Chapter 2: “You Are Normal” – What’s Next?
So you have been to your physician. He has run a battery of tests, and the results are back….”You are normal. There is nothing wrong with you,” he says with a smile.
You are stunned. How could this be? Of course, you are glad that you do not have some serious life-altering disease, however now what do you do? You still do not feel well. The fatigue is overwhelming, and is interfering with your day-to-day life. You feel like no one believes you. No one understands why you have to cancel social engagements, or why you just do not have the energy to get through the day without a nap (or several). Some people may even think you are lazy, or that you just need to get outside and get some fresh air.
What is even worse is that your doctor many imply that it is all in your head, and perhaps you need some psychological counselling.
Does any of this sound familiar?
Unfortunately, this is an all-too-common scene playing out in doctor’s offices across the industrialized world.
Physicians are trained to use tests that are available to them, and these tests are looking for the extreme conditions that most people do not have. When the tests say that everything is within the “normal” range, it means that you are fine.
But what is “normal?”
What is often missed is that even though the results are “normal,” they may not be “optimal” for you. Blood lab values are based on the average, “normal” individual (i.e. the normal range is based on the range of levels observed in 95% of healthy people for a particular group of people). There are many things that can affect the normal range, including gender, age, and race. Ranges differ with each lab, dependent on the sample population, lab testing methods, and so forth.
Give this some thought. According to Canadian Blood Services, normal hemoglobin levels in women (not pregnant) is 120 g/L to 160 g/L. So if your results are 122 g/L, you are at the “low end of normal.” However, if you are at 118 g/L, it will be flagged as “abnormal.” In reality, the person within the low end of normal may not be feeling any better than someone within the abnormal range.
So just keep this in mind if you hear that your results are “normal.” It is much more important to remember that you are an individual, and no two people are the same no matter what the numbers say.
When a test comes back abnormal, then conventional medicine has been trained to treat symptoms of disease with pharmaceuticals or surgery rather than the root cause of the illness.
This is not a dis against mainstream, modern physicians. After all, if you are in a car accident, the person you want there treating you is a physician who is proficient in acute and emergency situations. In all fairness to physicians, they receive minimal training in nutrition and lifestyle management.
However, there are some alternative health practitioners such as naturopathic physicians (N.D.) (and even some conventional, mainstream physicians) who do take the whole body and mind into consideration, and look at things a bit differently. Their training takes into consideration the nutrition, lifestyle, physical, mental, and environmental needs of the individual. The treatment methods prescribed focus on the root cause of the illness (not just the symptoms), and are less invasive, but are still proven in science.
Therefore, if you find yourself in the scenario described above, it may be time to bring an alternative health care practitioner into the picture. In addition to naturopathic physicians, you may also want to consider chiropractors, homeopathic doctors, or acupuncturists, to name a few. In any case, always make sure you are seeing a licensed professional who has taken adequate training in his/her field, and wants to treat the root cause of your illness, not just the symptoms.
Check your insurance plan to see if it provides some coverage. Whether or not you plan to incorporate an alternative health practitioner into the picture, there are steps that YOU can begin to take NOW to regain your health and energy. The sooner you begin, the sooner you can be on the road to recovery and living the life you deserve to be living.
Now you may be asking yourself, “If my family doctor and perhaps some specialists are telling me that there is nothing wrong with me, what IS wrong with me? Why DO I feel tired all the time? Could it really be all in my head?”
Well, if all tests have come back as “normal,” there is a very good chance that you are suffering from burnout. You are not likely to hear that from your physician, as there is no diagnosis called “burnout.” However, if you are one of the millions of people feeling the effects in your body, you know that it exists.
Your body was not meant to withstand the constant physical, mental, and emotional stresses and demands that have become part of your normal, everyday life. Eventually, your body responds with lack of motivation, lack of energy, and exhaustion not relieved by a night of sleep, and many of the other symptoms already mentioned above.
You lack enthusiasm, and your life feels like it is spiralling out of control.