Okay, even though I felt really prepared, my first appointment with my new functional doc was overwhelming. It went mostly well and I liked the doctor, but it had just been such a long time since I’d had to give my whole recent health history and hear someone’s thoughts about it. Talking for an hour and a half talk about my health was a lot and left me pretty drained! After some time and space from the first appointment though, I feel really good about moving forward.
In this post, I’ll give you a rundown of what the appointment was like, what we discussed, and how I felt during/after. At the end, I’ll share the details like the cost for my initial appointment and an estimate for the testing he recommended. I’ll probably do a part 4 after the holidays or maybe in the new year to share what I decide to do and what results we find. Here we go!
The office was really cute. It was warm, bright and open. No sliding glass receptionist doors, no waiting room full of people coughing or talking on their phones. Just one guy behind a desk and an open hallway with the doctor’s office to one side and a lounge/IV room with big comfy chairs to the back. There might have been one or two exam/treatment rooms but I didn’t see them this time.
Below are some pics of the office from the website, and while I think it’s a new location/layout the vibe and decor is very much the same:
I met with Dr. Everett in his personal office which was open and inviting, had one wall covered with artwork by his kids (adorable), and a huge bookcase with lots of books and authors I recognized. It honestly felt more like meeting with a guidance counselor or therapist than a doctor. He was relaxed and friendly; we actually discovered that he went to med school in Shreveport, Louisiana where I’m from! Rob came back with me for our meeting and it felt really great starting out.
First (and this drives me crazy because I always have to do a 15 pg new patient info packet) he asked why I came to see him. I know this is to hear in my own words and sense my priorities, but I could do without all the homework beforehand if we’re going to cover it twice, haha. I also brought a notebook with my list of priorities and a huge folder of my previous test results and bloodwork. We recapped most of my recent past and current health history and hit the first thing that made me uncomfortable.
I have some gallbladder issues but feel fine most of the time. Dr. Everett pretty forcefully said that I will absolutely need to have surgery to remove it. While I know this might eventually happen, I’m just not really in a place to think about elective surgery right now. I tried to direct the conversation elsewhere as quickly as I could.
He went through my lab work and test results and seemed really knowledgable about everything. We seemed to have similar priorities as far as what the most important factors are (example: slightly high cholesterol and food allergy test results aren’t critical but thyroid labs are good indicators of how I feel). He also greatly downplayed the significance of having Hashimoto’s which is how I’ve been feeling lately. I don’t feel like it is a day to day “disease” that greatly impacts my life anymore. I have some individual issues (digestion, anxiety, etc.) but they don’t feel like a direct result of Hashimoto’s and I don’t feel like it defines me or my health at all.
Next, we went through the list I prepared and checked some things off while he glazed over a few others. I mentioned wanting to discuss blood sugar & insulin resistance since I’ve been reading about it a lot (and I eat a lot of sweet potatoes) but he completely blew over it and wasn’t concerned at all. This made me feel A) relieved (like maybe it isn’t as much of a big deal?), and B) a little dismissed. I didn’t come to him primarily for nutritional support though, and I’m thankful that I have other resources if I want to explore this further.
After what I feel was a good discussion about my current health issues, concerns and goals, he recommended that I look more into medical marijuana if I’m comfortable with it. I don’t have a problem with people carefully and appropriately using almost any method of treatment if they’ve made a thoughtful and informed decision and it helps them feel and function better. Have you heard of bee venom therapy yet? It’s where people keep like a box of little bees and each day take one out and sting themselves with it. It’s seems crazy but some people and doctors swear it works!
Anyway, medical marijuana was kind of a hard suggestion for me at first. My last functional doc had me try multiple types of CBD (which aren’t supposed to have any psychoactive effects) and they all made me feel noticeably worse at first. I also don’t like being drunk/high at all. But I have been reading a learning a lot about cannabinoid receptors in our bodies and how biologically useful/compatible a treatment it can be and it’s definitely something that I’m finding more and more interesting.
