It's been a while and many tests later, but I wanted to wait until my journey with my Western practitioner was wrapped up to share it here. While I was on the waitlist for a Functional Medicine Doctor (they are actually almost more difficult to get an appointment with than a GI doc...totally crazy!), I ran a bunch of tests with my gastroenterologist at let's call it the "western medical center" in Palo Alto. He's a great doctor, but the problem doesn't lie with him, it lies with the way our medical system is currently arranged. I had to push for most of the tests I got, and even then, they were not run the way I had hoped they would be. For example, I was scheduled for an allergy panel. I thought wow this is great, maybe even a turning point! Who would have thought they would go the food route? Not me. For those who are familiar with western medicine practices, you know this is rare, typically they hand you a pamphlet on Low Fodmaps or some other diet and call it a day. When I got the test results back, I noticed they ran an allergy panel for only IgA allergies, not IgG. IgA allergies cause an immune response, they are not the food sensitivities that may be upsetting the gut. Those sensitivities can *sometimes* be found with an IgG test (though it isn't always 100% accurate and requires you to eat all the foods they're testing for before the test). At this point, I was fuming. Not only had they run the same thyroid test twice (not even a deep dive panel), but they were checking for something that I would be aware of -- no, I'm thankfully not deathly allergic to peanuts, just very allergic to the protein in milk.
Despite that annoyance, it was important to get the initial testing out of the way. If you're interested, feel free to take a gander at the tests that were run and my results:
- Stool tests: Ova + Parasite. Giardia + Cryptosporidium EIA, Pathogens - Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, and E.coli 0157, Clostridium difficile
- Lab work: Vitamin B12, Thyroid function, IGE tests, baseline celiac disease panel
- Abdominal // Pelvic MRI
- Abdominal // Pelvic CT Scan
- Colonoscopy + Endoscopy
- SIBO test
- Pelvic Ultrasound
All of the stool + lab work listen above came back negative or "normal" when using the western medicine scale. It's important to note that the western scale varies from the functional medicine scale. It will be interesting to see where my test results lie once they are analyzed by my functional medicine doctor and further tests are run. For example, in western practice only one celiac test is done, whereas in a functional medicine practice they check 5 variations. More to come here in my next post!
Both my SIBO test and ultrasound were a-okay. I want to point out that we ran so many intensive tests because of my family history. Everyones testing options are different, it is totally dependent on your own body + your genetic make up.
It is interesting to note that there were two possible polyps found during my endoscopy, but they cannot be confirmed because the proper tool to analyze and remove is only available at certain health centers and hospitals. Next time I go in, in about a year, I will have to make sure it is somewhere that has that tool. If they are in fact polyps, they are very small, and the area has been biopsied. All reports read we are fine there for now. What's interesting to me, is what is off in my system that could be causing them to form? The only other thing that has stuck out thus far in my journey is the new knowledge that I have a fatty liver. Another point of annoyance with the current western medicine philosophy. Apparently having a fatty liver is considered pretty normal. However, I am an underweight, healthy eating, active 24 year old. So to me, it does not seem "normal."
Just last week I had my first conversation with my functional medicine clinic. Finally!! I spoke to the intake nurse and got to tell her all of my problems with out feeling like a crazy B like I usually do! I get the funniest looks. But she totally got it and was understanding. I have a list of new tests to run , predominantly stool + lab, before I see my functional medicine doctor and have a big sit down with next steps. Looking forward to updating you more along the way!
If you have gut and // or liver issues too, feel free to reach out. I absolutely love swapping stories. I would never wish these hurdles on anyone, but knowing that there is another person dealing with something similar to you is a soul warming experience.
In good health!