My vocal coach, Hannah Anders, recommended the naturopathic doctor that I saw. I share an audio clip below of me discussing my experience with her.
Two years ago, there was a woman in my dry eye support group who had a lot of success after seeing a naturopathic doctor; she called it a “functional MD.” I had no idea where to find a functional MD in my area that I could trust, but instead I decided to follow her regimen of a paleo diet. It didn’t help my eyes, so after three months I discontinued it.
But I did keep some of the dietary changes. I stopped using artificial sweeteners and seldom drank coffee anymore.
When I made an appointment with a highly recommended naturopathic doctor, I was certain the first thing I’d need to do was change my diet again. Two eye doctors had now told me that my eyelid irritation was an allergy, so it certainly seemed possible that it could be a food allergy.
My first appointment went differently than I expected.
I arrived at the naturopathic doctor’s office; the room was comforting and had a lovely aroma. Dr. Wang warmly squeezed my hand and ushered me into her office. She sat across from me and we began discussing my health concerns. I had a list of ailments. My dry eyes were my biggest issue, followed by itchy hive outbreaks, frequent painful leg cramps and persistent heartburn. After pestering my doctor for these problems and following his recommendations, I was still tormented.
I was surprised that she didn’t examine me; there was no weighing or blood pressure check. It was basically a ninety-minute discussion.
Dr. Wang quizzed me about my eye pain and wanted to know if my eyes felt better after I cried. I told her that crying made my eyes feel significantly worse. Her conclusion was that “drainage” was my issue.
I wasn’t sure exactly what drainage referred to, but it seemed that I had the same issue with digestion. I was taking a lot of antacid to squelch my heartburn. She explained that doing that had slowed my digestion and if my food weren’t fully digested, toxins would be excreted through my skin – possibly that was the cause of my hives. And cramps were a result of vitamins not being absorbed.
I found it fascinating and it did make sense. My rash outbreaks and cramps seemed to coincide with my increasing use of antacid medications.
At the end of our appointment, she gave me a detailed treatment plan. Some of it was more than I could wrap my head around at the moment. But I was willing to try.
First, I needed to purge my life of all plastic items. I went shopping to purchase stainless steel water bottles and cookware, as well as glass storage containers. Dr. Wang explained that Teflon and anodized steel cookware wasn’t healthy – even birds died when they were exposed to it. I was so used to using plastic storage items and wasn’t sure where to begin, but I began making the switch.
The hardest thing was when she asked me to stop swimming in a chlorinated pool. Swimming was exercise that calmed me and it would be tough to give up. Even though I explained that I wore goggles, she told me that skin absorption of chlorine was the problem. Her recommendation was that I walk every day for 30 minutes and include wrist or ankle weights.
Although I hated to give up swimming, I told myself it was temporary. I needed to try everything she recommended in order to help my eyes.
I purchased several supplements from her list before leaving that appointment. There were digestive enzyme caplets to take with meals, a probiotic and a Glutagenics powder added to water to soothe my heartburn.
The supplements were expensive, but within a few days I noticed I didn’t have any more itchy welts or intense leg cramps like I had before that appointment. That first week, it was challenging not to pop a Tums for heartburn, but gradually it became easier.
I was instructed to drink a lot of water and also to purchase distilled aloe vera liquid. I bought a gallon jug and was relieved that it was tasteless and easy to drink.
She was concerned that I had esophageal damage from the heartburn and recommended I ask my regular doctor for a scope test of it. My HMO doctor ordered it for me and I was also fortunate also that the lab tests she wanted would also be covered by my HMO. In three weeks we would meet again to discuss the results.
There was an eye regimen she listed that involved ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil.
I decided to wait on that regimen because I wanted to first give another regimen using preservative-free allergy eye drops a try. I let her know and she agreed that it was best to do one thing at a time.
I was grateful my other issues were diminishing – but at the same time my eyes were terrible because the allergy drops were worsening my condition. I was having a lot of trouble doing things because my vision and emotional state were affected.
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