Finally, Dr. Everett gave me his overview and recommendations for testing. He first recommended testing for lyme since it’s a huge root cause and that was unexpectedly upsetting for me. I’ve heard/read so much about lyme the past few years and it’s scary! He also talked about the possibility of mold exposure and that’s a HUGE undertaking to address both externally (the source of the mold) and internally as far as detoxing etc.
Hearing that these could be a factor for me was overwhelming and felt really heavy to consider. I even cried a little on the way home, a bit from relief of the appointment being over (it was long, y’all) but I think it was from fear about a possible lyme/mold illness result as well. When I received my Hashimoto’s diagnosis a few years ago, it felt like I was labeled as sick for the rest of my life. I now know that’s the farthest thing form the truth, but I don’t think these situations (testing and receiving a positive diagnosis for something) ever feel normal or like not a big deal.
After a day or so sitting with my thoughts, I realized that no future diagnosis or test results can change how much progress I’ve already made and how good I feel now; it’s just more information that can help understand myself and my health better.
THINGS I LIKED ABOUT THIS APPOINTMENT:
- Dr. Everett was really charming, warm, laid back and friendly. He’s a little brash in the way that reminds me of a high school football coach or something-like lovable and supportive but firm, haha? I like that he’s confident in his practice and I get a sincere “I want what’s best for you” vibe from him.
- He really seemed to know what he was talking about and recommending for me. He was well versed in all of the paperwork and lab results that I brought. He also had a lot of off the cuff info about the additional testing he recommended. He did use some jargon and complicated language but he also used many really relatable and easily understandable metaphors and took his time explaining/answering my questions when I asked them.
- I loved how when I expressed discomfort about trying medical marijuana because I hate feeling high, he apologized for not being clear enough and said that there options that might work for me. AKA apparently there are some types that have little to no psychoactive effects. He also breached the topic pretty diplomatically by sharing that his wife didn’t approve of medical marijuana but he believes it has many benefits so I felt safe speaking up about which way I felt. Rob picked up on this and said it was one of his favorite things from the meeting too.
- I pointed out before how Dr. Everett’s office has IV therapy that is pretty hyped up on their website. They also have a wall of supplements in the waiting area. I went in assuming that he’d have at least a couple of treatments/therapies to recommend and am happy that he didn’t seem interested at all in pushing anything on me at our first meeting.
THINGS I DIDN’T LIKE:
- I don’t like the 10 pg pre-appointment paperwork with family history etc. especially since it didn’t seem like he got that much out of it (or even read it very closely). Again, I understand the desire to have me voice my own priorities and story and the need for written paperwork but it felt like a waste of time & energy on my part.
- I felt like his secretary was a little overwhelmed*. I prepay by a check via mail and he didn’t know if the check had arrived or not when we got there (it hadn’t and that was my bad! They were really nice about seeing me anyway and accepting the payment late which was very generous). He also came into the Dr.’s office a couple of times to ask questions/for direction and it wasn’t necessarily annoying but it wasn’t 100% not annoying either. He hasn’t been super on top of our email communication since my appointment. I think he might be new and/or young though and just probably has a lot going on. This isn’t a huge issue for me yet, but it does make me really appreciate when someone from an office is really on top of things (especially when lots of testing/payment/paperwork are involved).
- I didn’t like starting off the meeting with him saying that I will 100% need to have gallbladder surgery. He kind of went on about it and it just stressed me out. I felt like he talked over me some when I expressed my concerns and feelings about wanting to avoid elective surgery.
- I didn’t get the sense that he values nutrition and environmental health awareness as much as I do. He had an antibacterial soap in the bathroom (it could have been filled with natural antibacterial ingredients I guess, but I wasn’t about to dissect the label while I was in there and I’m used to not using hand soap in public anyway). He also didn’t indicate that he knew what I was talking about when I brought up my experience with AIP. These are in no way deal breakers for me personally though, because y’all know that these have been two areas of my life that I’ve enjoyed reevaluating and relaxing my requirements a bit. In the case of AIP, I would actually feel uncomfortable if he was recommending it since it was such a bad experience for me. I just wish that doctors were more in touch with the current trends and the huge movements of health treatments and tools that are being used and discussed widely in the wellness community.
