There is an advertisement that pictures a husband and wife sitting together side by side at sunset holding hands feeling amorous; in another commercial, a woman is collapsed on the couch underneath the weight of an elephant that is sitting on her chest. The messages are clear: it’s hard to breathe, and the woman feels suffocated. Or life would feel more relaxing and pleasant when the husband and wife are capable of having greater intimacy. The promise is that, with medication, not only will these very personal issues completely disappear but the people will also be happier and lead productive lives.
The reality, though. is plain: there is no single medication that will completely restore one to happiness and health. I believe that if we can take this single lesson to heart, it will help us avoid wasting precious effort, time and resources on miracle cures and wonder drugs. In general, we all are prone to quick fixes and are susceptible to fad concepts already. Single product marketing plays right into that sense of an effortless solution. Instead, what I have learned is that health and true healing are hard work.
Because of this I developed a short set of rules that I bring to my patients’ attention every time we consult. These help to get beyond the diagnosis conundrum and focus on the root instead:
Rule No. 1: Ignore the Lab Marker
Not all diagnoses begin with a blood test, but many of them do. The reason is because the marker is what a doctor uses to monitor and prescribe medications. Take cholesterol, for instance – what happens is that the patient and doctor get caught up trying to correct a particular marker on a blood test and fail to see the big picture. What are you feeling? In the case of high or low cholesterol, probably nothing.
In contrast, what I see all the time with thyroid sufferers is that they fixate on the thyroid markers and forget about the root causes for their symptoms like fatigue and constipation. They puzzle out all the various thyroid conversion pathways and ignore the fact that for most of them, fixing the marker doesn’t change the immune system problem caused by poor gut health, mercury buildup, or whatever.
A perfect dosage of anything, cholesterol lowering medication or thyroid hormone replacement, will never change that.
Rule No. 2: Learn Your Own Telltale Signs
Symptoms don’t lie. Someone with a thyroid issue has a list of complaints that start with hair loss and end with cold feet, and yet the resolution for these cannot be measured by the result of a lab test. Instead, what the patient needs to become aware of are the simple triggers and preliminary warning signs. For Bob it was burning the candle at both ends and continuing the same habits as before. He would work the lawn till sundown in the dead of summer heat and become completely dehydrated and weak. He’d trigger a viral flare-up that would land him in the emergency room. For Phoebe it was partly the pressure of doing well in school and not having her family close enough to lean on when needed. They live a three-hour plane ride away and most times she is too busy with homework to pay attention to what her body needs.
For both of them, seemingly esoteric factors such as mood and posture change over time as they trudge on. People around them notice it and chalk it up to an impending deadline. These are the things they need to pay attention to.
Rule No. 3: Follow the Results
I have a motto in my office for patients, which is to follow the results. When something is working, keep doing it. If following a particular protocol for 30 days allows someone to feel the best she has days, then don’t stop. I don’t care if it makes her feel better for ten minutes, stay with it!
Patients will say to me that they followed the anti-inflammatory diet for 30 days and they have the most energy they’ve felt in years but they really miss eating bread, or whatever it might be in their case. Or a patient has a weak organ such as the heart that is blocked from healing because of poor lymphatic circulation, so I ask him to start with three minutes of marching in place and he feels terrific. He wants to know when he can stop. Well, he can’t.
A patient and I spend fifteen minutes working on a tapping solution and the patient is able to divulge with clarity something that she’d been feeling deep inside and had forgotten about. For the first time in memory, she wakes up the following morning with a clear mind and is fifteen minutes into her day before any type of usual worry fills her mind. She gushes in amazement and then saddens herself with the notion that she didn’t fix it. I tell her to repeat it.
Healing, happiness and health, both physical and emotional, are attainable, but not in a prescription or OTC bottle.