Good afternoon everyone, this is Dr. Alison DiBarto-Goggin and I am a functional medicine physician with Little Black Bag Medicine, and today I wanted to share my process with you so you could understand more about how my practice works, the people that I work with, and how we can get them better. A little about me. This is myself with my husband, Jake, our son baby Jake, and our daughter Ava. We have two puppies who are named Beyla and Sif and we have a little kit-cat named Storm, who likes to hide on the top of our windows to get away from all the kids and the dogs and the chaos that goes on.
I have many stories about functional medicine, how it’s helped me and my family but my biggest why and why I do this is my son, Jacob. When he was about 18 months old he had a very severe sinus infection, so we took him to his physician, got him some antibiotic, and a couple weeks later he started to regress. He stopped singing, he stopped talking, he stopped dancing, and we started to run into a lot of [inaudible 00:01:14] type issues with him. Now, looking back, we know that he probably had a significant strep throat at that time, and what it turned into is what’s known as PANDAS, which is an autoimmune issue with strep in young children that causes those types of symptoms.
After many years of speech therapy and occupational therapy, chiropractic, everything that we could do, I finally got him tested for PANDAS, and started treatment with homeopathics, lifestyle, everything that we could think of. He has been a great success story in our own lives, and it makes me passionate in helping people understand that finding the reason why behind something that’s going on is so much better than just treating the symptoms.
In my practice, my vision is to just provide options, education, and some tools because many times when we’re having symptoms we’re just left alone to deal with it on our own, and I want to provide that ongoing support. We have many simple and effective solutions that are easy to use, easy to get you on your path to healing, and at the end of the day, the way that you take care of your body, the way you manage your stress, the way you live your life is how you see results. The problem is that your body is really how we treat our body. And once we find clarity on that source, the root cause of what’s going on, you can start to experience life with energy, balance and health.
What is functional or integrative medicine? I am a certified functional medicine physician, and I have probably over 1000 hours now that I’ve tracked in functional medicine, training outside of chiropractic school. Functional is a fun term that we use, but it really is integrative medicine, where we focus on the body as a whole, and we don’t just focus on symptoms. So on top of that picture there, it says diseases. We have arthritis, fibromyalgia, and there’s protocols for those things. But instead of just treating the disease, we want to treat the patient. Is the patient having detoxification issues? Digestive issues? Toxic chemical exposure or mold? Why are these major diseases coming up? We have to find those underlying causes, and that’s when we start to see those major differences.
I get to play doctor detective. I have my cute little detective here with me, so I had a female friend come to me who was having a lot of different issues, but her main concern was that she was gaining weight. As I talked to her, we started to go through some symptoms that she was having, which is so common for so many different women. She was having pain on her right side right where her ribs were, she was struggling with varicose veins, acne, psoriasis, diverticulitis, which is a gut issue, hormone imbalances and hemorrhoids. All these things together, it seems complicated, it feels complicated. So when she went to what I call specialized medicine, which is traditional medicine, her internist … her GI … which they took out her gall bladder and said oh, you just have too many hernias, and that’s where that pain is coming from.
Chiropractic wasn’t helping, physical therapy didn’t help, massage didn’t help, so she just said well, I’ll deal with it. It’s probably a hernia. Varicose veins are part of life. Acne, part of life. Psoriasis, she was given a cream. Her blood work looked great, and they told her just to eat clean, and she was given a total hysterectomy when she was 22 and just put on birth control and hormones. Then of course, hemorrhoids are part of life, and with the weight gain she was just told, well, exercise more. None of these are options that helped her feel better. None of these got rid of the pain or the hormone imbalance.
With my training and what I get to do, I get to look at all of these symptoms and put it together. From a functional perspective, all of these symptoms looked like liver to me. The pain on the right side, that’s where her liver was. And what happens with hormone balance, specifically, is that the hormones build up and build up, and most people know of estrogen dominance, which causes heavy periods, lots of bleeding, clotting, major PMS symptoms, you’re on the couch for days because you can’t stop bleeding, and then you’re told well, let’s just get rid of your uterus. Or let’s do an ablation, or here’s some birth control and some antidepressants.
That backs up the liver, and when the liver backs up, it swells the veins. So when you have something like varicose veins and hemorrhoids, we know well, that’s probably a liver issue. Then the diverticulitis because as the hormones go through the liver into the gall bladder, it irritates the gall bladder, and then it irritates the digestive tract as your body’s trying to get rid of all these excess hormones, and it just can’t function. And how can you lose weight when your liver’s not functioning, your hormones are overwhelmed, nothing is being processed. And of course, psoriasis, to me, always goes to liver. Eczema is with the gut, psoriasis is with the liver.
So I said, “Can you go to the local nutrition store and pick up these three supplements?” And those are specific to her, so I don’t want to say exactly what they are because all of my protocols are specific to each specific patient. Two weeks after she started her protocol, she sent me a text and said she’s been taking the cleanse every day, and the enzymes, and she’s noticed a 110% difference. “I can’t thank you enough for helping me.” It really irritates her that she was put on birth control when that wasn’t even the problem. So many women have this story of my doctor wrote me off, they say oh, your bleeding to death, that’s just normal, you’ll have to live with it, when it’s not normal. It might be common, those experiences are very, very common, but it is not normal.
