Sunday, July 31, 2011


“Go see your naturopath,” Dr. Ross told me at my last appointment, “and cut down on as many supplements as possible.”

Yippee! At last some relief from the endless gerbil wheel of pills, powders, bulk teas, injections, ointments, lozenges to be dissolved under the tongue, and end perhaps even the enemas. Dared I hope for that? The coffee enema, which requires making coffee, cooling it down in the fridge, cleaning a system of tubing, setting up said tubing, laying down towels, washing towels, washing tubing, washing my bottom, washing the coffee pot…. I called my naturopath’s office as soon as I got home from Dr. Ross.

My regular naturopath, Nesreen Medina, is out on maternity leave, so saw the naturopath who had stepped in for her, someone I didn’t know. I brought along my pills in their big black bag, a full-bodied eco-grocery tote, filled to the brim.

I wasted no time explaining to the naturopath that I had been diagnosed with a genetic liver disorder and had just started cholestyramine and gone off my antibiotics.

“At this point it looks like I might be over the Lyme, but I need to detox and then the next step would be to see if I have a sinus infection that might be dumping more toxins into my system.”

I told her about the insomnia, and how I’d been taking more and more time-consuming supplements in the last six months, to the point where just doing medical stuff was eating up almost all my time, and I was only barely managing to get enough sleep to keep from going crazy. “I really need to simplify the routine because I can’t stand it anymore.”

“All right, sounds good. Let’s cut down on your supplements.”

“Great!” And the next thing out of her mouth was (I swear to God):

“Have you ever tried the neti pot?”

I was a half millimeter from screaming. Did this woman not understand the word 'simplify'? I told her as much, as politely as I could, although what came out of my mouth did include the word ‘scream’ in close conjunction with ‘neti pot’.

“OK, I understand,” she said. “Maybe we can give you a nasal spray instead. That would be easier.” She explained that she was quite familiar with the Shoemaker protocol, and in all likelihood I did have the sinus infection. “So you can do all the detox and liver support you want, but if that fungal infection is still dumping toxins into your system, you’re not going to feel a whole lot better.”

Got it. Very good to know. Burn out is burn out, however. There was still no way I was going to start using a neti pot—yet another vehicle for forcing a liquid up an orifice of my body that is not designed for having liquids forced up it; said vehicle and liquid also requiring preparation and subsequent cleaning.

It just wasn't happening. Give me the nasal spray!

At the end of the appointment I had two new nasal sprays, a new powder to be mixed in water before drinking, and instructions to buy a machine that cleans away mold spores by dispersing bee pollen into the air (don't ask me to explain this one). True, she had not forced the neti pot on me (and that is not me in the above picture, by the way!) and she had cut down my supplements by two thirds, but everything she cut was a pill. This will save me money, but not time. The twice daily injection and every powder that requires mixing, bulk tea that requires brewing, and lozenge needing to be absorbed sublingually was still in the mix. And I had instructions to increase the coffee enema to three times a week.

“I had hoped I wouldn’t need the coffee anymore, but it makes sense to keep doing it,” I said, trying to be cheerful. The coffee enema is a powerful liver cleanser. I always feel miraculously relaxed after doing it, so I couldn’t argue against it.

“Keep in mind that cholestyramine causes constipation,” the naturopath said. “So the enema will help with that. Actually, what would be best is a colonic. Do three colonics before you leave for DC.” That was six days away. If I told her I would scream with the neti pot, what did she think would happen when she asked me to get a colonic every other day?

I drove home stewing about all the new things I would need to add to my daily routine, trying to sort out when I would get them done. By the time I parked on my block I'd come to the conclusion that the naturopath was delusional. There's only so much a person can reasonably do to get better, no matter how desperately they want to be healthy again. I did not order the bee pollen machine, and I did not get three colonics before I left for DC.

And yet, despite the title of this post, the naturopath was not evil. The nasal sprays and the powder turned out to be quite useful. I increased the coffee enemas, and even did a salt water one (the poor woman's colonic) and all of it is helping my body unwind from years of antibiotics and six months of toxic hell. So I realized the naturopath was simply the messenger, and the message was one that was hard to hear: even off the antibiotics, there is more work to be done. I’m not free from aggravating medical tasks yet. It’s undeniably a lot of work, and the other part of the work is to make peace with the work, so it becomes less aggravating.

It can’t go on forever, I tell myself. Soon, I will get my time back, get back to finishing my memoir, which has been on hold for months. Be patient, I tell myself. Meanwhile, I am sleeping eight hours a day, last night it was more than eight, and that is a relief.


Marti said...

I understand. You are doing a lot. I know working full time and trying to keep up with all my supplements is very difficult. I have to say, I am not always on top of it all.

Naomi said...

Yes, it can get to be too much, especially with work and kids. We just have to do what we can!