COM0014: Do People Know Your Story?
They loom like an unassuming shadow. Seen by many, known by few. As she travels the road through the healthcare system, they are her supporting actor in her made-for-tv-movie kind of life. They are the sidekick to her fight against villainous poisons that plague the healthcare communities.
Two years ago I received my Chartered Herbalist designation. No small feat, given the eleventy-billion on-the-go’s I’d had on my plate: Five kids. A business. A not-for-profit. Yet, I’d sought out education to further my understanding of complimentary, alternative therapies for the autoimmune disease that plagues my path in life. Sometimes, this path leads me through low-grade chemotherapy treatments. Sometimes, this path leads me to the ice cream aisle.
As my advocacy bloomed to life six years ago, and many networks and communities were joined, I’d noticed one glaringly obvious commonality between them all: The search for information regarding alternative therapies. I was also profoundly bombarded with the “latest and greatest,” the conspiracy theories, the snake oils and…best of all: CURES.
Systemic Lupus Erythematosus is an autoimmune disease that currently has no cure. It has no cure, because scientists cannot trace its originating cause. This can be witnessed in the extreme variability of symptoms shown by patients afflicted with the disease. Some have merely a facial rash. Others, systemic organ failure.
I sought to understand anatomy, body systems and the chemical constituents of plants that highlight herbalism and its foundational basis for many of the pharmaceuticals we use today. So, why do I not share a lot of my compounded knowledge between the natural and the scientific?
I do not, as yet, have a game plan to manage the legal liability. You see, the common layman can tote anything as a “cure.” The significant problem arises that the average patient is so sick from the combination of pharmaceuticals any of us receive on an ongoing basis, coupled with an often devastating loss of hope, that they will seek solace in trying just about anything that may give them the relief they yearn for.
Herbs + Pharmaceuticals = The potential for devastating contraindications.
Sure, I’ve shared my Badass Hand & Body Wash…or my Badass Bug Spray…but, I don’t know my common reader from a hole in the wall. Thus, I do not know what your entire health photograph looks like. What medications ARE you on? What is your blood pressure? Blood glucose? Heart health history?
I have an ethical duty of care to provide a complete analysis for a patient in my care as an herbalist. I can only hope ethics and morality will factor in and trump the financial gain of promoting products that, essentially, have the possibility of contraindications so severe as to compromise the lives of so many just hoping for some relief in their journey of pain and disease.