Wednesday, March 9, 2011

SENSITIVE

This morning I went to see that doctor I mentioned previously; the one who specializes in freaky problems like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), Fibromyalgia, and Environmental Sensitivities.  In other words, he deals with diagnoses that are looked upon with suspicion and confusion by the mainstream medical establishment.

This doctor is an MD, however he is no longer practicing as such because his alternative methods were not to the liking of our local medical regulatory body.  He is officially retired, and practicing under his license as a homeopath.  He has made quite a name for himself locally, and is well-respected by one of my doctor relatives.

First off, Dr. H. asked me to tell him my whole story.  Everything.  When did my symptoms start?  How did they change over time?  It was literally the first time that any medical professional had spent that much time with me going over the big picture.  G.p.'s in Toronto generally spend no more than 15 minutes with a patient at any visit, and usually less than that.  We talked for two hours.  It was amazing.  He really listened too; made lots of notes and marked them up with yellow and purple highlighter; stroked his chin and said "Interesting.  Now tell me more about [insert symptom of choice here]."

His impressions from our interview seemed to point to a hormone imbalance.  I'm going to get some blood tests done to see if he's on the right track there.

Next up was the electro-dermal testing.  This is a technique of testing for sensitivities that has been subject to criticism and is not widely accepted as a standard for medical truth.  However, 15 years ago electro-dermal testing was a huge help to me by identifying a number of food sensitivities that I hadn't been aware of.  Eliminating those foods from my diet made a major positive difference in my health, so I'm convinced that this type of testing can be illuminating.

In a nutshell, the technique involves running a weak electrical current through the patient's body and the testing machine.  A baseline test is done to establish a null response, and then various substances are inserted into the testing machine to measure how they affect the patient's electrical resistance.  The output is to a needle on a gauge, and a sonic response.  If the machine goes fwooop if means you're doing fine.  If the machine goes FWEEEEP, that means you have a sensitivity to that substance, i.e. it stresses your body and you'd be best advised to avoid it.

My friendly tester, Wendy, informed me that they would start by testing various viruses.  Obviously all viruses are bad, so I gathered that this particular test is supposed to tell them which viruses you may have been exposed to.  There were around two dozen items listed on the recording sheet.  I got comfortable and Wendy got started.  I was feeling alright initially.  The room was warm and the chair was comfy.  I waited for the fwoops and FWEEPS while we made idle conversation.  I've had this type of testing done twice before and it never felt like much of anything.

This time.  OMG.  I don't know what was in those test tubes, but as she tested me on certain ones I literally felt waves of horrible, overwhelming physical stress break over my body.  At first I thought I could tough it out.  Just breathe through it.  I would be fine.  But then I got to that point where you don't know whether you're going to cry, scream, barf, or faint, or maybe all four at once, so I called a break.  Then I broke down and cried because I felt so awful I didn't even care about preserving my dignity anymore.

Wendy got up and conferred with the doctor.  Apparently, even in the context of this practice, where Dr. H and Wendy have both worked for thirty years, where the clients are self-selected to be among the most sensitive, reactive humans in southern Ontario, I am VERY SENSITIVE.  I am the most sensitive person of the Sensitive People. Not that there was ever any doubt.

We persevered, with several breaks for me to collect myself.  With Wendy patting me on the arm encouragingly, we made it through the entire list. To be clear, I have no idea how to interpret the results.  They could mean anything, and I won't know until I talk to the doctor at my next visit what it all means.  However, I noticed that for every FWEEP Wendy marked a little + sign on her paper.  Once when she left the room for a minute I peeked at the results so far.  There was a + next to Chronic Fatigue Virus, among others.  I felt a certain grim satisfaction in that moment.  Although, who knows what it truly means.  It's probably too much to hope that anything can be conclusive from this one, slightly sketchy test.  At this point I'm still reserving judgement.

The bottom line is that it's going to be a while before I can learn anything further from Dr. H.  First I have to get my blood tested for a bunch of things, which means going to my g.p. to get test requisitions (Dr. H. can't do it since he's not a practicing MD officially anymore).  I'll have to split the blood tests up into two or three lots, since having a lot of blood drawn in one sitting is something that can trigger my symptoms, so that means several trips to the lab, with time in between to regenerate my precious hemoglobin.  Then I have to do at least two more rounds of electro-dermal testing, because I don't have the stamina to tolerate it all in one go, which means driving out to Suburbton and back each time and poor, patient Ken kicking around in the waiting room for the duration because I don't have a driver's license.  Once that's all done I can reconvene with Dr. H. and find out what all the puzzle pieces are saying to him.

I'm guessing this whole series of shenanigans and fooferah will take a couple of months.  So, stay tuned.  The special doctor visit is now a mini-series.

13 comments:

Jenski said...

I'm a sucker for real-life mini-series. :-) The electro-dermal testing sounds interesting! May the next three month provide a plan to help you manage your health!

DarcKnyt said...

Wow, a mini-series for the price of a single episode? Awesome!

And heck, I'm sensitive to most viruses too! And I don't need a FWEEPing machine to tell me. I don't blame you for needing to break up the testing!

Hope it goes well. :)

kenju said...

Ditto what Jenski said.

LL Cool Joe said...

I hate doctors, tests and anything medical, but as long as it doesn't get too gory I'll follow the mini-series!

DarcsFalcon said...

Oooh, a mini-series! Awesome! Will Richard Chamberlain be in it? ;)

Glad you're seeing someone who might be able to help.

That song by Jewel, on her first album I think, "I'm Sensitive" went through my mind as I was reading.

We're rooting for you! Here's to good health and solved medical mysteries!

Claire said...

Oh that sounds so trying, sweetie. But here's hoping this all leads to greater knowledge and greater comfort.

Best wishes,
Cxx

Lynn said...

Wow - very interesting as a mini-series. I like your word fooferah.

G said...

Wowzers. I'm looking forward to the nifty mini-series.

On a related note, I can sympathize with the use of electricity to diagnose a particular problem.

They used some heavy electricity on me twice to diagnose my CMT and it was the longest one and half hours that I ever spent for each sitting.

Good luch and heres to finally finding out what's wrong with you, medically speaking.

Hevenly said...

Fweep ! I'm definitely someone who thinks more information is better than less when it comes to health; all the power to you.

Ron said...

Awesome that you found someone that seems to be listening and taking the time hopefully figure everything out for you. I'm betting when they hit what's causing most of your troubles the machine will start smoking and catch fire ;-), but at least you will know what it is.

ileana said...

Wow, he took TWO hours going over everything with you, and he takes a more natural approach to treating and healing...I love it! I need to find a doctor like Dr. H!

Let's hope you get some answers soon. This guy sounds like he could be the one to figure it all out. Keep us posted!

Enjoy your weekend! :)

Jameil said...

I'M SO GLAD YOU MIGHT BE NEARING A SOLUTION!!!

San said...

Wow, what an interesting experience. I like the sound of Dr. H. His approach, especially spending so much time listening, I find very attractive.

I will stay tuned to your mini-series.