary care doctor, an optometrist, opthamologist, dentist, oral surgeon, allergist, occupational therapist, certified hand therapist (yeah, they’re different than an OT), physical therapist, hand surgeon (he probably had a more sophisticated name than that, but I’ve forgotten), orthopedist (different than the hand surgeon, but same clinic), dermatologist, gastroenterologist, podiatrist, endocrinologist, and oh yeah, rheumatologist. Wow.  That’s 16. That’s embarrassing.  I didn’t even include things like pediatrician, cancer specialist (wow, that was an overblown drama as a kid…. no I didn’t have it <phew>), ER docs (3 of those I think… anaphylactic shock, miscarriage, and liver failure), boob squish technicians,  Xray technicians, radiologists, MRI technicians, CT technician, ultrasound technicians, OB-GYN etc…  OMG, this is mortifying when I list it all out.  This is seriously upsetting me! 

Ok, going back to my first list of 16, the ONLY ones that don’t necessarily relate to inflammation (for me) are my primary care physician and optometrist.  I NEED AN INFLAMMATION DOCTOR.  You can’t tell me that my gum inflammation isn’t related to my RA and Grave’s Disease and Thyroid Eye Disease and Asthma and Allergies, and weird freaky rashes, and (twice) a complete inability to poop for more than 30 days!  Why can’t all of these doctors get together and help me decrease my inflammation?  I strongly believe (and there’s certainly lots of scientific data to support) that all of this inflammation is related.  Why don’t all of these doctors of inflammation get together and have a little chat?  Because they don’t, and to think otherwise is insanity.  Really, there’s no good reason.

Last week, I called and had a free 15 minute phone consult with a registered dietician/functional medicine practitioner/Chinese medicine expert. Although she said a lot of good things (she’s heavy into food sensitivity testing), I decided to sit on the decision for a week, as I just wasn’t quite sure she was the one worthy of all of my out-of-pocket expenses.  By this week, I was less excited, as I want somebody more into Paleo expertise (she was neutral about it), into more than just food sensitivity (although I do think this could be a help, it’s not a primary focus for me), more into neurotransmitter status, and more knowledgeable about nutritional deficiencies. 

So, I went back to Google and started looking again.  I hadn’t looked at the Paleo Physicians Network recently (yeah, isn’t that cool?)  Lo and behold, there was a medical doctor with Paleo expertise (he was into Paleo before it was called Paleo). He also does functional medicine.  He had an online video talking about several things I want to learn more about.  He’s hired a Paleo Nutritionist to work in his clinic.  I made an appointment and go in 2 weeks.  And my health insurance just might cover it. I hope.  We’ll see.  Think happy thoughts, as I need to start getting on track again.  Despite modern medicine’s best efforts, I’m not getting there.  I still think Paleo is the right path, but I need some tweaks.