I had few health challenges until I was 35. Then the chaos-theory-reverberation-making-proverbial-shit-hit-the-fan. But this is not a woe is me post. It's a reflection on the circuitous path we have to walk/run/dance/jump when trying to investigate what ails us.
Wait, Lisa. Isn't that what doctors are for?
If I could hire a private investigator with a medical degree, sure. But our healthcare delivery system is fragmented and focused. And my primary care physician - theoretically the overseer of my care - is so overburdened that she is forced to farm out anything requiring more than ten minutes to resolve to specialists.
I have a lot of "ologists" on my medical team. They're super smart about a few things. They've studied a small number of health problems in depth so they can get really good at treating them.
The problem with this is everything is connected. Human bodies are chaotic systems. Interesting fact: It was in the context of the body that Ludwig Von Bertalanffy, the Father of Systems Thinking, fathered systems thinking.
"As long as we single out individual phenomena, we do not discover any fundamental difference between the living and the non-living." Ludwig von Bertalanffy, Problems of Life: An evolution of modern biological thought
"In order to understand an organized whole, we must know both the parts and the relations between them." Ludwig von Bertalanffy, The History and Status of General Systems Theory
Having specialists looking at their assigned piece of me is helpful but insufficient. My oncologist doesn't know about diet or metabolism. My endocrinologist doesn't know about cancer or the heart. My cardiologist doesn't know about the digestive tract. My neurologist doesn't know about arthritis or strength. My personal trainer (not an ologist, but on the team) doesn't know about medications and blood test results. But my cancer affects my digestion. And the oral chemo I take affects my heart. And my metabolism affects my thinking and movement. And my diet affects everything.
My job is to discover how things are connected, make meaning, and fill in gaps. To do this, I listen to my ologists and do a lot of research using reliable sources. Maybe I go back to my ologists with my findings. Sometimes I'm on my own.
It's a lot of work and my most important job. And when I figure something out, it's sweet like cherry pie.