I’ve been going to an Integrative Doctor’s office off and on in my town since 2005. They’ve been pretty clueless about how to help me but I keep going back because it’s the only place I can get certain sorts of unusual blood work done that standard traditional docs won’t do. This time I went to them to get a blood test that would test my detoxification enzymes. Specific enzymes that detox environmental toxins, pharmaceuticals etc. I had consulted with one of my friend’s colleagues in San Francisco and he recommended a bunch of tests including a test for heavy metal toxicity and once again an adrenal gland test which I already know is low from the last time I took it.
Adrenal functioning tends to get even worse over the course of a benzo withdrawal so it makes sense to look at them again. Currently to treat the adrenal fatigue I take two adaptogens–Ashwaganda and Eleuthero.
From the very beginning these docs at this practice have wanted me to take Cortisol, a natural steroid, to pump up my adrenals. Way early on, before I knew what I was doing, I looked at the side effect profile and said NO–it was a gut feeling. Since then I’ve studied my circumstance in depth and consulted with numerous people all over the country and I now have tons of anecdotal evidence that taking Cortisol in my condition is downright dangerous. I’ve been telling them this for about 3 years now.
So when I was talking to this guy a couple of weeks ago I got excited because it sounded like we had a plan and I was going to test for these detoxing enzymes and then if my detoxification issues were okay I’d do the heavy metal chelation challenge to finally rule-out heavy metal toxicity. The thing is a chelation challenge can be dangerous if you’re not detoxing appropriately so I wanted the detox test first. We agreed too, that I would once again look at my adrenal function.
At this point I said to the doc, “Dr. J—you need to promise me you will never bring up Cortisol again. I won’t take it, it’s dangerous for me and I don’t appreciate your not respecting that in the past.” He said very lightly and clearly, “No problem, there are other natural things you can do.” I said, “Yes, actually, I’d like to do licorice extract, actually as my blood pressure is so low, it might help with that too.”
I felt relieved. He had promised me he wouldn’t bring it up again because every doc in that practice has been trying to force it on me and they get sort of hostile and controlling about it.
Anyway. He called a week later after their staff meeting. God knows what happened in the staff meeting, but low and behold he started telling me I NEEDED to take the Cortisol!!!
I said to him, “Dr. J you promised me you wouldn’t do this.” I was mildly agitated in tone. He said, “Well, if you want to feel better right away you need to take it.”
I said, “Dr. J, it’s not realistic for me that I would feel better right away.”
He said, “Well when I was sick like you I needed to take Cortisol just to be able to go to work everyday.”
I said, (getting a bit agitated) “Dr. J, I don’t believe you’ve been sick like me.”
He said, “No, really when I was sick like you I needed to take it.”
I finally lost it and raised my voice and said, “Dr. J, you have never been sick like me! I’ve been on neurotoxins for 20 years!”
He promptly said, “I’m not taking your abuse.” And he hung up.
Just in case you wonder. I KNOW he has NEVER been on psych meds because he doesn’t know jack shit about them. So I know he cannot compare whatever illness he had to mine.
In any case I wrote the following letter to him which he will receive tomorrow.
Dear Dr. J,
You can call it abuse if you like that I got angry at you after telling you explicitly numerous times that I will not take Cortisol or you can look at yourself and see why you are hell bent on telling me what I should do when I’ve told you I won’t do it.
Your experience is NOT like mine. I was on neurotoxins at astronomical doses for 20 years.
I’m sure you’ve suffered too and I don’t question that, but you cannot compare our experiences.
I am very very sick today. I’m in horrible physical pain. I’m shaking and weak.
I got mad at you. It may not have been the best behavior in the world but I felt once again ignored and dismissed. My experience spit on.
I simply ask that you respect my decisions. I’ve done excessive amounts of research about my condition and know many other people who suffer with it. You do not. I’m begging you to trust me because I need help but if I have to pretend to do what you suggest when I know it’s dangerous for me just to get along with you then we can’t work together.
I am housebound. I’ve needed home care. I need help. No one knows what to do with me but I need someone who has ideas and I have listened to yours and agreed on the tests you suggested…I need you to listen to me too. We have to be partners. I won’t be a submissive patient.
If you don’t want to deal with that, fine. But if you respect me, I’ll respect you…but if you push things on me I don’t want then, no, I won’t stand for it and I didn’t.
that is what got me here in the first place—trusting doctors implicitly.
I won’t do it again.
this is not the end of the post:
So, once again, I have no doctor. Every doctor who practices medicine in a way I will consider still feels a need to control what I do with my body. Just like a typical psychiatrist. It’s infuriating.
The two docs who treat me with the greatest respect are, oddly enough, my traditional psychiatrist who allows me to dictate how I need to slowly and safely withdraw. He profoundly respects me even if he doesn’t actually know how to help guide me.
And my general practitioner too, who practices ordinary medicine has helped me get home care and has believed all my symptoms and never called me crazy or even given a hint that he doubts me, but again has no tools in his toolbox to help me.
So both of them really don’t know how to help me. They simply TRUST me.
Instead the docs with the specialty knowledge have such huge egos they think they know how to fix me when in point of fact they’ve never even worked with anyone like me. And they will admit it. They know no one whose been on the psych meds like me. So why do they pretend to know how to treat me with such great confidence?? Their egos are astounding. And I’ve been fucked over by numerous “alternative, integrative, orthomolecular” docs now. The thing is if I find one willing to partner with me and trust me like my regular doctors we might actually be able to put our heads together and accomplish something. But these guys aren’t willing to trust me.
Just to make something clear—I have no issue with my Jungian therapist, my acupuncturist or my neurofeedback guy. Nor do I have issues with my traditional docs, psychiatrist and general practitioner. I’ve known all these people for years now. The only people I have problems with are the ones who think they know the answers to my problems. And they don’t. Because no one does and unless someone is willing to be frank about that I’m not willing to work with them. I’ve talked to the foremost experts in the country on psychotropic drug detox and the people who know the most admit they know nothing.
So now I don’t know what I’ll do. I want some testing done.
I am getting an MRI done through my general practitioner. I’m so grossly disabled it’s hard to believe it’s just the psych meds. I see so many people doing okay when they come off of them. I know I’ve been on longer and more drugs then most, but I’ve met many others who have too and are doing okay.
I’m mentally sound but physically in horrible shape. So I’ll do the MRI and see if this Integrative doc has the guts to reply to my letter. I’m not sure I’m willing to work with him at all anymore in any case.
Tonight I’m doing another Klonopin taper. I still gotta just keep on going.