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The Journey from There to Here

There was a time in my life when I did not feel so well. Actually, now when I look back it was really quite a large period of my life.  I was always one to put as much as I could on my plate. I thought that was the proper way to be a productive individual- certainly that was what my medical training had led me to believe.  I worked as an emergency room doctor flipping my schedule randomly between 12 hour day shifts and 12 hour night shifts. There was often not time to eat. There was not time to sit.  I took care of everyone.  I had 2 small children and a husband who were depending on me to provide for them. I had been dealing with panic attacks since medical school and had tried to reassure myself that I really would  not actually die from these – and that was about all of the comfort  and help I could gather from that diagnosis and my doctor.  The more stressed and sleep deprived I became, the more my stomach was bothering me. I began having episodes of pain after each meal and worse – episodes of intense vomiting and diarrhea that would come on at anytime, anywhere. My doctor said it was my gallbladder, so that was removed.  I had multiple colonoscopies and many visits but the episodes continued.  When I was in private practice in CT, it was often difficult for me to get out of the bathroom to see patients.  One night when I was in the emergency room admitting 3 of my private patients to the hospital, I had one of my “usual” episodes of abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.  Because I was already in the ER, the staff tried to help me and found that my blood pressure and pulse were exceedingly low and I needed immediate IV resuscitation and atropine (to raise my pulse).  Afterwards I announced that I could no longer continue to take call all night and work all day. I had to simplify my life because my health was out of control.  I left my practice thinking the demands of private practice were the problem.  I worked one day a week at a walk in center.  I thought for sure I would feel better then.  Only I didn't.  I was afraid to leave my house for fear of one of these episodes coming on.  I was so tired it was difficult for me to be functional.  When I would drive to work one day a week, I would often have to stop half way on my drive to rest before I could complete the trip.  I saw every doctor.  I went to my endocrinologist and suggested to him that perhaps my adrenal glands were not functioning properly to which he held up a lab test to my face and said I was “FINE”.  Seven years went by with me struggling to get through each day. There was no joy, nothing mattered.  I remember feeling that I was waiting to die – and even as a doctor I didn't know from what. 

Then something changed.  I went to California to learn an acupressure technique of treating allergies that I had been introduced to.  I met a naturopath who was taking the course who graciously examined me as a friend kinesiologically and said that my adrenal glands were burned out.  I told her that I had thought so too but didn't know how to treat that.  She suggested that I take an adrenal extract and within a few weeks I began to feel better.  I was also using the acupressure technique I learned to treat the allergies I never knew I had. Once I felt a little life in me, I began to exercise and I changed my diet completely.  Once I took myself off of grain – especially wheat, my stomach episodes subsided.   I began to feel vital and happy.  I had the energy to make needed changes in my relationships.  I wanted to live life again.  I completed the fellowship in Anti-aging and Regenerative Medicine.  There, I met doctors who were interested in getting to the root of ones' health issues, not just managing the symptoms.  It was called “evidence-based medicine”.  They spoke about adrenal fatigue, bio-identical hormones, nutritional depletions and supplements - everything to restore perfect physiology.  It all made sense for the first time.  I realized that I had been living most of my life with many symptoms of low progesterone – panic attacks, irritable bowel, adrenal fatigue. I was diagnosed with neurologic lyme as well.  I began to correct these issues.  I corrected my thyroid medication and warmth and energy returned to my body. Weight had always been a lifelong struggle and suddenly, the weight came off. But more importantly, I felt human again.   Now, I do not have panic issues. My stomach is great and I am free to live my life without the grip of fear.  My energy is great; my body is actually healthier and trimmer that I was when I was 30.  My journey was not easy.  It involved much soul searching as well.   I did not know where to find help – even as a doctor.  It lead me to this whole new branch of medicine and I am so grateful.  At the time, I kept wondering why I had one condition after the next.  WHY?  Well, maybe it was to lead me here.  Maybe it was so I would understand others.  Maybe it was so I would understand you.

~ Marie Dam

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