Hello! It’s been about a month since my last update on my health journey. Things are still moving along, though December was a rough month. I dealt with some depression and overall funky-ness. I fell completely out of my routine, which I think contributed to the overall bummed feeling. We all go through phases like that and normally, I don’t often feel that blue, so this was a little out of the norm for me. That said, I have recovered from my funk and I am feeling happier and more optimistic. It’s a new year and I am determined to continue making progress.
I made a lot of headway on my health journey in 2012. More than I really give myself credit for. I did a little year-end review back in December, which you can read here. Now that the cloud has lifted from around my noggin, I can look forward with optimism that I can make more dramatic changes in my life in 2013.
Getting a Second Opinion and Finding Some Help
One of the changes that I am super excited about is beginning work with a new doctor. I have not been getting the results/care that I need from my MD or my naturopath, so in December, I realized I needed to get a second (or third) opinion. I have had A LOT of people tell me about the success they have had with various illnesses by working with a chiropractor. Now, I already have a chiropractor that I work with, but it really is strictly for chiropractic. He does not offer any alternative health solutions other than that. That said, I found a practice that specializes in chiropractic neurology and after meeting with them, I think they are going to be able to offer me the care that I need at this stage in my journey.
This practice focuses on three overlapping areas of health – immunology, neurology, and endocrinology (all areas that I need help on). They are experienced in treating a wide range of autoimmune illnesses, including Hashimoto’s. They also work with a wide range of other health conditions from autism, ADHD, chronic fatigue, endocrine issues, MS, PCOS, and tons others. The doctor that I will be working with regularly lectures with Dr. Datis Kharrazian, who wrote the fantastic book “Why do I Still Have Thyroid Symptoms When my Lab Tests Are Normal“. In my initial consult, it was the first time that I felt like someone “got it”. I don’t have any illusions that this will be my cure-all, but I am looking forward to working with a practice who really understands autoimmune and how to treat. That is something that neither my MD or ND has been able to provide — to no fault of their own either, so please don’t think I’m bad-mouthing them. My savior in this whole journey has been Lydia from Divine Health, who has helped me every step of the way. She has provided far more support than my doctors have and I am grateful to be working with her.
I probably won’t start working with the new practice for a month or so, as we are working out some final insurance details, but I’ll be sure to write about my experience along the way. Needless to say, I am super excited that I took the time to get a second, well, in my case, third opinion on my condition. Never take what one doctor says as truth, especially if it doesn’t feel right to you. Keep looking, keep researching, keep asking questions. I know people who go through countless practitioners before they find someone that is a good fit. It is worth the effort – you deserve to receive the best care available and to work with a practitioner that “gets you”.
Second Opinions For Blood Pressure Too
Now, I have another story I want to share about the importance of getting a second opinion when it comes to blood pressure. This is a true story of what happened to me just this last week at my MD’s office. I am sharing it with you, at the urging of several friends, because I think it might save at least one person from a misdiagnosis. Here’s my story.
Last week, I had an checkup appointment with my MD. So, some of you know that I am working on weaning off my blood pressure meds (I discussed this in my December post and got a lot of encouragement, so thanks!). I have been doing it slowly and I have two blood pressure monitors at home that I use and my numbers have been great. My monitors are both electronic, one is the cuff for your arm, and one is a small one for your wrist. I have been careful to compare them to the readings I get at my doctor and they are always within a couple points, so I am not concerned with their accuracy. I do plan on getting one of the regular “old-fashioned” BP monitors at some point in the future.
So, the day of my appointment, I go in and the nurse takes me into the room and rolls this crazy fancy (and crazy expensive, I’m sure), electronic BP monitor up to the table (not like the one you see to the right … this one was huge and had wheels!). I commented that the “old fashioned” BP monitor was gone and she said, “Yeah, we’re using this one now”.
So, she put the cuff on and took my BP.
She was like “WOW, that’s really high. That’s weird. We’ll take it again in a little while”. I started freaking out (of course), because I never have numbers that high. And for those of you who know me, you understand how things like this can really throw me into a panic. Every time prior to this, my numbers have always been 120/80 or lower, most of the time lower. Yes, I had just had a morning rush-hour drive, and yes, I breezed into the office and they took me straight back with no time for me to relax. However, that is no different than any other time I have been there and have had normal readings. Something was askew.
Soon after, the doctor comes in, we chat and he notices my high reading. So, he takes my BP again.
Better, but I’m still freaking out. At home it’s always well under 120/80. He said, “Huh. OK.” and notes it in my chart.
After my visit was over and I was on the way out, I stopped to talk to the nurse who had taken my BP earlier and I told her I was really concerned about the super high readings. I explained that I have been weaning off the BP meds slowly and my numbers at home are always good. She said, “OK, let’s take it again right now in the other room”.
The other room only had the old-fashioned, non-electronic BP monitor and she proceeds to take it.
Drumroll please …….
She was SHOCKED.
I was RELIEVED. Like WAY SUPER DUPER relieved!
She noted it in my chart and said they’d look at the new monitor. She mentioned that from now on, we’ll take my BP at the end of my visit and if the reading ever comes in super high again, she’ll do a manual check to compare. She also suggested bringing one of my monitors in as well to compare.
It made me think — Is this done on purpose to write prescriptions? I am not saying my doctor is shady, but it just seems odd to me that such a HUGE difference in readings could occur. These machines are obviously not calibrated correctly and it makes me wonder how many people are now freaking out because they got a false high BP reading. And how many people are automatically prescribed blood pressure lowering drugs because of it. I’m not being a conspiracy theorist here, I am just sharing one of the first thoughts that popped into my head as I went through this experience.
Moral of the story? If your blood pressure is taken on an electronic monitor and the reading comes in high and there is no reasonable explanation for that to be, then make sure you ask to have it checked with a manual cuff. Always get a second opinion, no matter how large or small the issue is.
What do you think? Do you always get a second opinion? How about the blood pressure issue? Have you ever had a false reading and been prescribed medication, when you know it’s not necessary? Would love to hear your comments below!