My wife has grappled with her own auto-immune issues for years. And over the years, I have marveled at the head swirling array of care providers that she has marshaled. I’d been happy to support her in her process, but it always seemed unnecessarily complicated to me. Then, along came my cranky gut.
I now officially work with 2 different gastroenterologists (one MD and one ND), I have left behind another naturopathic gut doctor and a surgeon. I am also starting to look for a primary care doctor. Oh, and did I mention I’m considering scheduling an appointment with my chiropractor?
So why TWO G.I. guys? My plan is that they will serve different functions. The MD has his own endoscopy lab where I’ll be able to get my colonoscopies, and he’s also well-informed on the use of powerful drugs for the management of Crohn’s symptoms. The ND, on the other hand, has a wide variety of tools at his disposal for addressing the root cause of the Crohn’s itself *without* the use of powerful drugs (which I’d rather avoid if at all possible). With him, I’ll be talking about and attempting to resolve things such as yeast overgrowth, bacterial imbalances, enzymatic issues as well as overall lifestyle factors that might contribute to greater overall gut health. For example, a couple of simple tests performed in his office indicated that I have low stomach acidity. This can greatly contribute to problems with bacterial overgrowth as well as nutrient malabsorption. Also, we determined that, as is commonly the case with auto-immune disorders, my pancreas isn’t producing nearly enough elastase, which results in less food being digested, which in turn results in further bacterial overgrowth.
I suppose it’s not uncommon for someone coming to grips with a new diagnosis to feel a certain sense of overwhelm at all of the stuff that comes with it, but I’m finding it an interestingly ironic twist as I find myself in the same position as my wife, looking for that perfect ‘care provider alchemy’.
One thing is certain… over the next couple of months, I’ll have some fairly significant choices to make regarding the specifics of how I’m going to maintain this disease. I’m going to spend some time this week talking about some of those therapies: What they are, how they work, and how they fit into the overall therapeutic picture. Hopefully, by finding ways to describe it for others, I’ll start to understand them a bit better for myself. So stay tuned!