I feel quite strongly about this one. If you come to see me (I should add straight away that I’m a medical herbalist, not a doctor) with however many years’ experience of a medical condition, no matter how much I studied the condition at university, or afterwards; or however much I *think* I know: YOU ARE THE EXPERT IN YOUR CONDITION.
You are the one who has had to live with it, you know how it affects your life, you know what you’ve tried and what works and what makes your heart sink when it’s suggested.
I may have studied – to degree level – how your condition might have started, the mechanisms of what’s happening in your body and what medications your doctor may have tried you on. I might be able to draw you diagrams of the organs it’s affecting, or flow charts of what the biochemical reactions are in your body. I’ll know which herbs might be suitable, and which might interact with any medications you’re taking.
But what I have learned is pretty dry in comparison to what you’ve learned – you’ve probably hoovered up everything you possibly can about your condition, because at the end of the day, it affects you, and you have to look after yourself, don’t you? Learning about your illness can be the most important thing in your life sometimes, which is understandable – I’ve done it myself, and remember the frustration.
So this is why we have an hour for your first appointment. You can tell me what you’ve been diagnosed with, and then you can *really* tell me about it. What you know about it, what you don’t know about it, what nobody has ever explained to you, what you’ve found works, what doesn’t work. What it feels like to have it. If you feel abandoned, isolated, or alone because of your condition, and whether that makes your symptoms worse.
I respect that, out of the two of us, you are the expert in your condition. I am the expert in herbal medicine. We could make a good team!