My path to remission in 2014-15 was paved with medical appointments. Again and again, I found myself in the office of a new doctor, naturopath, or other practitioner, filling out lengthy intake forms, telling my story in increasingly expert detail.
At times I sounded like a doctor, myself. “My symptoms began in October of 2013. I was diagnosed with ulcerative proctitis in March 2014 via colonoscopy. My main symptoms mimic those of full-blown colitis, with frequent, urgent bowel movements with bright red blood, abdominal pain that feels like steel wool being scraped through my colon, and fatigue. I’ve tried Canasa, Lialda, Proctofoam, and prednisone, and of those, only Proctofoam has consistently decreased my symptoms. I have no family history of IBD, although my dad died of stomach cancer at age 67 and he had various other inflammatory conditions…”
Being able to describe my condition gave me some semblance of control. This helped, because in reality, I still felt myself to be living at the whims of forces I couldn’t understand at all.
As I moved among all these practitioners, I hoped to find the one who would turn out to be my Perfect Doctor. In Virginia Harper’s book, Controlling Crohn’s Disease the Natural Way, her Perfect Doctor turns out to be a macrobiotic specialist (and not actually a doctor). He helps her wean herself of toxic conventional meds, healing her gut through macrobiotic food alone. Macrobiotic counselors would be expensive, because I’d have to pay out of pocket, so I put that idea aside for now. But maybe I could find an integrative medicine practitioner like Dr. Andrew Weil, who combines his MD with expertise in alternative practices.
I felt strongly that my own Perfect Doctor would be integrative, too. Someone who understood and respected conventional Western medicine and alternative medicine like acupuncture, naturopathy, and healing through diet. Someone who could see that multiple philosophies have important insights to offer.
Somewhere in Portland, there had to be someone who could make sense out of what was happening to me.