Most MDs love to do labwork and I’ve had reams and reams of it done on me over the past 15 years. There have been a few gems hidden in the data, including some that were overlooked for many years by my doctors and by me. Other labwork led us down rabbit holes, leading to treatment that did me great harm. Let’s talk about some of the problems with labwork today that prevent us from obtaining the full value of our labs.
The trouble with labwork:
- Some labs put your data online but if you change labs or use more than one, your data is suddenly all over the place – not consolidated anywhere.
- When it is online, it’s not graphed over time to allow you to spot significant trends.
- Your doctor can’t remember your labs from 3 years ago and can’t easily see labs ordered by other doctors, so she’s always looking at snapshots in time, not your trends.
- Unless your MD is a guru, she’s likely relying on inadequate or out-of-date knowledge when analyzing labs. Even gurus are gurus in a specific field and may have little knowledge outside their sphere of gurudom.
- Reference ranges published by labs are somewhat arbitrary and change over time.
- Reference ranges published by labs are not based on a healthy cohort so they don’t tell you what ideal results are.
- In some well documented cases, uninformed MDs rely on “normal” labwork, using it to ignore patients’ clinical symptoms. They say “There’s nothing wrong with you. Consider seeing a psychiatrist”.
- Many important tests are not covered by insurance so we don’t get them.
- Many MDs don’t know how to read some labs which require expert interpretation (Lyme, hair tissue mineral analysis).
- Getting labs that don’t lead to improvements in our health, leads us to become skeptical about getting more labwork done.
- Laboratories that do testing not used by average allopathic MDs and not covered by insurance come under financial and reputational attack by big Pharma, raising prices and convincing the public their tests are a scam. Who has time to read books and do research to see if quackwatch.com is itself a scam funded by big Pharma?
- You’ll find an “expert” to contradict anything if you dig enough. Fish oil is good for you says one. No, it’s harmful says another.
What happened to me from a labwork perspective:
- A blood test revealed moderately high mercury. It was later confirmed by several other test methods. More than 10 years later, I still need to lower my mercury burden for a full recovery.
- The Western blot Lyme disease test was interpreted as negative by a famous MD in New York City. More than 10 years later, another MD sees it and says it’s actually more than likely a ‘positive’ result. I’m subsequently confirmed to have Lyme using a microscope. Chances are I’ve had it for more than 35 years.
- An HTMA revealed exceptionally high copper (2,240% above normal) very likely triggered by Lyme disease.
- 23andme genetic testing revealed many methylation SNPs that were crippling my detoxification system.
These data points seen against the backdrop of my symptoms allowed me to piece together the great puzzle of my life, how and why I fell ill. It turns out, there was no singular cause, it was more of a perfect storm. These are the most difficult cases too, when the insults are many and varied.
So what did happen to me?
Family stress and methylation defects set the stage, many vaccinations, living abroad and lots of foreign travel exposed me to exotic pathogens while increasing my toxic heavy metal load. Then I ate mercury poisoned fish from lakes in Canada every year further raising my heavy metals. I was sick often and frequently on antibiotics.
Then in my 20s, I ate countless cans of tuna and got hooked on salmon sushi. When I started seeing MDs for repetitive strain injury and fatigue, the therapeutic trials they put me on, including antibiotics, antiparasitic’s, steroids and proton pump inhibitors sent me over the cliff’s edge. Taking proton pump inhibitors for over a year likely allowed gut infections to flourish.
Some of my own behaviors and ideas also contributed greatly to the demise of my health. As for behaviours, I’ve been an entrepreneur for over 20 years – that involved a lot of work with PCs and not much sunshine. That over-exposed me to blue light and EMF and deprived me of natural vitamin D and the sun’s energetic benefits.
I also took a multi mineral supplement for years which contained copper and iron. I did this without knowing my mineral status and as it turned out, every day I took that supplement, I was aggravating my free copper excess and iron disregulation even further.
My immune system under assault from copper deficiency, mercury and infections (fungal, viral, and bacterial) just caved in.
Then, I had a nervous breakdown in 2007 after stopping Ambien suddenly and was bedridden for four months. It has taken me 15 years to climb out of that hole. Without lab testing, though, I would never have known what happened to me and would have never been able to climb out of the hole.
Toxicity is like that. If you don’t know you were poisoned and infected by what, you’ll never find out how to get well. Most MDs know next to nothing about it, so just getting diagnosed is quite difficult as with most chronic illness. Confirming the diagnosis comes next.
The Take Away
Labwork is critical in today’s highly toxic and complex industrial environment but teasing out the story your labs have to tell and confirming it is an art. Helping you discover the gems in your labs is our mission.