Communicating Clearly With Physicians
by Lee Warren
I’ve struggled with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) for years. It’s one of those chronic illness that occurs to women and it has a strong psychological component that leaves most allopathic practitioners puzzled.
For the most part I’ve avoided mainstream medicine for more than 20 years–especially when I realized they were pushing drugs they knew nothing about and never really seemed very holistic-minded. I’ve equipped myself with a strong sense of my body and a passionate desire to feel well.
For years I managed my IBS with food. In fact I built my life around it. Wanting a regular, clean, and nutrient-rich source of good food, I started a farm that grows dairy cows, meat animals, and eggs. I rebuilt my health over ten years and my IBS disappeared into the background, all but forgotten.
A year ago, after a divorce and some other huge life changes, the IBS came back again. Through experimentation I realized I was eating too much dairy and backed off. I decided I wanted to look into the idea of allergies a bit more.
I went to a practitioner that is connected to my community. Because It’s important in that world to see “empiric evidence” he wanted all kinds of tests performed….iron, thyroid, liver, parasites, allergies, blood count. On and on the list went.
I agreed to two allergy tests – milk and eggs and then I fled from the office. I don’t swim in that world very often and got easily overwhelmed by the paradigm that all these things could be wrong, that all this evidence must be gathered. Yet to my surprise, the tests came back positive for allergies to these beloved foods. I did nothing for a long time – a year actually.
Recently I went back again to determine other food allergies. I told the practitioner that I needed him to slow down. People in that world seem like the authority to those of us who live simpler lives. They seem confident and have the world of knowledge and facts and figures on their side. The softer, intuitive, and different approaches get swept aside. But I persisted. I mentioned that I was overwhelmed, that I didn’t share his paradigm of looking for every possible bad thing and that if he wanted me to make good decisions we would have to work together to keep me relaxed. He was confused and curious about how I believed.
It took me a minute but I managed to blurt out that the closest thing to representing my worldview is the wise woman tradition. Every time I come back to this masterpiece of Susun Weed’s I am struck with how elegant, how feminine, and how life-honoring, earth-honoring, and body-honoring it is.
I sent him a printout and had him put this in my patient file. When faced with a health problem (non emergency-based), this is how I’m going to respond.
The Six Steps of Healing by Susun Weed
Step 0: Do Nothing
(sleep, meditate, unplug the clock or the telephone)
Step 1: Collect Information
(low-tech diagnosis, books, support groups, divination)
Step 2: Engage the Energy
(prayer, homeopathy, ceremony, affirmations, laughter)
Step 3: Nourish and Tonify
(herbal infusions and vinegars, hugs, exercise, food choices, gentle massage, yoga stretches)
Note: Healing with Steps 4, 5, and 6 always causes some harm.
Step 4: Stimulate/Sedate
(hot or cold water, many herbal tinctures, acupuncture)
For every stimulation/sedation, there is an opposite sedation/stimulation, sooner or later. Addiction is possible if this step is overused.
Step 5a: Use Supplements
(synthesized or concentrated vitamins, minerals, and food substances such as nutritional yeast, blue-green algae, bran)
These substances may do as much harm as good.
Step 5b: Use Drugs
(chemotherapy, tamoxifen, hormones, high dilution homeopathics, and potentially toxic herbs)
Step 6: Break and Enter
(threatening language, surgery, colonics, radiation therapies, psychoactive drugs, invasive diagnostic tests such as mammograms and C-T scans)
Side effects, including death, are inevitable.