When Doctors Don’t Have an Answer

I am waging war.

Last week, I wrote a posted that hinted at an irritating skin condition I have been plagued with. I remember when I got my first diagnosis (which ended up being incorrect), my boyfriend said I ‘didn’t have to tell anyone.’ That may be true, but that also makes me feel like I’m hiding. I’m the type of person who used to discussing everything that’s going in my life. Things that I don’t dare say out loud are usually things I’m ashamed of or thing I think are going to generate unnecessary and unproductive arguments.

This is not one of those things.

This is an assault on my body, or perhaps, it’s the effect of my own assault. This thing started while I was laid off, experiencing more stress and shaky self-confidence than I had in a long time. In addition, I started to eat a little less healthy and dropped my gym membership to save money, preparing for the worst during my unemployed experience. I’m sure all those things played in part in setting the battlefield I now wage war on.

Maybe I shouldn’t be telling you guys this. Maybe I should move on to my next serious of controversial thoughts and questions for society. You could all go on in blissful ignorance of my selfish suffering (selfish because, of all the terrible illnesses a person can get, this is pretty benign). But I’m not ashamed and no one who has this should be ashamed. Once I figure out how to kick this thing, I may release the actual name with my own remedies (the ones that work). That’s all I have in my arsenal, after all: time, money and mad Googling skills.

I think pretty highly of natural processes when it comes to illnesses. Usually, I do my best to eat healthy and get a certain amount of fitness. I’ve studied nutrition and, while I’m no expert, I’ve learned more than I ever did from high school health classes or visits to the doctor.

This photo, “Runkeeper and health on iPhone” is copyright (c) 2014 Jason A. Howie and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license
This photo, “Runkeeper and health on iPhone” is copyright (c) 2014 Jason A. Howie and made available under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license

More than anything else, I have learned to take all doctor’s opinions with a grain of salt. I don’t mean to discredit them or their knowledge, but I’ve encountered my share who barely look at me before handing down a diagnosis or who prescribe pills without giving me any indication of how I got my condition in the first place.

That’s always a question I ask, now. What did I do to get this illness? Did I simply come in contact with a contagious person? Is there a specific plant or bug? Maybe there’s a specific environment where certain bacteria thrive, just waiting for unsuspecting humans to approach. I need something, anything. Knowing what causes something makes me feel like I’m in control. It gives me something to avoid in the future and fight in the present.

The doctor’s second diagnosis was something unknown and allegedly untreatable that simply had to run its course. That’s threw me into a dark place. I pride myself in being pretty average looking, and these marks take me down a few notches. I feel ugly and self-conscious everywhere I go, which isn’t helping me at all.

Yesterday, I went to see my chiropractor, whom I see every two weeks. I’m not here to debate the merits of chiropractic care. I’ve received my own results, which is good enough for me. Still, I take advice from him the same way I take advice from doctors, with a grain of salt. What I like about him is that he offers a counter opinion to doctors. Instead of suggesting a list of over the counter medications, he suggest herbs, cleanses or exercises, pointing me towards Google searches that might yield more results than I had got. This is especially helpful in situations where doctor lack any answer.

What I really love about him is that, while he does have a stock of health products he sells, he rarely pushes them. I don’t feel like I’m buying into a magical cure with him. Instead, I’m told to read the testimonials of others and come to my own conclusions about how to heal myself. Rarely does that conclusion result in any additional purchases at his office.

It is with his advice that I have added a few items to my arsenal. I am now fighting this mystery fiend anti-dandruff shampoo used as body wash, lukewarm showers, tanning beds, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and Milk Thistle. For the record, tanning beds are weird. I laid down in my first one yesterday it just felt so odd. Unless I have a need to use one again, I’m not sure I will keep attending once this unholy condition goes away.

What are your thoughts on the medical industry? Do you think most doctors are really pill pushers, or are they just constrained by compensation models that pay them per patient they see? Why do you think doctors rarely provide much insight into how a person gets a certain condition? Have you ever found cures (that worked) through your own research your doctor didn’t provide?

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30 thoughts on “When Doctors Don’t Have an Answer”

  1. Biggest issue I find with docs is that they have to little time for a patient to truly listen. Rarely asking any question well knowing a patient cannot always be clear about what they feel.
    The thing I hate most is they never know for sure. Rather see a dentist any time, at least they can know for sure if it is a problem.

    The meds world is (though they say no, a world of money. While we open up more fastfoods we also claim more health care and they know the price for that.

    As for alternatives, i never go there either. I know the sunlight is good for you, just make sure what times you do so. eating healthy I know that veggies and fruit yes even meat and some fish.

    Never taken supplements or cold meds. Hating pills. on a rare occasion pop some painkiller. but it means I can’t get out of bed.

    But each to their own and as for Google looking up what could be a cause or illness might make you more scared than you already was not knowing. Seen people get all crazy over what they read and what it could be.
    As you said stress causes the most.
    Keep on smiling hugger

    1. I didn’t just randomly google. I was given a diagnosis. I wish I had gone to my real doctor. She’d talk to me for an hour (and has before) if that’s what it took to answer all my questions. But my job made it hard to do that so I had to see an after hours doctor. I’m pretty sure they’re paid per patient so it makes sense they’d want to rush through if they knew the answer.

