1. Experience – This can be a challenge, but chances are excellent that a traditional doctor will know little to none about MCS, EI, or CI. So finding a doctor who understands this illness can be a real challenge. If you have friends or relatives with this illness they are your best resource. They will be able to recommend practitioners who worked well for them or didn’t. The reason you want someone experienced, is you don’t want to be someone else’s guinea pig. You need someone who understands this illness. Someone who understands that you need to proceed slowly with a protocol. They need to understand that you may react negatively to something, even though all their other clients don’t.
2. Chemical Free, Non Toxic Environment-This can also be a challenge. Not everyone understands that what is in your living and working environment can negatively impact someone’s health. I am always astonished to see doctors’ office with air fresheners, plug ins, and staff members who are allowed to wear fragrance. Doctors/practitioners’ offices should strictly adhere to a no fragrance policy for their staff as well as a chemical free environment. They obviously can’t control who comes into their office, but they can and should control their office environment so that it is a safe and healthy environment for everyone.
3. Good Listener-Your doctor or practitioner needs to be an excellent listener. They need to be compassionate to your situation and listen without judgment. MCS is a challenging illness; you need someone who will partner with you in your journey to health. They should offer a clear plan of action that you are comfortable with.
4. Patience– Your doctor/practitioner needs to be patient. They should understand that you are not like any of their other patients. You can’t be boxed in with a protocol because it works for all of their other patients. Your health, your circumstances are unique. The protocol that is outlined for you needs to be catered to your individual needs, and needs to be flexible based on your responses.
5. Trusts Your Intuition and Experience-Your doctor/practitioner needs to trust your intuition. If they don’t, they are not the right person for you. I can’t stress enough how critical it is for you to learn to trust your intuition and trust yourself. Many people who see traditional doctors are used to being told what is wrong with them, and what they should do. We have learned to seek others advice on what is wrong, rather than listen to our own bodies. Illness requires you to be proactive, especially MCS. You must take an active role in your recovery. This includes having a voice. If you instinctively feel that the pace, product or protocol your doctor/practitioner recommends isn’t right for you, you need to speak up. You know how your body feels and reacts to things better than anyone else. Learn to trust yourself.
6. Paces Protocols Slowly –After your initial consultation your doctor/practitioner should come up with a plan of action for recovering your health. The protocol should be a slow, progressive one. If you walk out of their office with 50 supplements and a rigorous schedule, chances are excellent that it’ll be too much for you. The last thing you need is a protocol that is so aggressive that it causes you to become sick or more reactive because you are detoxifying too fast. When your body is overloaded with toxins, and your liver can’t even handle the existing toxins in your body, adding more to it by detoxifying too fast will just make matters worse. This is where trusting yourself comes in. If you’re reacting negatively to a protocol, don’t be hesitant to speak up.
7. Openness– Your doctor/practitioner needs to be open to your ideas and suggestions. After all, you are the one who is living with the illness. You are the one who has to deal the negative reactions. If you have learned of a new product or treatment, they should be open to listening to your ideas and then voice their agreement or hesitation.
8. Willingness to Work with Others- Your doctor/practitioner needs to be open to working with other doctors/practitioners. Chances are that your doctor/practitioner will not be able to provide all of the services or tests that you require. Their willingness to not only work, but communicate with you and your other caregivers will provide you with the care that you need.
9. Offer samples-One of the frustrations I hear frequently from friends is the amount of money spent on supplements that don’t work, or cause negative reactions. I appreciate a doctor/practitioner who offers free samples of products to test, before investing in a full size bottle of product. This may seem like a small thing to the average person, but most people I know have mini vitamin stores in their cupboards of things they tried, but reacted negatively to. As an individuals’ toxicity lowers they’ll most likely be able to start using those supplements, but some they may never be able to use. Those unusable products represent hundreds of dollars spent and wasted.
10. Resources/Support –Your doctor/practitioner should be able to provide you with numerous resources, such as helpful books, websites, products and support groups. If you find the right doctor/practitioner you will most likely be having a long term working relationship with them. So finding someone who you communicate well with and genuinely like and respect is very important. Again, this is where talking with friends or family members who have this illness come into play.