Was It Worth the Bucks?
Like most Americans who opt for alternative health care, you’ll be paying out of pocket for at least some of your costs. Knowing just how much you’ll be charged can help you budget for them ahead of time. The question may arise, “Was it worth the bucks?” After more than a 30-year journey, I can personally say “Definitely worth the bucks and more!” Yet, there are some who still question whether integrative medicine really does what is claimed by those providers. Latest research articles also seem to refute what was the latest a month ago! So, who do you trust?
Part of the success or failure of some integrative therapies often comes down to the patients themselves. Patients don’t always accurately or completely communicate what is going on and are unwilling to do the appropriate testing and monitoring. They rarely even mention to their primary physician of utilizing wellness/CAM products and services. We, as patients, are also notorious for not following the provider's treatment to give it time, plus not taking the time to learn what we need to know on our own.
Often, once we start to feel better we stop doing what actually made us feel better. We end up not giving our bodies enough time to repair or even maintain health, let alone stay with the monitored testing routines and follow up consults. For those who quit and begin to regress, the common premature statement is “With all I did and cost me, it just didn’t work!” For myself, I was initially tested, poked and prodded every three to six months. After the first five years, it was annual, unless something changed that need further monitoring. And as I grew older and healthier with every decade, something always seemed to need some kind of change or tweak.
With the first decade, I was required to take a whole basket of prescribed pills, potions, liquids, and lotions between and with every meal. Yes, there were many times I just wanted to quit taking all that “stuff.” I had to assess every food I ate and liquid I drank. I also had to take inventory of my physical home environment to remove anything that was a trigger for the myriad of reactions I experienced…from respiratory repercussions, rashes, body aches, and extremely painful digestive rumblings! For many years I couldn’t work, dine out, or even attend church. Oh, those lovely ladies with overpowering perfumes! Yet, there is good news today. I’m still here and doing quite well! Yes, I still have a disciplined lifestyle to maintain my wellness as I age gracefully and gratefully.
Even with considerable evidence to support integrative medicine (IM) some continue to question if IM really offers the best of conventional and CAM, produces better outcomes, is effective in prevention, including obesity and cardiovascular risk, smoking cessation, diet, physical activity, and is cost effective. Just as I needed to work through and around the “system” you will be the only one to discover the right path for you and your family.
One of life’s saddest moments is when you have a loved one who refuses to do what is needed to get better. And you watch them progressively deteriorate when you know you can help them get the right help they need. They either don’t want to spend the bucks or think it’s all quackery. Also, they really don’t want to give up some things to gain a life of wellness or at least a high quality of life during their remaining years.
This was the occasion for my dear brother who recently passed away from kidney failure and other assorted chronic and life-threatening diseases. With the same genetics, environment, and similar chronic ailments going back to our childhood, I so wanted to help him live the life he was intended to live. I wanted him to embrace what made all the difference in my own wellness journey and life. But it was not to be. Saying goodbye was the hardest moment to face. Yet, my love for him will be forever. Our faith in God gave us each a promise of being together once again, forever.
Each of us have choices to make throughout our life. As you seek a more integrative wellness team for you and your family, may you discover the best of all three wellness worlds, Conventional, Complementary/Alternative (CAM), and Integrative Medicine. My hope also is this article series, Working Wellness Around the System, has helped in some way make the journey both meaningful and more fulfilling.
May you find the answers you seek. May you also discover in your own wellness journey the kind of help and advocacy I found in my own. May your family and friends offer you the support and encouragement to pursue the highest potential of wellness. And always remember, Wellness begins with “WE.”