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Initial Visit with a Functional Medicine Doctor - Geek Turned Athlete

Initial Visit with a Functional Medicine Doctor

I had my first visit ever with a functional medicine doctor up in Austin on Wednesday. It took me almost two hours to get drive up there, but it was worth it.  When I first arrived, my vitals were taken, then I met with my doctor for 70 minutes. She asked me all sorts of questions that included:

  • Were you breastfed?
  • Did you get constant ear infections as a child?
  • When were you first introduced to dairy? Gluten?
  • What is your family medical history? (much more extensive than your standard family history requested at any other doctor’s office that I have ever been to)

I told her my “IBS story” that not only included digestive issues, but acne, migraines, and various other ailments. She felt that I might have a candida overgrowth as well as small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO) that was never fully cured with my last round of antibiotics.  My last breath test results confirmed that I still have SIBO. 🙁

I also talked with her about my hormonal birth control. I really liked how she first stated that it was a personal decision for every woman. I pressed further though to see what her personal thoughts were. She is not a fan of hormonal birth control. She pretty much said that by me taking my hormonal birth control it would impede my gut healing. I told her I was afraid to get off of it because of my horrible cystic acne, and she said that I wouldn’t have acne once my gut was healed and my hormones were leveled out. I told her I was afraid of “family planning” since that is how I got my 3 nephews and niece (sorry, sis, but you know it is true). She suggested a fertility app that I could get for my iPhone, and I would just use it in reverse. So, on “green light” days, we would abstain or use another form of birth control, etc. I have been on hormonal birth control since I was 17 (13 YEARS!), and studies are just now coming out about long term use. Some are good; some are bad. I still haven’t decided what I’m going to do, but that is definitely something to think about. The appointment went by really fast.

After that I had about 15 vials of blood taken in a lab. I know that sounds like a lot, but with each vial ranging from 5 ml to 15 ml, it wasn’t bad at all. Compare that to the standard blood donation of 450 to 500 ml of blood.

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They gave me a snack, and then I met with the staff nutritionist for 50 minutes while we went over the supplements my doctor suggested for me to start taking as well as what my version of The Myers Way was going to consist of. I was under no obligation to buy any of those supplements (which they stated many times), and both my doctor and the nutritionist stated that I wouldn’t have to take the supplements forever. They were just to get me healthy again. Since I eat mostly paleo and my doctor seems to think I have a candida overgrowth as well, I was put on the paleo and candida Myers Way protocols. Dr. Myers makes all of her patients go on an elimination diet (tailored to the patient).

The basic Myers Way program cuts out:

* Alcohol
* Caffeine
* Processed and GMO foods
* Sugar, HFCS, all sweeteners
* All citrus foods except for lemons
* Corn
* Dairy
* Eggs
* Gluten
* Nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, peppers)
* Peanuts
* Soy
* Yeast (vinegar, baked goods, and all fermented foods)

She suggested I stayed paleo (no grains or legumes) because of cross reactivity.

After two weeks, I add in one food type at a time for 3 days, eat elimination style again for 3 days, and record all symptoms.  These do not have to be digestive symptoms.  Then, I do the same thing again for the rest of food types.

The candida protocol limits fruit to 1 cup per a day, and starchy veggies are limited to 2 cups max per a day. The goal here is to starve the candida (and SIBO in my case) out. In addition to keeping it low carb so not to feed the overgrowth of various items in my small intestine, she gave me a prescription to more antibiotics for the SIBO (it often takes more than one round of antibiotics to get it under control) and some Caprylic Acid for the possible candida. The antibiotics for the SIBO are local instead of systemic. This means that they cannot get past my digestive system into my blood stream to kill good bacteria. This is unlike most antibiotics that you get when lets say you have strep.

I was sent home with 9 supplements. These were tailored specifically for the symptoms and possible reasons for them that I am experiencing. Most of the supplements have to do with healing my “leaky gut.”  If you are terribly curious as to what she has me on, feel free to email me, but I’m not going to list them here just because they may not be beneficial for you. Everyone is different.

I was also sent home with a couple of test kits for my stool and urine. I was to get the specimens ready at home and ship them off via Fedex, then begin the elimination diet the next day. I got those sent off yesterday, and today has been my first day on The Myers Way and all of my supplements. All is good. I’m craving some chocolate, but what is new. 😉 My husband, surprisingly, agreed to do it with me so at least I have someone else to suffer with. Haha. I really don’t think he is going to have a hard time with any of it. I’m going to be the one to freak out b/c I love my sweets which has probably been feeding my infections. Lovely.

Anyway, here are the tests that I’m having done. Dr. Myers and I will go over the results at follow-up visit in 6 weeks. If you decide to watch any of the videos linked to 3 of these, you will see they are VERY comprehensive.

Overall, I’m hopeful. I’m glad that I found paleo, and for some people, it solves all their problems. I’m not one of those people, and I’m glad that I went to seek help. If I end up having a candida infection, drinking kombucha and eating fermented foods (normally healthy foods) was actually making it worse. I think diet plays a HUGE role in health, but if you have underlying problems that cannot be addressed with the standard paleo diet, you may need help figuring out what your issues are.

