Do you know anybody who thinks the issues of the world are either “black or white”, “all or nothing”??
If you are at all like me, such a person has been in your mirror off and on all your life. That tendency can be made even more stubbornly entrenched by an “MD” behind your name—it seems almost to be part of our training. But as I have gotten older and I have lived life more and more aware of my weaknesses and of others’ strengths and value, I have become much more comfortable with “in between”, with “grey”. In fact, when it comes to issues, principles, judgment and criticism, grey has become my “favorite color”.
The same is true of medical conditions. We are taught in school that you either have hypertension (over 140/80) or you don’t; you either qualify above or below a rather arbitrarily set “line” with diabetes too. I was taught that one either has cancer or she doesn’t. Yet now we know that breast cancer cells have usually been present for at least 10 years before a small nodule can be felt by the patient. The longer a thoughtful doctor practices, the more he/she should realize that life is seldom “all or nothing” and that a medical condition is rarely “black or white”.
This comes up a lot when considering the issue of fatigue. Every doctor will routinely check for anemia and low thyroid and finesse any treatment for these according to the size of the problem discovered. But when it comes to checking for sex hormone imbalance or cortisol levels (a natural steroid made to allow for a stress response), old habits of rigidity from medical school keep most doctors from considering “grey”. To have a cortisol abnormality, so the dogma goes, one must either have Cushing’s disease (an absolute excess of cortisol) or Addison’s disease (a total absence of cortisol that is fatal if not discovered and treated). I have diagnosed and treated 2 patients with Addison’s disease in my entire career and no cases of Cushing’s disease. But I have treated thousands of patients with varying degrees of Adrenal Fatigue who are constantly tired and underperforming, appearing depressed. These people are not on either extreme; they are in the middle somewhere, they are in the large “grey zone” between extremes where most all of us live our lives. In the case of sex hormone balance, many women go through all of their grown up lives having regular periods, but suffering chronic fatigue, insomnia, and low-to-absent libido. Because their cycles are regular, their doctors don’t consider the possibility of hormone imbalance and end up prescribing an anti-depressant and Ambien. All or nothing thinking here again. Except this problem hits a little closer to home with nearly everyone who reads this.
You see, life is mostly grey. That is where most patients are living. If you are a doctor who only sees black and white, you will over react to some patients’ needs and tell many other patients who are feeling poorly that there is nothing wrong with them. (Hitting still closer to home, aren’t I?)
You will NEVER be told at Upper Valley Family Practice and Urgent Care that “you are fine—it’s all in your head”. If you are here in our office feeling badly, then it is our job to find out why. Sometimes we will find true absolute diseases (I have diagnosed Addison’s disease twice after all…). But usually Sana or I will listen to you describe your symptoms a long time, ask a lot of questions, and then start probing through “grey” to find what is wrong. We utilize a greater breadth of diagnostic testing and more proven natural treatments than any other office in this part of the state. It is not your burden to fit your symptoms into our limited medical knowledge and training; it is absolutely our responsibility to enlarge our expertise to include and successfully treat your unique problem(s) and restore you to total health and vigor. That is our only justification for being here; we are here to make you feel as good as you want to feel!
If that sounds too good to be true, you will never know until you call (356-8883), make an appointment, and give us a try. Read through other blogs and see if they feel “right” to you. We look forward to an opportunity to show you that we are simply here to give you medical care like you have never had before.