When you've been experiencing chronic and unpleasant symptoms, your first instinct might be to go to your doctor.
It's unfortunate, but it often feels like time is limited whenever you step foot into your doctor's office. It may also feel like your doctor is preoccupied and not fully listening to what you're saying.
However, it's so important to firmly stand your ground and listen your gut, especially when it comes to your health.
Sometimes doctors that follow more western medicine practices tend to stick to textbook information and very rarely look to other alternative methods of treatment.
This is exactly what happened to Julia Schopick. Her husband suffered from a cancerous brain tumor for 15 years. They followed everything the doctor wanted done (medications, radiation, surgery), but he still suffered massive amounts of side effects that ended up prolonging the healing process and making him worse. Julia voiced her concern, but the doctors shrugged it off and thought that nothing else could be done. Finally fed up, Julia decided to listen to her gut and take matters into her own hands.
She learned a handful of ways she could help ease her husband's symptoms, for instance, by changing up his diet. When she shared the different treatment options she was using on her husband, the primary doctor wasn't interested at all, even though he seemed to be doing much better.
What should you do if you feel like you're doctor's advice isn't helping?
Patient advocate, Julia Schopick, shares why you should always listen to your gut when it comes to your health, as well as what to do if your doctor's advice isn't helping.
RadioMD Presents:The Dr. Holly Lucille Show| Original Air Date: March 11, 2015
Host: Holly Lucille, ND, RN
It's time to separate fact from fiction and health fads. It's time for the Dr. Holly Lucille show. Here's Dr. Holly.
DR HOLLY: Hi, folks. Thanks so much for coming back. Our topic today: how to listen to your gut when your doctor's advice isn't helping.
I've got something to help me talk about all this. There's Julia Schopick.How are you?
JULIA: I'm fine. How are you, Dr. Holly? It's so wonderful to be on with you today.
DR HOLLY: Well, thanks so much for coming back and I am well. People can find you at your lovely website, HonestMedicine.com, but I think this subject is great because I, as a naturopathic doctor having an active clinic practice, do get a lot of people coming in from other practitioners, mostly conventional Western reductionistic MD's that their insurance sort of has tethered them to, and they aren't getting the care that they're wanting and that's why they've ended up at my office.
So, what made you start thinking about this? Did you have a personal experience?
JULIA: I did. I definitely had a personal experience and then my book has several personal experiences from other people. I had the experience that when my husband Tim was sick with a cancerous brain tumor, we did everything the doctor said and, luckily, you had to have a huge tumor taken out. I mean, that you couldn't avoid. But, we started to do everything, as I said, that the doctor said and he started getting so many side effects and so many complications that, finally, I started listening to my gut and, my goodness, he started to do better. We fixed up his diet; we got him a nutritionist whose area was cancer and brain tumors, in particular, believe it or not, and he started to flourish and I found that the doctors were not at all interested in what we were doing and that set off the "ding ding" that following one's gut, you had to do, even if the doctors were not interested.
DR HOLLY: Wow. Wow. That's just amazing. Yes. That's really, really sound advice. Tell me about a couple more folks—patients—whose stories you tell in your book.
JULIA: Well, I can tell you about patients, but I can also tell you that the thing that really made me go "ding, ding, ding" was 10 years later, he had a recurrence of the tumor and at that point, the suture line would not heal and I started to get online and find all sorts of treatments. He ended up having 8 additional surgeries that ended up making him brain injured, paralyzed, incontinent and, finally, I heard about a treatment that absolutely healed his skin. It was the skin that was not healing and it was called Silverlon and what I found was that the doctors, again, were not interested in this treatment. As a matter of fact, one of the doctors actually told me that he thought it was one of their treatments kicking in, you know? And, at that point, I knew.
DR HOLLY: Right. Of course.
JULIA: Is that a regular occurrence or not?
DR HOLLY: Yes.
JULIA: That conventional doctors think it's their treatments kicking in and it's not what you found?
DR HOLLY: Sure and I also feel like I think it's really important because there are a lot of moving pieces and, as I see, there are many different contributing causes to somebody's clinical presentation and it's important to keep everything straight. Thinking things through is so, so very, very important. So, I think about that so much. Tell me some more stories because you write about them in your book, Honest Medicine.
