What You Need to Know Using Telehealth Functional Medicine: Blue Coral Health & Wellness
This is a sponsored post with Blue Coral Health & Wellness
Telehealth functional medicine is not something you hear about most days. We talk about going to the doctor and we talk about how we are feeling. But the idea of functional medicine is outside most people’s wheelhouse.
Quote of the day: “A complex system that works is invariably found to have evolved from a simple system that worked. The inverse proposition also appears to be true: A complex system designed from scratch never works and cannot be made to work. You have to start over, beginning with a working simple system.” John Gall
Let me ask a trick question? What is more simple than a smile? It’s a quick greeting and a happy response, right? But in all reality, a smile takes around 40 muscles to happen as well as the fact that you need to be in a positive frame of mind. And that may not be so simple, right?
What does this have to do with telehealth functional medicine? Our health is a simple system or so it may seem. But in all reality, our bodies are complex machines. So complex that no 1 doctor knows it all. If there’s anything I’ve learned in my medical career, is that any professional only knows what he knows.
This is why getting a second (or third, or fourth) pair of eyes to evaluate an issue can be the best thing you do for your overall health. Even if you don’t think you have major problems!!
What is Functional Medicine?
You can find many definitions for functional medicine, which I will share. Then the idea of telehealth functional medicine is even better because you can do many of your appointments by phone.
The biggest difference with functional medicine is it is a patient-centered approach to your health. This means, your provider is interested in not only your blood work, weight, and how you feel, but also genetic, environmental, mental, and lifestyle factors.
It’s the idea that each of us is a unique individual and reacts differently to everything. Thus your plan for wellness will be different than someone else’s plan.
Sure, it all encompasses the core building blocks of nutrition, exercise, laboratory testing, drugs, and botanical medicines, along with a handful of other techniques.
Well, this wouldn’t be comprehensive if I didn’t share my personal history. As a retired cosmetic dentist, I not only grew up with western medicine but I also was taught it and basically practiced it.
In fact, I have to confess that when I first started my practice, I had many patients come in and talk about some of the things that I’m doing, and I thought they were bonkers. Seriously.
Heck, I remember a vivid conversation with one of my dental school friends only 5 years ago (she was always one step ahead of me in staying healthy). She was talking about how functional medicine providers are the way to go. Her point was that western medicine doctors are fabulous at surgeries and trauma, but they don’t look at everything. And our health is more than just one thing.
The funny thing? I DIDN’T REALLY BELIEVE HER.
I liked my doctor and wasn’t having any real issues, so I just didn’t understand what she was saying. And I will have you know, that I was taking care of myself. I ate a good diet, worked out, and took supplements. I thought things were fine.
What I have learned is you have to be in a place in your health journey to change your way of thinking. We were brought up believing that our doctor knows everything and gosh forbid we have to change what we are doing. Isn’t the American way to want results overnight, and thus the “take a pill” phenomenon?
I love hearing other people’s success stories, and since mine is just starting, I thought it would be wonderful to share some of my friends who chimed in that they have used the functional medicine approach.
While everyone’s story is so different, I think the factor that ties it all together is being open to something you may not have thought of.
Cathy, of My Side of 50
I started going in my 40’s. There’s a very popular doctor in Houston that has done functional medicine for years. I went to one near me that was trained by him. I was tired all the time. I was taking 3-hour naps every afternoon. My OB/GYN did blood work for my thyroid and said my thyroid was fine. My functional medicine doc listened to my symptoms – not just the blood work and prescribed Armour thyroid and it helped so much. Plus at that time I was in perimenopause so she started me on some bio-identical hormones. I went to a different functional medicine doctor this year because my old one was no longer seeing patients in person. They did extensive blood testing for food sensitivities and a lot of other stuff. Changed me to some hormone creams, put me on a special diet for 90 days got me totally off the foods I was sensitive to, added supplements, and told me which supplements that I was taking that were crap – that had a lot of stuff that was bad for me. The works. I am SO MUCH BETTER.