      The doctor gave me the diagnosis and said there’s nothing to do but wait. Everything I’ve found since then has been based on google searches surrounding that diagnosis. Being healthy is great, but that’s not going to make anything go away. I mean, it’s not really a cure. Actually, since I wrote this, I have had luck with the shampoo and tanning. Something is working. I just can’t buy the doctor’s opinion that there’s nothing I can do.

      1. Funny how a doctor guesses and we go google on a diagnosis.
        This is not said it is wrong, it can just scare the crap out of you or it is yet another guess and uncertainty.

        Happy to hear you see some results. And a doctor who takes his time for a patient is my kind of doctor. Probably be moaning about waiting time 🙂 ha ha

        I am like a caveman though. Just live and I be fine.

  2. i believe you have already told the answer.mysteries around us.human body is no exception i think. lot of research still going on right?i am not defending doctors,but yes there are geniuses among them who i finds as simple and humble.does what i comment here make sense with your posts?.i am a village guy not have knowledge like you but to be frank your knowledge on things impressed me.keep writing 🙂

    1. Mysteries yes, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t an answer, we just haven’t found it yet. I’m not about to sit by and just let this happen without a fight.

  3. One tiny thing, no two.
    First it is better to know your own body above anything else, it is capable of a lot more than one can imagine.

    Second, I like reading your posts you have a clear and opinion on things.

    1. 1) I agree. I’ve gotten pretty good at knowing my body, to the point where I recognize when I’m about to get sick and can usually take action to prevent myself from getting sick, or at least getting very sick. Unfortunately, I was thrown off my game when I got laid off. That stress disconnected me from my body a bit

      2) Thank you. ^_^

  4. I fortunately have a great doctor who spends lots of time reading everything and whenever you bring something odd to him he jumps in and starts analyzing it to determine what it is. He asks tons of questions to pin down what might be a cause.
    But I think some doctors don’t keep up as much, either due to lack of time or just because they think they know. I had a back doctor who said a certain type of therapy was garbage and just kept giving me injections. Instead of giving me the injections in the right place or the right number he would do it a different way so I would have to come back. I told my physician, the first I mentioned, and he said. “You’re not going there any longer, and I’m not sending anyone else there either. Go here instead. I know this man, he’s really good, has this kind of experience, and is what you need. I don’t know why I sent you to the first guy in the first place.”

    But I do check out online my reactions to medications and odd pains I have because of my condition. A lot of times it keeps me from overreacting to something.

    Much Respect
    Ronovan

    1. I remember having a conversation with my parents about how doctors are the one people we rarely get rid of if we are unhappy with them. We just expect the long wait time and short contact with the doctor. Instead, people should be willing to say, “I don’t like this doctor and am taking my business somewhere else.” I mean, it’s your health, not his/hers. I’m glad you found a doctor who cares. Hopefully things are going well for you.

  5. I was diagnosed with psoriasis, with some specific allergies that trigger it, back in 2010. The special shampoo the dermatologist sold me contained one of the chemicals I was allergic to, and they wanted me to go on using a steroid cream indefinitely, even when I told them I was planning to become pregnant.

    I did my own research, slowly learned my triggers (stress and lack of sleep, chemical sensitivities that meant I had to make or buy more natural beauty and cleaning products, exposure to most cigarettes – exceptions being Lucky Strikes and some reservation brands), and deal with my skin patches when they come up by reducing my stress or exposure and using simple deep moisturizers. I haven’t been back to a dermatologist since early 2010.

    1. What I have is similar to psoriasis but not the same. It’s sort of a combination of that and the chicken pox. It’s only supposed to happen once but I have heard accounts of it happening multiple times to people. These days, I always do my own research after seeing a doctor. It started because I just wanted to know more about what was happening to me, but now I also like to look for case studies. I look for people like me to see how they reacted. Doctors are essential, but they’re not perfect. A little bit of research can go a long way in finding out if your prescription is right for you or not, as you seem to have clearly found out.

      1. Exactly! When I first went to a doctor, I was afraid I had ringworm because that particular patch was round-ish. I was treating it all wrong at home. So without the diagnosis, I would have never been able to tweak the hippie remedies. 😉

  6. I don’t see where you have this complaint on your person. I’ll tell you my answer. I had eczema pop up now and again on / near my ankle. Trying to sleep one time I put a Labradorite bracelet on my leg over the annoying itch. The itch stopped there and then. Keep putting it on and the problem will fade away. You can use Tumblestones..I hope you try this..

    1. I may, but what I have is not eczema, so I’m not sure it would have the same effect on me. Thanks for the tip, though.

