Your relationship with your doctor plays a very important role in your healing journey and many people are unaware that achieving quality care requires that you be an active participant in your treatment process. Like any relationship, communication is vital to how satisfying and productive it will be, and the first step in communicating effectively with your doctor is to examine and rearrange the dynamics of power.
You should view your doctor as your employee and yourself as the supervisor overseeing everything, directing, organizing, and making final decisions about the care you will receive. You are paying them for a service and like any other service you purchase, you should be getting what you want, and if you aren’t, then you should go elsewhere.
I frequently hear the following types of statements from my clients.
“My doctor put me on drug X, Y, or Z.”
“My doctor won’t support the Paleo diet or a low-carb diet.”
“My doctor says there is no value in natural medicine.”
“My doctor doesn’t believe in Candida overgrowth.”
These are signs of an unhealthy doctor/patient relationship.
Your doctor should not “have you” on anything. They should present you with treatment options, but it should be your choice whether you try them or not, not your doctor’s. Drugs should always be a last resort and only taken when absolutely necessary. The decision on whether you should or should not be taking a drug or following any advice of the doctor should be yours and that decision should be made only after doing thorough research of your own and understanding everything that is involved.
You should never do anything because your doctor “told you to.” Any treatment options you put into action should be done because you “chose” to do them with your eyes wide open. You and your doctor should work together as a team.
Don’t make hasty on-the-spot decisions about your medical care. Go home and think about it and research. Better yet, you should be educating yourself on every facet of whatever health condition you face and you should be the one presenting your doctor with the treatment options that you would like to try.
You cannot assume that your doctor knows best because in many cases they do not. Many drugs are prescribed, lab tests carried out, and surgeries performed each and every day that are completely unnecessary. The same can be said for nutritional supplements and natural remedies. So, it is your responsibility to make sure you are not one of them.
Do not be afraid to speak up, challenge your doctor and stand up for yourself. If you feel wobbly in the knees at the thought of doing this, then take someone with you that can step up for you, nudge you, or stand behind you. Be assertive and ask for what you want. Be aware that you have the right to copies of your medical records, your lab test results, and anything else related to the care you receive. Get a folder to put them in and keep notes of things you’ve tried, want to try, responses to treatment, results, etc., so you can refer back to them. You must be your own best advocate.
If your doctor does not believe that the condition you have exists, then a different doctor is needed. Healing cannot take place in this type of environment, it’s a waste of time and money, and it’s disrespectful to you.
Additionally, you are free to eat whatever diet you feel supports your health the most; you don’t need your doctor’s permission. If your doctor does not understand that our mental and physical health is profoundly affected by our diet and that many health conditions can be improved with changes in diet; and if they still believe that high cholesterol, obesity, heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, etc. are caused by eating meat and think whole grains or a vegetarian diet are healthy, then it is time to find someone who is more up-to-date and advanced.
You are under no obligation to remain tethered to a doctor who is giving you bad dietary advice and/or keeping you stuck or causing more harm than good. There are many other doctors to choose from. Find another one. If you need that doctor for something specific you can’t get elsewhere, then go ahead and keep them on board, but bring someone else on board who can help you accomplish the changes you want to make and who is more enlightened about diet, nutrition, and pharmaceuticals. Go to them only for that specific need, not for anything else.
If your mechanic, hairdresser, plumber, or housekeeper doesn’t do the job you expect or treat you in the manner you desire, then you would fire them and find someone else. The same applies to your doctor. We don’t give our money to someone who does not provide the service we want. You should expect the same type of service from your doctor that you would get from any other service provider. If they do not fulfill the criteria, then you find someone who does. It is your health and your life that is at risk.
You want a doctor who values and welcomes your input, who expects you to play an active role in the process, who has similar beliefs as you when it comes to diet and healing, who views you as an equal partner, and who listens to you and welcomes questions. You should not feel afraid or intimidated by your doctor and they should not feel threatened by your involvement or contributions.
Yes, doctors with this mindset are far and few between, but they do exist. You may have to travel a good distance to find one. I currently drive two and a half hours to see my doctor. At other times in my life, I have driven as far as five hours to access the doctor I preferred. You have to be willing to go the extra mile to get better care. Many doctors will provide service through the telephone once you have become an established patient, and many practitioners offer their services online or on the phone without ever seeing you in person as long as they are not writing prescriptions.
You can begin your search for a more enlightened physician at the following websites.
Primal Docs (Of course a doctor who already practices primal/paleo principles is always preferred)
Functional Medicine Doctors
Doctor of Environmental medicine
American Holistic Medical Association
Do not put responsibility for your health or your healing path in the hands of your doctor. The quality of care you receive is largely dependent on how proactive and informed you are. Choose your doctor wisely, be informed, and lead the way. You are the one in control of your medical care, not them.