JULIA: You know, I wrote the book Honest Medicine as a tribute to people who were really being given the run around by conventional medicine. They were on treatments that just weren't working for some very serious diseases and, in every case, and I can tell you in a few of the cases, they finally started listening to their guts.
For instance, there's the case of Jim Abrams. He's a very famous director/producer/writer in Hollywood. He wrote the Airplane movies and his son Charlie began having intractable seizures as a little baby. This was in 1994, years ago. And, Jim did everything just like the doctors said and the child kept getting worse. Little Charlie kept getting worse and worse and worse. At one point, he was on 4 or 5—Jim cannot remember if it was 4 or 5—anti-seizure medications at once. Can you just picture a little baby on that many...I mean.
At this point, Dr. Holly. He was starting to walk. Little Charlie was starting to walk. I have in my book—in Honest Medicine—a link to a video of little Charlie walking with a harness on his back because he was so stoned. Finally, Jim said, "Enough." And he went to the library and he started looking. Actually, he was looking for a way that his family was going to deal with this child who just wasn't going to get better. What did he find but a diet? The ketogenic diet. A high fat, low carb, low protein diet.
DR HOLLY: Right. Right.
JULIA: That had been used since the 1920s at places like the Mayo Clinic and Johns Hopkins and he brought the information to the doctors. Remember, he was a Hollywood producer/director so he had access to the best of the best of the best and the doctor said, "Don't try it. It won't work." He said, "To my everlasting shame. I listened to him. Didn't try it." They let them do a surgery on Charlie's brain. That didn't work and then finally he said, "I had to listen to my gut," and we took little Charlie to Johns Hopkins where they put him on the diet and guess what? Forty-eight hours later, he stopped having seizures and they never returned again. Isn't that a powerful story?
DR HOLLY: That is a very powerful story and, I mean, I think it's just such a great point for folks just to, Julia, I've said it many times. How can I say something that's different from everything else being said. Like, what do I really want to do? It's helping use their own mind to go, "Wait a minute. Wait a minute." Or, as you say, and it's funny because the gut is the second brain, right?
JULIA: It is.
DR HOLLY: Yes. So, I mean, it's very, very powerful and I think it's very empowering at the same time. So, what happens when you go in or your patients or the people that you have contact with. What are you hearing when they have an idea and their doctor dismisses it? What do you tell them to do?
JULIA: You know, this has been a long, hard answer and I won't bore you with every step of what I've come to, but I've started coaching people on how to talk to your doctor because it is a special skill. I think I have a special way of knowing because my dad was a doctor and you have to talk with doctors in a particular way. You have to present them with information in, as I call it, "doctor-speak". You know?
DR HOLLY: Sure.
JULIA: But you know what? You have to also know when to just fold up tent and go to another tent like a more holistic, natural doctor. Like you.
DR HOLLY: Yes.
JULIA: But, there are ways that I can coach people, and do coach people, to present the materials and to pick out materials. You know what patients usually do? They do things that just make doctors' minds turn off. And that is, "Well, I heard about this treatment from the internet." Don't do it.
DR HOLLY: Right.
JULIA: Don't say that.
DR HOLLY: You know, it's so interesting that you say that because I do the exact same thing with my patients who are...You know, I work on a team with anybody that they have access to other resources with and especially folks that have that insurance that they want to utilize or we've got some diagnostics that we need. I'll just pull them in, but I'll do the same thing.
I'll coach them as to, you know, "You can say...You don't want to maybe offend them or put yourself..." Just, you know, you might want to say, "Listen, a good friend of mine, or I have been seeing a practitioner that might recommend..." just offering the information and getting the most out of their listening skills, I think, as you said, is really, really important.
We've got 60 seconds left and Julia, I just really appreciate this information because I think it's so important for our listeners. You can definitely find more tips of the trade about how you can get your doctor to listen, but also how you—you, listeners out there—can listen to your gut and use your own mind when it comes to your own healthcare and you can talk proudly. Your doctors work for you. You remember that, alright.
So, HonestMedicine.com. The book is Honest Medicine. It is an amazing, amazing book. Julia, you do such great work. I can't wait to have you back.
Thanks, folks, for listening. This is doctor Holly Lucille. You're on RadioMD and you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook @YourRadioMD. Alright. Have a great day.