My personal journey through our American healthcare system was a fifteen-year-long lesson in learning to listen to my gut when listening to doctors wasn’t enough.
In 1990, my then-40-year-old husband was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. He underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation – the treatments the doctors knew how to perform. But they didn’t know how to keep him from experiencing the side effects and complications resulting from the treatments. And they didn’t know how to help him really heal so that he could live a longer, happier life. But I followed my gut and started researching. Soon my husband was eating better and taking supplements. Almost immediately, he began to thrive.
Everyone noticed that he was looking and feeling better — everyone except his doctors. They weren’t interested in what we were doing to bring about true healing. And ten years later, when I found a treatment that literally saved my husband’s life, they weren’t interested in learning about that, either.
I decided to write a book with stories about other patients who listened to their guts and found treatments their doctors weren’t telling them about. In HONEST MEDICINE: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases, nine patients tell their stories about how listening to their doctors didn’t help them. So, they had to do their own research to find treatments that worked.
The treatments these patients found were effective, inexpensive, little-known treatments their doctors weren’t telling them about for autoimmune diseases, childhood epilepsy, liver disease and non-healing wounds. Each person’s story is a plea for listening to your gut when the treatments your doctor prescribes don’t work.
Here are seven tips to help you follow your gut to get the treatments you need.
1. Know when a treatment your doctor recommends isn’t working.
When a treatment your doctor prescribes isn’t working, you’ll know it. Don’t be passive. Take action and look for a treatment that will work.
2. Be open to “patient-based evidence.”
Patient-evidence-based treatments haven’t gone through the rigors of Phase 3 clinical trials the FDA and doctors like to see. But they have been used successfully for many years by thousands of patients. For instance, Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN), one of the treatments I feature in my book, has been used successfully since the mid-1980s for autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Crohn’s disease; the Ketogenic Diet, another treatment in my book, has been used since the 1920s at prestigious institutions such as Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic to treat intractable epilepsy. Your research could uncover a patient-evidence-based treatment that will work for you.
3. Visit online patient groups.
Once you’ve found a promising treatment, join online patient groups devoted to it. You’ll benefit from the research and experience of many people who share your particular condition. Although doctors often scoff at these online groups, patients care that lots of other patients have found a particular treatment useful. If a treatment truly works, you will often find many online groups devoted to it.
4. Consult reliable websites devoted to your condition.
Learn which websites contain good information and which do not. Some websites of presumably reputable institutions may have financial ties to drug companies or other hidden agendas. It takes practice to learn which sites to trust.
5. Share information with your doctor.
Discuss the information you’ve found with your doctor. Prepare a packet of credible information—including, if possible, small studies. In the case of Low Dose Naltrexone, studies have been conducted by prestigious institutions (Penn State, Stanford, University of California)—a big plus. These studies are included in PubMed, which doctors respect.
6. Know when to find a new doctor.
If your doctor won’t listen to you, find a more open-minded doctor. Support groups and online patient groups can often recommend prescribing doctors who will work with patients using patient-evidence-based treatments. CharlieFoundation.org lists hospitals that administer the Ketogenic Diet for children with epilepsy. LDN patient advocates have lists of prescribing doctors.
7. Finally, listen to your gut.
We are accustomed to being passive regarding our health—especially when faced with a serious medical condition. Don’t be discouraged; tune in to your inner voice. You’ll know when it’s time to take action. All the patients I interviewed for my book said they “just knew” their gut was telling them what to do. Listening to your gut could save your life.
Julia Schopick is the author of the Amazon.com bestselling book, Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life Threatening Diseases. She is currently writing a second book about the use of LDN for diseases such as Crohn’s, ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis, and will be conducting LDN teleseminars to teach patients how to convince their doctors to prescribe LDN for them. To learn about her book and teleseminars, contact her at Julia@HonestMedicine.com.