Managing the doctors

Managing the doctors

diagnosis and testing, doctors and practitioners
At a certain point in your health investigations you'll discover that the majority of doctors will do the same time-wasting things over and over. This is especially maddening when dealing with a complementary/alternative medicine (CAM) practitioner not covered by insurance. Here is a list of suggestions for getting the most out of a doctor's visit. 1. You're the boss, or maybe the department head I suggest you treat appointments like you're running a business meeting with the head of another department you know nothing about for a project you'll both be working on. You have no reason to be embarrassed by the fact that you don't know a great deal about his subject, and the other person has no reason to be surprised if you do not. You both have…
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The summer of my frozen shoulder *

diagnosis and testing, doctors and practitioners, symptoms and conditions, treatments
In 2014 I stumbled on a staircase, reached out to balance myself against the wall, and was rewarded with a breathtaking pain in my left shoulder that I tried to ignore for a year. For all that time I was unable to raise my hands over my head to wash my hair, but because of the chronic exhaustion that colored my life for a good two decades, the idea of simply arranging a doctor's appointment was overwhelming, never mind a series of physical therapy sessions. By the summer of 2016 I had moved out of my moldy apartment and regained enough mental and physical stamina that I felt I could tackle the issue. I went to the local pride-of-the-town clinic -- globally-recognized, POTUS-praised, and nicknamed "The Machine" by my acupuncturist…
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Call for essays: WTF is happening?

diagnosis and testing
As I mention on my page on chronic, undiagnosed illness, my estimate of how many Americans share my experience with inscrutable health issues has evolved over the years from maybe 10,000 to at least three million. In my online interactions with other sufferers, I've found we have a habit of shouting from the rooftops once we find a treatment that works, convinced it is the cure we've been looking for. Then we discover that although we've regained a significant amount of ground, it is not getting us all the way to however we picture good health. As a group we've narrowed down a lot of causes -- gluten, mold, Lyme, heavy metals, parasites -- but the onion just keeps unfolding. What do you think is behind all this? How do…
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What you might not know about liver damage

diagnosis and testing
Last year I concluded I was on the wrong track re: my remaining stubborn health issues and I started revisiting theories I had abandoned earlier, either out of insufficient information or insufficient confirmation or because it was just too much of a hassle to think about. One of those theories was liver damage. I had suspected liver damage very early on, after the first bout with killer insomnia -– we're talking 40 minutes of sleep a night for three months. That sprang up when I was given a two-month course of what turns out to be a famously toxic antifungal, Diflucan. However, over the years, dozens of blood and imaging liver function tests came back normal. (I never had a biopsy, because you can’t get one without abnormal liver panels…
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Weird niacin deficiency symptom: perceptual changes

diagnosis and testing, health reference and research tools, symptoms and conditions
Recently I came across a discussion forum referring to the use of niacin for social anxiety at multi-gram doses. One commenter mentioned that based on her experience, either niacin has to be repleted in much larger amounts than commonly believed, or plays a much more important role in the diet. Or both. This intrigued me. I’ve never experimented with niacin in any big way, because I never found any mention of big doses used for anything but heart disease or schizophrenia, the latter application made famous in the 60s by Dr. Abram Hoffer. Another issue was the annoying and unpredictable flushing. Somehow I had mistakenly concluded that niacinamide, a form that does not cause flushing, and no-flush niacin were the same thing, and since no-flush niacin definitely gives me flushes,…
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My second alterna-doc disaster

diagnosis and testing, doctors and practitioners
When I was unable to convince my regular alterna-doc that I was hypothyroid, I made the mistake of returning to the only other major alternative medicine practice in town, a Den of Incompetence I had sworn never to visit again. Dr. Dumbass had left the practice and I convinced myself that my earlier experience was just a fluke. Desperate for help for tanking thyroid My thyroid symptoms had worsened significantly and I had made the startling discovery that my healthy diet was the culprit. It turns out that drinking raw kale juice every day for a year is a bad idea, even for healthy people. I printed out the articles I had found, including the one from a British running association's website that said one should only drink raw goitrogens…
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