Dairy Denial?

Friday, 23 March 2012

There is a fair bit of mental gymnastics that go on in the days after I have stepped inside a doctor's domain.   It involves reverse jumping through the mental hoops I jumped through while in the sanctum of his surgery so that I can gather up my own health, and my own responsibility for it, so that I can leave his office not feeling like I'm walking out of the principal's office and that I'm six years old.

I don't know if that makes any sense at all.  I always feel like this, though.  I do not know how many other people feel the way I do about doctors, or whether this is indication number 38,395,853 of my uber sensitivity.  Because I am, unfortunately, rather over-sensitive to other people telling me what to do.  Even if I'm there asking for the advice.

It's complicated.

Today I walked in, having certain thoughts about what I was there for, the information that I wanted.  Along with that I had certain expectations, I guess, about what I thought was going to happen.  

When I left the doctor's surgery this afternoon, I had exactly the things I went in for - two bits of paper to two different places requesting a blood test and a hair mineral analysis test to try to find some more answers. I also had another piece of paper for another test that I don't even know what it is, because we didn't get around to that.  I also left with a few supplements I didn't know I was going to get, and a few other pieces of paper, one being about all the dairy I can't eat, and all the alternatives that I could have instead, none of which in the least take my fancy except for coconut cream.

Even though I got the tests I asked for, in the space of entering the doctor's surgery I feel like my health and my body has been taken from me, where it belongs, and deposited into his bits of paper, his advice and suggestions, some of which contradicts other advice I've received from other doctors who also have faith and belief in their approach.

Which isn't to say that he isn't right to have that faith and belief.  Just that I've seen enough to know that five different doctors means five different approaches and contradictions amongst them all.  Meanwhile, it's frustrating in the meantime, because you have to take on board their approach, all the while not knowing if it is going to be in the least bit helpful for you, whether you are wasting your money.  And where does gut-feel fit into doctor's orders?   What if you have a feeling that your doctor is barking up the wrong tree?  Where does that fit into a standard general practitionerly consultation?  It doesn't.

But anyway, I digress, because I don't feel too much of a concern about that here.  The main problem I have left with today is a gut-feel that he is right, when I don't want him to be, and I am going to have to learn how to live without dairy.  And wheat.  And sugar.

The last two aren't so bad.  And that leads me to believe that once I wrap my head around it I can largely quit dairy if I can largely quit wheat and sugar, something I wouldn't have believed 15 years ago.  But quitting dairy as well as those?  Quitting cheese!!  I don't think it's going to be anything other than a Real.  Hard.  Struggle.  Because I think I am addicted to it.  And the doctor thinks that perhaps it is causing some of my anxiety issues.  And a lot of other people have found the same thing.  And I dread to think that perhaps I am going to be one of those people who can't tolerate dairy.

I think this doctor is quite a lovely man.  But I always feel strange afterwards.  Resentful that they have all the power, when we're talking about my health.  I have to go through a process of reverse hoop jumping where I have to say to myself, very slowly so that I can understand it, that this is my health, that I am still in charge, that really, the doctor is a fallible human being and that I really don't have to do anything he asks me to do if I don't want to.  That I am free not to, because he's not the cops.  I then go on to remind myself, very slowly so that I can understand it, that this is my health, though, and I have paid the doctor for his expertise, and to be childish and close-minded about anything that happens defeats the entire purpose of going in the first place.

There was so much discussed in this consultation that my head is spinning, so that everything we covered today is sitting in a pile in front of me, waiting for my brain and mind to digest it down into my own language so I can eat it and work out what I think about it all.

When I told the doctor how much I struggle with the idea of giving up dairy, he became a bit of a schoolteacher, telling me in so many words that I'm up against the wall, and that I will need to buck up, and suck it up, which made me want to tell him to fuck up.   Instead, I burst into tears a bit further down the track when he asked me if I was having problems with depression or anxiety, thus adding further glitter to the feeling that going to visit the doctor's office always feels like I'm going for a pap smear, even when I'm not.


  1. You've laid it all out here, Sue:) It's getting rid of the programming that keeps buzzing in your head whenever you're in the situation, so you can behave like a rational being. I've cut down a lot on dairy, but I know I'd find it really hard to cut it out altogether. What about goat's cheese, etc. - is that allowed?

  2. going to a health practitioner can be such a minefield - you express the feelings well
    wheat, sugar, dairy.....
    bread, pasta, chocolate, cheese
    I've done this 'diet regime' (the standard naturopathic recommendation) twice during my lifetime, and it does make a difference  - if you're up for the challenge you will reap rewards

  3. Sue I appreciate your blog so much for being so real. Experts vs being our own expert, it's so complicated. And your last line did make me smile. Thanks for expressing your own particular story but in a way I can connect with in my own story. If that makes any sense. By the way, I gave you a mention today in my post.

  4. Thanks so much, Emma.  Your comment here and mention on your blog mean more than you could know.  (And thankfully not so much for my ego, but more encouragement to keep on going.  Life be's hard).

  5. Haha, it IS a standard naturopathic recommendation, isn't it, Kel.  It's funny, you know - quitting dairy has been something on the possibility radar for over ten years.  But I haven't been motivated enough to quit it until the possible symptoms stopped being physical and began being emotional and psychological and mental.  Now, THAT'S a strong motivator!  :)

  6. Hi, Harry.  I'm not sure about goat's cheese or sheep's.  I guess I would have to try it out and see whether I react to it the way I seem to react to dairy (according to muscle testing ... results pending in future posts :)

    Did you find a difference in any physical ways after cutting out the dairy you have cut out?  I'm thinking that maybe I will cut it out on a daily basis with special exceptions made for occasional cheese :)

  7. Oh honey, that sounds plain miserable. It's a lot like when I go to the doc to have my diabetes checked out a couple times a year, it's usually an experience of what I should and should not be doing, and that I'm doing all the things I shouldn't and none of the things I should. Lately I've been experiencing some new "no feel good", and I've been keeping mental track of what I've been eating when it happens. I'm suspicious of a few things, and dairy is one. Ugh Ugh Ugh. Still pondering that one. 

  8. I certainly saw a difference in my general state, Sue, but then I was changing a whole lot of stuff at the same time. I have about a quarter of the dairy I used to, and I find that's a good level for me just now. When it comes down to it, you are your best physician and you find the best level for you, whatever a doctor says. Feel what your bodymind's saying, and respond. And yes, cheese is a hard habit to kick - I love it with raw veggies. I know many folks find non-cow dairy suits them very well, and it's only the cost that puts me off trying it more.


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