I was with a friend yesterday that is going to a hematologist, endocrinologist all these specialists, and no one can figure out why she is so fatigued. I am trying to get her to go to a functional medicine doctor. I know they could help her.
I also want to say in one of our chats, Cathy was saying how we think nothing of dropping $1K on something for our house or a vacation. But are appalled to think to spend that on preventative healthcare because we are conditioned to expect our insurance to cover our medical costs.
Insider tip: Insurance is not a business that cares about your health. They are a business to make money.
Loretta, of the Sand Dollar Girl Etsy shop
In 2019, just after the death of my sister, I developed a severe case of diverticulitis. It was crippling dealing with the pain and at one point my husband took me to Urgent Care. I left with two injections and was told to go on a liquid diet for 3 days. That was it.
I knew from experience that gut health was key to overall health. My father experienced a ruptured colon at about the same age I was at that time.
I made the decision to see a nutritionist because I didn’t want to just treat the symptoms of diverticulitis. It was important to me to get to the cause and not have a reoccurrence. I’d already been suffering from IBS most of my life, this was just the tipping point.
My first visit with my nutritionists was a two-hour intensive interview. She poured over my past lab results and ordered a few new ones. Two days later I received an email outlying a very workable diet for the next three months. She also suggested a gut tea (which I still drink to this day) and a couple of supplements for gut health.
The diet was very easy to follow and by the end of three months, I felt great and lost 15 pounds. I now know which foods give me issues and have been gut healthy for the last three years.
Brigitte, my friend on Instagram
Functional medicine is really my only doctor now for the last 20 years. When I went to him I was worn down. My periods were wearing me out because they were so painful. I was sleeping 13 hours a day and had inflammation along with bouts of vertigo and stomach issues. That’s when I learned I had Hashimoto’s and low thyroid function. My adrenaline gland was non-functioning. I had lots of Inflammation in my body, joints, etc. We started with thyroid medicine and cortisol.
These meds were to give my adrenaline glands a break. Just that was mind-blowing on how well I felt! Then we started on bio-identical hormones. My painful periods for the first time in 20 years were NOT painful. I did a yeast cleanse And to this day I am continuing this.
What is so sad is when I went to a conventional doctor they wanted to put me on antidepressants.
Blue Coral Health & Wellness
Now let me introduce you to my telehealth functional medicine provider, Carrie Pappas who is also a Nurse Practitioner. One of the reasons I chose Carrie is because of her background and experience working in western medicine prior to falling in love with Functional Medicine.
I also appreciate that she is an older woman and thus can relate to some of my issues.
Not that I would rule out a man as a provider. In fact, I saw a male, naturopath doctor last year for these same issues that I presented to Carrie.
Insider tip: If you go to a provider, and the issue doesn’t get resolved, be your own advocate. Sometimes that means seeing a different kind of provider. Sometimes that means using your common sense.
If you don’t believe me, then you should read Cancer Schmancer by Fran Drescher. With all the fame and money, she still had to fight for her healthcare options.
Carrie provides Functional Medicine via telehealth in the safety of your own home. So no matter where you live, you can try it out.
Her mission is to help you live your best life. For reference, Carrie is in Florida.
The best part is you can schedule a complimentary 15-minute appointment which is an opportunity to get questions answered about our services to see if it is a good fit.
Scheduling an appointment is easy. Just head over to the website and select a time that is convenient for you.
Details of the Appointments
If you are someone who likes to know all of the specifics before you get involved, then this portion is for you.
Step 1 which is called the Discovery step is a 60-minute in-depth initial evaluation. Carrie reviews medical history, nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress daily living, and more.
Insider tip: It’s wonderful if you have a copy of your blood tests even from a year ago that you can share with Carrie via email so she has this information for the next step.
