Michelangelo said that he didn’t create his famous David de novo out of a piece of rock; rather, he asserted that he freed the already-present statue from the fetters of its marble block. He chipped away at the obscurations, revealing the hidden work of art beneath layers and layers of stone.

I strive to model my medical practice after the way Michelangelo worked with his hammer and chisel: Whatever condition you’re facing, especially if it’s complex or long-standing, is like a chunk of rough stone. And yet, beneath the veil of symptoms and your body’s many attempts to maintain balance, there lays a David—a potential you that is capable of healing. We need only to discern what your particular layers are, and then set to clearing them away patiently, one by one.

Many folks ask me what it’s like to come and see a naturopathic physician or an acupuncturist. From “Do you prescribe drugs?” to “Will you accept my insurance?”, you probably have a few questions of your own. Perhaps I can answer some of them by describing the process I go through with people, from the initial visit on through to treatment planning and continuing care. Please e-mail or call me if you have additional questions that I don’t touch on here.

Getting Started: Because Beginnings Matter

After you schedule an appointment, the first thing I’ll invite you to do is fill out an intake form. Mine is pretty thorough, because I’d like to know as much as possible about your present condition and health history. I’d also really like to hear about any thoughts or feelings you have regarding your state of health. I spend quite a bit of time with your story, because I consider it to be like a trail of breadcrumbs that leads back to the origins of your present concerns.

An initial office visit lasts approximately 90 minutes (though first visits with children are frequently shorter). During this time I’ll invite you to tell me about your health and any treatments you’re currently receiving, review your intake form with you, perform necessary physical exams, assess your pulse and tongue from a Chinese medicine perspective, and consider any lab reports you were able to bring along.

Following this, I’ll share my assessment of your condition and outline my recommendations for a therapeutic strategy. My goal during an initial visit is to offer you a map of sorts—one that will help you to better see where you are today as well as the path to where you’d like to be. Often it’s possible to do this entirely during the initial visit, though I frequently need to order additional lab work or study your records in more detail before I can provide you with the utmost clarity. At the close of our first visit I’ll recommend a treatment plan and suggest how I anticipate refining it as we go.

So, this is how we’ll begin. It’s quite a thorough process and I try to leave no stone unturned, because I want to understand how your biography and your biology are part of a coherent whole. As a naturopathic doctor I order standard blood work and lab tests in addition to other, much more comprehensive labs as needed. While I can prescribe many of the medications that MDs utilize (such as antibiotics and hormones, for example), my experience tells me that there are usually more effective ways to facilitate healing that have fewer side effects. That said, I’ll absolutely recommend pharmaceutical medications if they are the best choice for your care.

Continuing Your Care: Making the Journey

Follow-up office visits last about 1 hour, and they are time I set aside to assess your response to treatment and modify the therapeutic strategies you’re engaging as you heal. I usually suggest a weekly or monthly schedule, depending on the relative acuteness of your condition. Though in-person visits are always preferred, I also offer Skype visits for those who cannot make it to my office or who live some distance away. Once I understand your situation and health goals as deeply as I can, I’ll develop a comprehensive treatment plan utilizing the following assessments and modalities:

  • