Several years ago, I got really sick. It felt like the flu, but it also made me out of breath all the time. I could barely walk. My parents considered getting a wheelchair for me. My regular doctor couldn’t figure it out, so on the recommendation of a friend, I went to a chiropractic physician who uses a craniobiotic technique to treat illness. And suddenly, he figured it out. I had black mold growing in my bathroom which had infected my lungs. He treated it, and I got better pretty quickly. I’m still very careful about mold, but that particular infection has never come back.
That experience showed me the value of natural medicine. From then on, I’ve tried to maintain a good relationship with both a regular MD and a naturopathic doctor in order to get some well rounded advice. Sometimes a naturopath can think of something an MD didn’t think of. And vice versa.
About 9 months ago, my regular family doctor decided to quit on me. She didn’t follow up. She told me that my tests were normal and just got up and left the room. I felt very much abandoned. So I started seeing a very good naturopath. He put me on a strict protocol and diet to help my body heal from any unseen infections I might still be dealing with from Africa. He worked very hard with me. He followed up. And finally I felt valued by a doctor. I felt some hope in the mad cycle of illness that was plaguing me.
Then one day, a friend asked me if I was any better. I said no, and he frowned and shook his head. “You just need to see a REAL doctor,” he said. For the next few months, he constantly hounded me. “Are you seeing a real doctor? An MD? Well, you aren’t going to get well unless you see a REAL doctor.”
The thing was, my MD had given up on me. I’d called. I’d tried. And she just let go. My “real” doctors had done tests, and when those tests had come back normal, they’d ushered me out the door. One of my doctors even told me, “You’re going to be like this for the rest of your life, so you might as well stop complaining and figure out how to deal with it.” Really? Please tell me how to deal with it, because hearing that makes me want to crawl under the covers and never come out again.
My naturopath, though, had taught me how to better care for my body, even if it didn’t cure me. I’d seen tiny signs of progress. I felt hope that maybe, sometime down the road, I could get better. And I was taking supplements that helped my deficiencies and were easy on my body, instead of prescription drugs that pummel me with side effects and often make me worse.
I tried to explain that to my friend, but all he expressed was anger that I didn’t follow his advice and find an MD. A ‘real’ doctor. Here’s what I want to ask. What makes a doctor ‘real’? That he has an MD behind his name rather than an ND? That he went to school a little longer? That he gives out prescription meds rather than supplements? I’ve found that both my MDs and my NDs can give great advice, and make big mistakes. Both types of docs have given me meds that cause adverse side effects or that aren’t really right for my condition. Then we go back and figure something else out.
Now I have an MD and an ND, both of whom I like. They know what each other is doing, and together they’re slowly finding a holistic way to help me.
And guess what? They are BOTH ‘real’ doctors.