Have you ever been to a functional medicine doc or any other type of alternative practitioner?  The big thing with me was that if I was going to see another type of practitioner, they needed to back their treatments up with science.  There are no more Ayurvedic cleanses in my future!  🙂 

*I am NOT being compensated by Austin Ultra Health or Dr. Myers for this write up.  I wish!  It was NOT cheap to see her.  I just thought it could benefit some of my readers by sharing my experiences with a functional medicine doctor. 😉

{ 22 comments… add one }
  • Lindsay June 22, 2013, 6:29 am

    You can do it! I have a good feeling about this this round of healing. HUgs!

    p.s.
    Will i see you again in 6 weeks? 😉

    Reply
    • Nicole June 24, 2013, 10:43 am

      Thank you!! I hope so!!

      Reply
  • Tiffany @ The Chi-Athlete June 22, 2013, 7:10 am

    Seriously, I can’t imagine answering any of those questions! I’d be all o.O I’m proud of you for continuing your search for an answer to this. No matter how uncomfortable you (or Steve, hehe…bless his heart!) may be finding the answer, I’m sure it doesn’t compare to the discomfort and pain you’ve had for YEARS. Big hug, my sweet friend!

    Reply
    • Nicole June 24, 2013, 10:44 am

      Yes. It was funny when the nutritionist was like, “Do you think you will have issues following this elimination diet?” I was like, “Hell no!”. I just want to feel better! I will do whatever you want me to do (as long as it makes sense to me, of course). 😉

      Reply
  • Natalie Tremblay June 23, 2013, 8:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing your experience! I’ve seen a Naturopath who also asked me a bunch of questions via paper forms I had to fill out (took me 1 hour!!!) and she put me on the “Wild Rose Herbal Detox” for 12 days as she suspected my body was too acidic (instead of alkaline) and also had a candida overgrowth. I found the restricted diet super hard to follow and personally , didn’t really see any improvements in my health. I’m still searching for the solution and am trying “green juicing” for now and alkalinizing my foods by adding pH Miracle powder to lower the acidity in my body. Here’s hoping we both feel better soon! 🙂

    Reply
    • Nicole June 24, 2013, 10:49 am

      Interesting, Natalie. Have you read Chris Kresser’s article that talks about that? http://chriskresser.com/the-ph-myth-part-1. His article makes sense, at least from my point of view. My physiology class last semester talked about mechanisms that control your blood pH.

      Anyway, I hope you feel better soon. You might want to try a functional medicine doc instead of a naturopath. 😉

      Reply
  • Susan June 25, 2013, 9:26 am

    Hi!
    I just found your blog and I will be following your progress in healing. Both my hubby and I have been treated by drs who are connected with People’s RX Pharmacy. He did great eating the paleo diet and lost over 50 lbs doing that alone. He fell off the wagon and has gained back all of the weight since he is back to eating wheat, which for him is a huge NO, NO!

    I lost a toenail and think it is definitely linked to candida overgrowth. I can’t go to Peoples
    anymore because they got to be too expensive so I’ve been self treating and when I came across your blog, It really peaked my interest!! I hope you keep us posted on a daily basis on
    how it is going for you. I would love to see what you eat while being treated by Dr Myers. Did
    she say if you could eat the bone broth soup? It’s good for gut healing.

    Wishing you the best of luck in your quest for better health. Thank you for posting tgis info!

    Reply
    • Nicole June 25, 2013, 10:16 am

      She did say that bone broth is great! 🙂 I will see about posting some “days of Myers Way eating” in the future. I was kinda putting off doing it just because I didn’t want to get crap from people critiquing it, but I think a lot of people are interested so I think that will outweigh the cons. 😉

      Good luck with your healing journey! If you are doing it on your own, I suggest getting Practical Paleo if you haven’t read it already. It outlines special meal plans and supplements to help heal your gut.

      Reply
      • Susan June 25, 2013, 1:26 pm

        It would be awesome to see an eating plan and I hope that you can find some time to post what she has you eating. I think it’s wonderful of you to talk about your health issues because in doing so, it might help someone else to find the cause of their health issues.

        I’ll have to buy the Practical Paleo book. Thanks for recommending it! I only have one issue issue with eating the paleo way. I am type A blood and my naturopathic dr said that ttype A blood stores meat as fat. Why does eating have to be so darned complicated?!

        Reply
        • Nicole June 25, 2013, 5:30 pm

          I would just try it and see how you feel. It can’t hurt. You may need to take enzymes initially to help you digest the meat if you haven’t been eating a lot lately. I’m not saying that you are like this, but many people think paleo is all meat. It is not. You are just eating tons of veggies with a little side of meat. At least that is the way I interpret it.

          Reply
  • Susan June 25, 2013, 9:41 am

    I hit the submit button too soon on my previous message. I hate typing on my nook color. Sorry for the typo!

    Reply
  • Susan June 26, 2013, 9:51 am

    I take the digestive enzymes but just ran out yesterday so need to buy some more. I also take HCL because I have low stomach acid so that might explain why eating meat seemed like I was basically eating a shoe. I prefer eating vegetarian but then you risk the low B12 issue. We mainly eat grass fed chicken, wild caught fish and recently made shish kabobs using salmon, cut into cubes. Yum!

    I’m now wondering what veggies cause bloating so I’ll need to look into that one next. I hope that you take things one day at a time and start to notice changes soon! Hang in there!

    Reply
    • Nicole June 26, 2013, 1:06 pm

      You may want to look into FODMAP’s for that issue with carbs. 😉

      Reply
  • Susan June 26, 2013, 1:33 pm

    Thank you for this info. I really appreciate it!

    Reply
  • Helena July 1, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Hang in there. Getting off the pill and dealing with multiple side effects is a rough path but I know you can do it. If you have managed to do Paleo you will be able to do this! Hugs from a fellow Yasmin survivor – Helena (misspkm)

    Reply

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