  7. I’ve mentioned to you that I do not sleep well, and I too get frustrated when I speak to doctors about it. I’ve been to doctors at top medical institutions, and they always just want to prescribe me medication – medication that gives me migraines and hallucinations by the way – instead of figuring out the issue. I should do some of my own research, like you. I suppose I haven’t yet because I feel like sleep is so different for different people. I have had two sleep studies. They found that I have severe Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS) during the first study – I woke up 22 times every hour consistently – but during my second sleep study, RLS hardly disturbed my sleep…so I still do not know where the problem lies. Here’s to hoping and praying you find the solution! I am so sorry about this.

      1. Does that involve letting down on tea and caffeine in the evening. no more late evening sugar.
        An old grannies help me sleep involves warm milk with some anise.

  8. I think Doctors rarely provide insight into how a person got a certain condition because, well, they actually have no real way of knowing. Also, if they don’t know for sure what’s wrong with you, like in my case of Contact Dermatitis, they can’t just guess how it came about.

    As you already know from my comment on your last post, I did find a cure that worked through my own research because my doctor failed to properly diagnose me. I am all about researching natural remedies for things that ale me and my household. Some work, some don’t. The trial and error is hardly ever close to the cost of a doctor visit and usually produces better results for us.

    I’m unsure what skin condition you’ve contracted, but I have a cream I think you should try. It has saved me so many times and I think it’s worth some looking into on your part if you have yet to find a cure. http://www.amazon.com/Neosporin-Eczema-Essentials-Daily-Moisturizing/dp/B0067JF8CI I don’t have eczema but this does work. It’s wonderful and cheap so, let me know what you think. Hope you start feeling like your old self soon 🙂

    1. Of course they know how. The answer might be as simple as, you caught a virus from someone, but that’s still an answer. That’s how you got sick.

      My condition has gotten significantly better since I started tanning, but I’m going to look up your cream anyway. If it doesn’t go away soon, I’m going to start looking into even more options.

  9. I’ve had psoriasis for many years, and I’ve found three products that help.

    There’s a brand of soap, Chandrika, that’s wonderful. A lot of health food stores carry it, because it’s one of the few soaps made with no animal products. More than anything else, this product helps soothe my flair ups. (If you can’t find it locally, try krishnaculture.com online.)

    The second is Palmer’s Cocoa Butter. They make a lot of different formulas and soaps, and I believe they’re the best moisturizers on the market.

    The third is Selson Blue shampoo. Maybe it’s just the tingle from the menthol, but it helps with itching more than any other shampoo I’ve found.

    Good luck! I hope you’re feeling better soon!

  10. It’s the middle of the night here but I’ll be brief. I’m the granddaughter of a Romani drabarni (healer) and wish I had paid attention to her lessons on natural healing rather than the ones on card and tea leaf reading :-). You sound like you are doing the best thing, taking advantage of the vast knowledge on the internet to look for alternative methods of healing. A few years ago I woke up with shingles, very painful. The doctor gave me a cream that did not work. I “heard” my grandma’s voice reminding me about cayenne pepper and apple cider vinegar so I made a wash and poured it over my scalp and the affected part of my face. Wow! All pain gone! Obviously I couldn’t use this cure when I returned to work because I smelled like a salad but my skin healed in a few days and the doctor was impressed with the cure. She is the type of doctor who is open to different ideas, even encouraging me to use Red Yeast Rice to lower cholesterol (why I have high cholesterol when I’ve been a vegetarian for 30 years is very discouraging, and mysterious, but I’ll blame it on genetics). So I wasn’t brief but I want to encourage you to continue with diet, lowering stress (easier said than done) and finding the correct doctor who would be willing to encourage your quest for alternatives to allopathic medicines. Sastimos! (good health)

    1. that’s an interesting cure. I wouldn’t imagine either cayenne pepper or apple cider vinegar to be soothing to the skin. Do you know why that worked by chance? Was is specific to shingles or something that could be used for many skin conditions?

  11. Hi, I don’t know the specifics of what you have, but because you mentioned that anti-dandruff shampoo helps, it leads me to offer my tuppence-worth of hopefully helpful to you 🙂 Having used anti-dandruff shampoo and found it helpful myself for certain things, I also had great results by using tea tree oil diluted in water, external use only 🙂 head and/or any part of the body;
    all the best with your healing process, and hope it clears up soon 🙂

  12. In the UK we can go to a chemist (pharmacist0 such as Boots; or to a good herbalists store; it’s best to buy the small bottles of pure essential oil to use, rather than a hair or body product to which it is only an ingredient.

    There are other kinds of shops but you have to be careful they are not selling a cheap version. It can also be bought via mail order from good stockists at a fair price; another way is from an aromatherapist, but I do not know how much they would charge; and it can be bought online, but again you would have to make sure it was a good company.

    The best online on I know of in the UK is Neal’s Yard in London 🙂
    here –
    http://www.nealsyardremedies.com/essential-oils??&page=4&q=essential-oils&?=

    http://www.nealsyardremedies.com/covent-garden-store

    I now they can also give good advice and help too;
    I hope you are better and it’s all gone soon; all the best 🙂

    1. Thanks for the help. Luckily, the tanning seems to have done the trick. I haven’t returned to tanning because all the marks are gone. Allegedly, what I had only happens once in a lifetime (sort of like chicken pox), so I should be good. Thank you very much for the advice.

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