Osteoporosis and working with your doctor
When in 2018 my spine fractured I found myself bewildered, overwhelmed and scared with a diagnosis of osteoporosis. My usual doctor sent me for x-rays and then couldn’t see me for two weeks, another referred me immediately to a specialist who put me in her sausage machine and spat me out with drugs. At this point, I felt that I had no choices and my head span. As I wrote in my journal and researched through books, forums, videos and consultations with naturopathic friends, I started to feel empowered. I leaned into my intuition, consulted with my courage centre and decided I would choose. I would choose who I worked with and how.
Nobody was going to treat me like a number or a silly woman. From this defiant stance, I felt my power trickle back in.
When you have listened to what your body wants you to know, self-treatment is one thing. However, science is also pretty cool and fascinating. Combining what the scientists, the doctors, the nutritionists and your divine inner wisdom knows means that you have a much better chance to sort yourself out.
I am delighted to now be working with a doctor who is supporting a natural approach.
HOW TO WORK WITH YOUR DOCTOR
FIND THE RIGHT DOCTOR
The first thing to consider is what do you want to achieve? Do you want a general practitioner who can refer you, do you want a specialist for something specific? Next, consider what the outcome that you desire is. Consider your outcome from the point of the highest good for all concerned, especially you.
Always make an appointment if you can with the same one (although a second opinion can be useful). Choose a surgery/practice that promotes working with complementary practitioners, or is not against complimentary methods, this will tell you something about their mindset and values.
CREATE A PARTNERSHIP
No matter who you are working with, communication and collaboration are essential. Your doctor while qualified does not have the last say. This is your body, and these are your choices. How you approach, this is paramount.
I have a folder which contains x-rays, bone density test, blood tests, my life history, supplement protocol and anything else I think is important. This comes with me on visits, and I get the measure of someone by their willingness to listen and understand me. Hold two-way conversations. Discuss with your doctor what you are going to do and listen to what they suggest.
ASK QUESTIONS AND BE A GOOD LISTENER
Just as you want your doctor to listen to you, you also need to prepare good open questions which will get a better response. Although sometimes a simple yes or no is required. I will take in things from books and other websites and ask for opinions and if possible for these suggestions to be carried out. Listen to what they have to say and if you are not sure, go home to research and reflect.
This is your body and health, not theirs. Assertive is not aggressive. It’s about standing in your personal power and knowing that you are being heard and considered. I will often write a script about what I want and practise the conversation before I get there. Also, remember to be polite, a doctor does not want to cause you harm, they are doing the best that they can with the resources that they have. The problem comes when they are unable to see beyond their training. You need to get the best for you, and you have the right to assert that.
START YOUR JOURNEY WITH A COMPLETE MOT
Many doctors have well women clinics. Take the tests. I have had full bloods, tumour markers, urine analysis, smear and breast tests and a bone density test. If your family has a history of thyroid problems and osteoporosis get tested early. There are many other potential indicators as well. With knowledge comes the opportunity to make changes.
When you have had a full MOT, then you can start exploring osteoporosis specific tests. I say this because I want to see where I am from a general health perspective and then I want to drill down.
CHECK TO SEE IF THEY HAVE WRITTEN A BOOK
Most general practitioners and specialists within the health service will not have written a book. However, when you come to choosing a specific osteoporosis doctor, check out their website, books, webinars, testimonials and videos. This will give you a good feel for them.
Look to see if they are selling specific supplements or products and remember these supplements may not suit you.
You must be very thorough in your research and listen to your intuition.
BE PREPARED SUMMARY
- Create a healthcare binder into which everything about you and your health goes in and always take it with you.
- Add your life story to your folder; this means birth to date and cover mind, body and soul.
- Scan your body mentally regularly and before you go for an appointment making a note of what comes up and also prod it. I could always tell when I had a kidney infection (the spinning room aside) as when I have prodded the place where my kidneys are it hurt.
- Draw your body and create a mind map around it of what is going on for you. You and your doctor are looking for symptoms and patterns, helping them to know your body as well as you do will help.
- If you have taken other tests outside of what your doctor does bring these with you. These might be urine analysis (acid/alkaline), temperature, hair analysis or telomere (Your telomeres can be used as a marker in determining your genetic age) tests, for example.
- Take your supplement protocol and a weeks diary of your typical diet. Be prepared to discuss (or even defend) what you take and eat.
- Along with your supplement protocol take a list of drugs that you take and what they are for.
- Put together the things that you have tried and the results and observations.
- Take along your reading list and videos you have watched with suggestions made. I have a document with pictures of the book covers and the author’s credentials. Naturally, I make sure that these are books written by doctors practising in the field of osteoporosis and bone health.
- Visualise the outcome you want.
- Prepare for and practise any potentially problematic conversations. These will be things that you perceive as difficult. The very act of preparing and practising will ease your mind.
- Make a list of open questions and your research, try to back your research up with scientific evidence or the best evidence that you can find.
- Consider discussing the state of your relationships, lifestyle and job, as these could be having an impact on your health. Also, this is important for you to review as these may be impinging your health and will need to be addressed.
- If you feel unsure, take a trusted friend or family member for support.
- If you want a second opinion, ask. Also ask about procedures, risk and outcomes.
- Have an open mind, listen and ask for time to reflect before taking action.
At some point, you may be given a battery of blood tests, diagnosis, suggestions for other investigations, drugs or surgery options and in these cases, I like to research before I go back. I am mindful of the vast information on the internet and the many differing opinions. It is important to read and reflect, do not take things as gospel just because Dr Internet or your doctor says so. My research will also include seeking out friends with the same or similar, again what they are doing may not suit me, but it is valuable information to reflect on. If I need surgery, I will research the surgeon and procedure first. Take a review of your research back with you.
The only way you will know if things are changing and improving is if you do things one step at a time and monitor what you do and how you feel.
E.g. If you think your diet is at fault, eliminate the suspect foods, eat cleanly and then reintroduce a particular food. Take your supplements separately and test what happens when you try something new – one thing at a time.
The bottom line is your doctor is working for you (we hope with you) and not against you. You are employing them, and as such, they cannot dictate to you. Make the healthcare (medical and complimentary) system work for you. If this is not the right doctor, find another and please never give up, there is always an answer.
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