I was in a lot of pain. Can’t sit, can’t stand, can’t lie down pain. I also had a list of diagnoses, things most doctors consider individual issues. My gut (literally and figuratively) told me they were symptoms of something larger. Every doctor wanted me to make separate appointments, one for each thing on my list, then gave me a hard time for coming in so often.
“You’re fine. Let’s talk about your weight.”
“Do a juice cleanse. There are millions to choose from on the Internet.”
“Have you considered this might be psychosomatic and you may need therapy? You already have a therapist? You probably just need more therapy.”
My last doctor called me a dirty penny. She also mentioned seeing a Naturopath.
The part of the country I grew up in hasn’t quite embraced Naturopathic medicine. I was nervous. I expected love beads. A tie-dyed muumuu and chunky jewelry. Crystals and burn-your-nostrils incense. Weird tea made with a special herb that came folded in a little wax paper packet like BC aspirin powder. I bet the tea looked and smelled a lot like McCormick’s oregano. There’d be a red plastic lid in the Naturopath’s garbage bin.
Dr. Neale turned out to be a lovely, normal woman in a white coat who extended her hand, introduced herself, and took me back to her office. There were no love beads. No jars of weird herbs. No muumuu, no strong incense, no wax paper packets. I talked and cried, she listened. She did a blood test. I talked more and cried more.
“I do a lot of hand-holding,” she said.
“Thank everything holy,” I said. And then—you guessed it—I cried.
Dr. Neale was the first doctor I’ve ever had who saw me as a human. She treated me with dignity and respect. As a result, she discovered some things none of the other doctors ever considered. Not “all in my head” things, life-altering things. Potentially-life-threatening-if-untreated things. She involved me fully in putting together a treatment plan. I get overwhelmed easily and can quickly go sideways. She helps me find my way back, and she does so with the utmost respect and compassion. Most importantly, she celebrates my successes, big and small.
I’m not completely out of the woods yet, that will take time. But I’ve never felt better. I knew I wasn’t crazy. And because Dr. Neale knew it, too, I’m still here. She saved my life. She saved me.
Fruit, by the way. On the list of diagnoses, it turns out I’m fruit intolerant. Good thing I didn’t do a juice cleanse. I decided to create a resource for people like me here at Fruitfreenut.com.
Tips for Newcomers:
- Do the Boston Heart test. It can find things your family doctor won’t find or even look for. Big things. It’s worth every penny.
- It’s hard to open up, to give up some control when you’ve been fighting for so long. It can feel pretty scary. But take a breathe, and let Dr. Neale guide you through your process. She will do so without judgment, and with deep compassion. She will keep you involved and hold your hand the entire way.
- With Dr. Neale, there is no such thing as a silly question. Ask. It could lead to one of the most important conversations you’ve ever had about your health.
Vegetable Beef (or turkey… or no meat) Soup
1 lb ground beef (or turkey)
½ yellow onion, chopped
2 small bags of frozen mixed vegetables
6 to 8 ounces (about half a bag) of frozen, chopped kale
1 box Pomi diced tomatoes*
1 box Pomi strained tomatoes*
1 box (4 cups) Pacifica brand low sodium beef broth*
1 tablespoon dried oregano
½ tsp smoked paprika
Salt & Pepper to taste
Brown the ground beef or turkey in a large, heavy pot. Add the chopped onion and cook until the onions are translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients (don’t drain the tomatoes). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 or 30 minutes.
* I use Pomi and Pacifica brands because they are all natural and contain no citric acid, no fruit derivatives, and no potato derivatives.