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It is so important that we all take our health into our own hands. Doctors can be a godsend, but they can also be wrong, oblivious, hand out misinformation, jump the gun etc.I don’t know how many times, doctors have given me misinformation, disregarded high or low levels in my blood test results, did not contact me with results (back when I trusted they would call me if something was wrong) or did not explain things fully to me such as side effects, other options, and changes I could make in my diet to help improve a condition or abnormal test results.

Back in 2000, I was walking home after work and suddenly felt a warm sensation running down my leg which I realized was blood. It was not like my regular menses and instinctively I knew something was wrong. I called my Gyn doc immediately. They said they would look up my chart and call me back. I was not expecting the call I received. Apparently my pap test had come back positive for severe cervical dysplasia which is the precancerous cells in my cervix and the step right below cancer. For some reason this call was never made to me despite the fact that it was flagged for the nurse.  One year later I had to have part of my cervix removed through a cone biopsy.

Years later I was diagnosed with a large fibroid tumor and the doctor suggested a hysterectomy as a possibility. Since I was not intending on having any more children I thought it would be a good option. The doctor did not explain,  nor did I think he knew the effect this may have on my entire body.  At the time despite having gone through the cervical dysplasia issue, I again complete trusted my doc and did not do my research.  I ended up with a removed uterus and cervix (which I was not aware of). After the surgery I was sent home, without much explanation of what to expect, or an explanation of what was done.  Later, when I came upon the research I realized what a mistake I had made in allowing him to remove my uterus. I found out that I may have been able to shrink the fibroid tumor through diet and cutting out sugar.  I found out that having your uterus removed has a psychic effect on the entire body as well as an incredible emotional impact. I realized I should have had counseling before removing such a major part of my body and womanhood. 

I have had many health issue throughout the years, of which there has been little or no explanation. I’ve had health issues that normally do not occur in people my age and so I am very aware of my body now and my medical history. I am a lot wiser and assertive when it comes to my health as a result of having so many issues, such as thyroid cancer, colon polyps, cervical dysplasia, fibroid tumor, and diabetes insipidus and a herniated disc and sciatica. I realized I have an imbalance in my system, whether it be from all the childhood trauma, years of eating unhealthy food and years of unhealthy thinking…probably a combination of all. As I work through these issues of the mind, body and soul, I am still left with the responsibility of being my own advocate in the doctor’s office and in life.

These days not getting test results just wouldn’t happen because today, I always take it upon myself to call for my test results within days of having a blood test and do not rest until I receive those results. These days, I want the results in my hands so that I can see my numbers and see if I am at the high end or low end of the normal range which may indicate a problem down the road. I also keep my blood test results for comparison.  Especially with cholesterol numbers. You want those to go down, not up.

This may sound a bit extreme but after having several issues over the years, I have realized how important it is for me to be my own advocate.  Doctors have many patients and unless something is alarming and grave they tend not to remember you.  Normally, you get a call from a nurse, not the doctor himsefl.  These days if I have symptoms out of the ordinary, like I did when I ended up having diabetes insipidus (water diabetes), I did my research and went to a specialist with what I already knew was the diagnosis. I came in with information and what I suspected and then allowed the doctor to do the necessary tests. I did not come in blind.

Sometimes, doctors also can be misinformed:

Last winter, after finding out I had significantly low Vitamin D level (17), my primary physician, suggested I take 2,000 IU’s of Vitamin D. Upon doing my own research I found out that my number was critically low and that I needed to take at least 5000 a day to bring it up. When I brought it up to 50, this same doctor, told the receptionist to let me know it was too high. This was completely ludicrous and thank God, I knew this to be false information. I had done my research and in face according to the Vitamin D Council 50 is optimal. If I didn’t know this I would have lowered my intake or stopped taking vitamin D altogether. 

Doctors can also jump the gun:

Recently I had a glucose tolerance test, which tested high. By the first hour I was over two hundred, but on the second hour I had gone down to about 173.  My doctor was quick to let me know I had diabetes and needed medication. I told him to give me a month to make some changes, and retest me in a month. I promised to keep track of blood levels at home as well.  When I returned home, I did my usual research and found out the determination of whether a person has diabetes is usually made with the second hour and if it over 200 the patient is deemed to have diabetes. The A1C test is also a determining factor.  My 2nd hour test was below 200, and yet my endocrinologists, was pretty quick to diagnose me as a diabetic.

In addition we still did not have the results of my A1C test which tests my average blood sugar levels over the last 3 months.  I’m glad I waited. Turns out my A1C test came back a 5.0 which is normal. If I had listened to him, I may be on insulin right now.

I am still watching my sugar, I am definitely pre diabetic and my daily numbers range from 90’s to 163. The high end usually happens when I eat something I shouldn’t like an english muffin or pasta.  Normally I eat fish, shrimp and lots of veggies. Some chicken on occasion. And I am committed to getting my numbers down to a normal range and perhaps getting my A1C in the 4’s which would be optimal.

My point is, please do your research on whatever it is you are diagnosed with and any procedures or surgeries that are deemed necessary by your doctors.

Find out what a low or high number means. Check to see if you are right on the border of the range. So if the high end of normal lets say on your cholesterol is 199 and you have a 201, you need to make some changes.

If surgery is suggested, do your homework. See what other treatments are out there and do not underestimate the power of food and vitamins and herbs as healers.

These days I am my own doctor first and I come in to see my doc for a second opinion. I would never say, do not go to the doctor and I do not claim to know it all.  I truly value their experience and expertise, but personally I and many others have had too many unnecessary procedures, low or high numbers for way too long, had prescriptions thrown our way to just treat symptoms and not underlying causes. I am no longer willing to allow my body to be mishandled and I hope you will also take your own body, your health and your lives in your own hands.