Welcome to our special series sharing insights and recent research from the MEDMAPS 2023 Spring Conference attended by Dr. Potter. MAPS stands for Medical Academy for Pediatric Special Needs and arose from the original Defeat Autism Now organization initially serving parents and providers caring for children with autism spectrum disorder). This Spring Conference focused not only on autism research but on Lyme and other infections including COVID’s effects on children. Come here to read about what I learned at the conference so that Sanctuary can provider cutting edge care to your precious little ones.
The desire to know ‘how long’ has been a part of all our lives since we first realized that waiting was a thing and began to pester our parents about it. For us at Sanctuary, when someone walks in our doors, sits down across from us, and shares the story of their suffering, we know that they want to know how much longer it will last. Further, we have also worked through many of our own health struggles, and we want our patients’ suffering to be overcome as fast as possible- we’ve felt the pain too. However, we know that the years of illness and bodily dysfunction almost always require months (and sometimes years) of restoration. While we are always exhilarated when patients return in 2 or 3 months with near complete recovery, the majority require at least 6 or 12 months to see that kind of recovery.
While we might entice more patients to come to our doors by promising quick fixes or easy fixes, our integrity keeps us both humble and honest. First, any healing comes from God, and we are only His hands and feet through which He restores any measure of health. Second, we must be forthright with each patient with expectations of how God may work in restoring them from their chronic health. Setting our patients up for false expectations only sets them up to give up too soon. We have failed them if we mislead them.
Many times, I have questioned my abilities when other clinics promise short turn arounds for recovery or easy 1 ingredient recipes for optimal health, whether I am just not smart enough or good enough in functional medicine. I wonder if I am just missing something, so I dig and I research and I look for ways to make my patients’ journey easier. I keep coming back to the same thing: For 98% of our patients, some prolonged time and some significant effort of change is required. The easy patients are already recovered by the first or second therapy they tried. By the time they come to our doors, all the easy possibilities have been addressed and fallen short.
Still, I wonder if I just need to be better and read more. Then, I attend conferences like MAPS. I hear the speakers repeat over and over that these conditions we are treating taken time, sometimes a long time. In fact, they often talk about 2 to 3 years for recovery in some cases. I realize that my patients who recover in 9 to 12 months are actually doing quite well in terms of speediness. I realize that my handful of patients who are in year 2 or 3 of recovery had also been ill for 10, 20, 30, or more years and we cannot expect to be able to fix that degree of dysfunction in a short time. As we stand around and talk about the lectures and the therapies and discuss our challenging cases in hopes of hastening recovery, again, I realize that we are all in the same boat. We may be able to restore our patients’ health with functional medicine, but we can only go so fast.
So, I return to clinic with renewed determination to convey to our patients that this is a slow process for most of them and that they cannot look for the quick fix. The continual hunt for the quick fix will distract them from the nitty gritty, day to day grind of following through on the tried-and-true paths to wellness we are laying out for them. We want our patients to strive for understanding their illness and thus read what we share with them and other helpful resources. We just don’t want them to overlook the simple pathway while in search of the shortcut which actually leads to nowhere.
We want our patients to return to a healthier, more abundant life as quickly as possible. That journey requires our careful guidance not just on what to do each day in terms of nutrition or supplements, but also in terms of mindset and expectation. Overcoming chronic illness and conquering it for the long term requires long, slow, and steady pressing towards the goal. We are here to coach broken bodies and broken lives through that process.
Medical Disclaimer: These essays are for educational purposes only. We assume no responsibility for your choice to implement something from these essays. Even if you are a patient of our clinic, you should consult with us before adding therapies. If you are not one of our patients, talk with your health care provider before trying any of these therapies.
Sanctuary Functional Medicine, under the direction of Dr Eric Potter, IFMCP MD, provides functional medicine services to Nashville, Middle Tennessee and beyond. We frequently treat patients from Kentucky, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, Ohio, Indiana, and more... offering the hope of healthier more abundant lives to those with chronic illness.