- Dr. Everett didn’t seem particularly sensitive to my fears and being overwhelmed by the possibility of positive lyme and mold test results. I was noticeably uncomfortable when he began talking about it and it went a little downhill from there. I asked that though we both agree that Hashimoto’s doesn’t have to be a big deal, that lyme was, right? And he said unquestionably, yes. He implied that it was a much larger and longer struggle than anything I went into this appointment prepared for. Again, this isn’t to say that anything has to change in my life or that it will affect how I feel now. I might not even test positive for it! It just seemed like he either wasn’t picking up on my concerns or didn’t feel the need to adjust his approach for me.
*Update toady: the first secretary has since left to become a fireman and a new one has started (although I haven’t heard a word from him yet). The doc prefers to communicate by email and it is driving me CRAZY. I’m having a really hard time having any kind of productive conversation and it’s annoying.
WHAT I WANT TO WORK ON BEFORE MY NEXT APPOINTMENT: After thinking more about what I didn’t like from our interaction, I realized that maybe a better doctor/patient relationship is for him to do his job and for me to do mine. In this case, I need to do a better job of speaking up more and speaking plainly or setting boundaries about things if they’re important enough for me. At our next meeting, I might say:
I’m not interested in even considering elective surgery right now.
Or, Lyme and mold illness are really overwhelming for me, so I would like to keep those conversations short and very to the point.
Similarly, I should probably say something like I understand your interest in presenting possible additional diagnoses for me, but I want to focus on what tangible test results say rather than exploring possibilities that might not even apply to me.
Moving forward, if my test results do show more going on than I am expecting/hoping, I might need to say no if he recommends something that doesn’t feel necessary to me.
Gaining more information about my body is important to me, but I am so not interested in micromanaging my health anymore. I have a friend who had gallbladder stones that she treated herself and are no longer an issue for her (and I tried her method but it didn’t work for me unfortunately). There are people who develop illnesses and even small tumors that can heal by themselves. Truly, on a day-to-day basis, we don’t know any of the infinite possible “problems” that our bodies are presented with that are then resolved without us even knowing.
All this is to say that I feel more confident moving forward with testing now just to have more information and to see what feels right to address. It could also show what might actually just be normal for me! I don’t think it’s necessary to try and treat or fix every single issue or less than ideal result. We are all so biologically, mentally & emotionally, and spiritually unique that the established generalized test parameters truly cannot be what’s “perfect” for everyone. My body might just function and/or metabolize things differently and that’s my individual ideal health or homeostasis. You know?
RECOMENDED TESTING AND PRICING SO FAR
My first appointment (aka an hour and a half consultation) was $450. Insurance was not accepted. This feels like a fair price from my point of view and experience so far. My previous functional doctor’s price list was $270/30 mins, $405/45 mins and $540/an hour.
The price of all recommended testing that he suggested is about $3900. The bulk of this cost will be for Lyme testing which is about $2400 by itself. My insurance will cover about $200. Below is a list of all the tests Dr. Everett recommended for me:
Genomix DNA Panel: $439
DNA Pharmacogenetic: ? (This was noted as covered by Medicare in the price list and I don’t know what that means for me. As I mentioned, the office assistant is a little unclear/uncommunicative so I’ll update this with the correct price when I find out)
DUTCH Complete: $350
Thyroid/Metabolic/Vitamin/Histamine Panel: $200 (but can be done at a lab that insurance covers in most cases)
Igenex Lyme Panel including Coinfections: $2,418
Urine Mold/Mycotox Panel: $299
This got pretty long again so I will wait and give a summary of the tests and my results when I get them. In the meantime if you’re interested, you can look up any of these to find out more info.
I’m so happy that some of you are enjoying this series and love that I’m able to help you or at least provide some more information. Let me know if you have any questions or requests for more updates. Thank you for reading and sharing!