Another thing that I hear is why is nothing working for me? I had a friend who had asthma. She was on every asthma medication, she was using every essential oil, she was taking all of the [inaudible 00:08:01]. I had a nurse who felt like she was having a heart attack, and it happened about three times a month, and her EKGs were normal, her blood work was normal, her X-rays, everything that she did was normal. Then my husband suffered with shoulder pain, and chiropractic didn’t help, massage, he had MRIs, which came back looking great, ultrasounds, ultrasounds looked great. So why is nothing working for me?
Specialized medicine does the best that they can. For asthma, she was given the drugs. For heart attack, please go to the emergency room. Do not call your functional medicine physician if you’re having a heart attack. Go to the emergency room, call us afterward. With shoulder pain, like I said, therapy, injections, chiropractic, are amazing. We need all of these things, and drugs can be so supportive when they’re necessary, and supporting the right symptom. Therapy and injections can be so amazing, but if ti’s not addressing the root cause, then you’re not going to get better.
For all of these people, they ended up having the same issue, which was acid reflux. For asthma, the acid reflux was coming up when she was sleeping, and then going into her lungs and causing irritation, so she would wake up and hack, and have difficulty breathing, which is why the drugs. And the oils weren’t working. My friend who was having the heart attack, she was drinking coffee and eating some really unhealthy foods because she was at work, and that’s all she could get her hands on. And that’s okay, but it was causing reflux, which was really low, but felt enough like a heart attack, especially on that left side. And on the shoulder pain, acid reflux as well refers to the left shoulder. The gall bladder typically refers to the right shoulder. Why would these people have very different symptoms, very different presentations? I got to look at their entire health history, their diet, what has worked, what hasn’t worked and put the whole picture together and figure out what is going on for each of them.
On the other side of that, a lot of people come to me because they don’t have answers, there are no treatments for what’s going on with them. Arthritis is very common, so specialized medicine says well, it’s just genetic, there’s nothing we can do about it, here are some drugs, and let’s try some therapy and see if that helps. But on the functional medicine side, we get to determine why is this happening? Is it an autoimmune issue? Is it an infection? Is it a nutritional deficiency? Heavy metals, thyroids, IBS, there’s so many different reasons that someone might have an overall symptom case like arthritis that we have to figure out why, why is that person struggling with these things?
How I work in my practice with my functional wellness services is that I offer a complementary discovery call. We take about 30 minutes to discuss your health goals, your concerns, give me that list, the beginning list of all of the symptoms and see if functional medicine is the right place for you. We also talk about when was the last time you had blood work done, do we need to order more, and then after that, moving forward for your initial consultation, you fill out all of your health history online, you send me any blood or additional labs that you’ve had done in the past, pretty much the past year, and then I take my time and go through all of it, figure out what’s going on, and then we will do your first initial call, which is about 90 minutes.
We go through your entire health history together, clarify, ask questions, and I present a 90 day plan to you, which includes what I think is going on, why it’s happening, and then the plan so you can meet your health goals. Lifestyle, nutrition, food, meal planning, exercise, supplements, oils, whatever that looks like to help you address what you need to address. Referrals to physical therapy, referrals to chiropractic, meals. We need to figure out why it’s happening and get you to the right person. Then I offer follow up consultation.
Most people choose to go into a long term support program because accountability is the number one reason that people make changes. And I’ll tell you what, I hired a personal trainer a couple months ago. He handed me a meal plan sheet, and said, “Write down everything you eat.” Oh, my goodness. I ate so clean that week. My meal plan, I looked perfect. My food diary was perfect, and he took it and he didn’t give me another one. So what did I do the week I didn’t have it? I ate like crap. I’ll be honest with you, I did not stick to it because I wasn’t accountable to it, no one was helping me manage my food.
With the group coaching, everyone gets an initial consultation and then we meet with our group in the slack channel and we do weekly calls. I have tons of worksheets and strategies already set up and running in there, and then you get to ask your questions and see how … It’s so much fun to see other people’s recipes and what they’re doing that’s working for them. Then I have a private three month support program where we work one on one, just you and me. We do weekly calls for 30 minutes because as your body heals, the plan changes. So we want your body to heal, we want to know what’s working, what isn’t working, and modify as you start to feel better. Then I also offer concierge care, which is an unlimited access to me. I say during normal human hours so that way you can text or message, and then we always do a weekly call with that program as well.
What I would love for you to do today to get started, is I have a free 10 day guide to beat the bloat. Most people struggle with bloating or IBS type issues, so I want to get you started on an awesome nutritional plan, figure out what foods are triggering your bloating, I have tons of strategies on movement, eating, exercise, supplements, everything’s packaged together. So you can get started, go to littleblackbagmedicine.com/beatthebloat. And it’s also under “learn about functional medicine.” It is a free program. You get added to my free Facebook group, where I do weekly lives and FAQ days, and lots and lots of support for you there.
Lastly, I would love for you to follow me on Facebook at Little Black Bag Medicine. There’s my Daily Dose with Dr. Alison group. And I’m also on Instagram, where I post my recipes, my foods, my ideas, share everything that I can learn about functional medicine with you. That way, you’re always learning and you’re always getting the tools that you need. And I have weekly live classes as well. So make sure to check in and see what’s going to so you can get the help that you need. And when you’re ready to schedule your free 30 minute consultation, you can do that online at littleblackbagmedicine.com and on the far right hand side there’s a Book Online. Click the 30 minute consultation and pick the time and day that works for you. All right, everyone. I hope that you enjoyed this presentation. I so look forward to working with you in the future.
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