Step 2 is the Design phase. A 30-60 minute visit to present the personalized plan that is put together after reviewing all of the information from Step 1. This is reviewed on the phone, but then also sent over via email so you can print it out and have it in your hot little hands.
Step 3 is what is called the Develop stage. It is a 30-minute re-evaluation of progress and re-development. This phase may have one or more visits depending on your personalized needs. Carrie also feels that changes in our health take time, so additional re-evaluation can be needed as time goes on.
Telehealth Functional Medicine Personalized Plan
Maybe you are wondering why I even wanted to participate in this telehealth functional medicine. I have a sinus issue that I have been dealing with for over 8 years. That’s the reason that I saw the naturopath last year too, and the issue was never resolved.
Of course, there are other things that concern me, like my struggles with vaginal dryness as I’ve discussed in the past when I tried out Cliovana.
So I chose the 60-minute meeting with Carrie and I was incredibly surprised at all of the questions that were asked. Some I didn’t even know, like if I were breastfed or bottle-fed as a baby. After our talk, we set up a meeting a week later for her to go over my personalized plan.
The wonderful thing about the plan is not only do you hear about it on the phone with Carrie, but she also sends you all of the information in writing via email. I don’t know about you, but I can’t count the number of times, I’ve walked away from a doctor’s visit and forgotten everything.
Of course, the way we eat is a part of this program. If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times, food either feeds disease or fights disease. As much as our society uses food for enjoyment, we also have to realize that it is the basis of how our bodies function.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have yummy food, but it’s not rocket science that food affects how our bodies feel and function.
For my case, Carrie put me on a Detox food plan to help restore my gut. It’s not much different than how we have been eating since my husband saw a naturopath last year. I blogged all about that in our nutrient-dense way of life post.
Related post: Nutrient dense way of life
Insider tip: If you aren’t already eating this way, you might feel like it’s too much work to change. That’s how Rob felt when we started this journey last year. What he learned that helped him tremendously is that mindset is everything.
If you look at your food choices as ways to make you feel better, then it’s a different outcome.
Part of that is realizing that we are lucky to have control over this part of our health.
The nice thing about the detox plan sent over from Blue Coral Health & Wellness is that it came with not only a food plan but a shopping list and even recipes.
Insider tip: If you need more recipes for such a way of eating, we also use this cookbook called Eat to Live.
For me, I’m now cutting out all dairy and incorporating 1-3 glasses of green tea daily. We have already been gluten-free and sugar-free.
The rest of my telehealth functional medicine plan included a large range of things including exercise, supplements, finding a doctor to prescribe bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, counseling, finding new friends, incorporating natural cleaning supplies, a gut test, as well as my annual women exam with a mammogram and PAP.
I’m sure you don’t want to know everything about me and this plan, but let me quickly speak about a couple of things.
Supplements: I believe in supplements because I’ve experienced joint pain when I stop taking them. In the past, my Western medicine provider didn’t believe in taking supplements, so I was always trying to figure out which ones I needed.
About 10 years ago, I did see an Iridologist who also worked with many different supplements and would muscle test them to see if they were what my body needed.
Since moving to Arizona though, I haven’t been muscle testing my supplements. SO it was extremely helpful for Carrie to analyze the supplements I was taking. There were a couple she suggested to discontinue taking plus a couple that I added to my regimen.
Counseling: I probably have seen at least 4-5 providers in the last 12 years where I have shared some of my histories with my first husband. Yet no one has ever suggested that I see a counselor to talk through some of the pain and anguish I still experience.
I thought it was extremely astute of Carrie to suggest this to me. I’m sure we all realize how our mental health can affect our physical health.
Overall I was extremely impressed with all of the thought that went into my plan and will keep you updated on how everything is going.
Right now, it’s been about 3-4 weeks since I received the overall proposal for my optimum health. I know it will take time for things to change, and we may have to adjust some things.
And in Carrie’s words, “The best is yet to come.”
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