A note from Meg:
“When you have persistent symptoms, it can be a confusing and frustrating journey to find answers – especially when the medical specialists discount your symptoms and say your labs are “normal”. Like many who take their health into their own hands, you may have spent hours researching solutions on your own, and may even have a “supplement graveyard” filled with “hope-in-a-bottle”! I know how you feel as I have been there myself.
My journey with functional medicine started before I was 10 years old, when I suffered from digestive issues. My family found a physician trained to look for the root cause of my symptoms who also taught me the importance of having a guide and teacher on my health team, which I could not find in the mainstream medical world.
As an adult, I started to have more health issues in my early 30’s. Mainstream medicine dismissed my symptoms and recommended anti-depressants. Luckily, I knew that functional medicine may have better answers, and after attending a functional medicine conference, I was able to request the right labs and evaluation which lead to a diagnosis of autoimmune thyroiditis and endometriosis.
Because of my personal experiences, I am passionate about mentoring those suffering from symptoms associated with autoimmunity, thyroid, and metabolic conditions.“
THE FIRST VISIT
Meg is not your “typical” healthcare practitioner. She spends an hour before each new patient appointment, reviewing answers to questionnaires and organizing these according to what could be impacting someone’s health according various categories such as:
- Mitochondrial function (how your body makes/uses energy)
- Ability to absorb and obtain nutrients from food/air/water
- Hormonal “symphony” (cortisol, thyroid, reproductive hormones, vitamin D)
- Ability to process/eliminate “toxins” efficiently
- Immune function (with particular attention to the balance between TH1/TH2 and T-regulatory cells)
The first visit typically takes around 90 minutes in-person. This visit is focused on the “patient narrative” and getting to know each patient as a person (rather than his/her medical conditions).
Click here for an example of a patient’s experience with functional medicine (Dr. Sult, mentioned in the link, is one of Meg’s IFM professors).
ADVANCED LAB TESTING
Meg is able to order and interpret all tests that mainstream medical providers can order (e.g. ultrasounds, etc), in addition to most prescriptions. However, she uses these in away unique to the functional medicine model. For example, blood tests (most of which are billed to insurance) require an evaluation of PATTERNS in addition to the specific values.
In the conventional, insurance-based model of medicine, the focus is on identifying disease. Either a patient has a disease or they don’t – this makes a visit quicker, but doesn’t allow time to look for dysfunction (which takes a lot more time!).
Lab testing in functional medicine looks at biochemistry in blood/urine/saliva/stool, but these should always be addressed in the context of a patient’s symptoms and history. Not all “abnormals” are bad!
Although CCM has over 40 advanced lab options, Meg ultimately finds that 90% of symptoms improve by focusing on key areas. Which one of her teachers (Dr. Kharrazian) taught her:
- “Barriers” (gut, nasal passages, lungs)
- Lifestyle habits (sleep, stress, food)
Treatment involves pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals, herbs, therapeutic food, mindfulness training, and more.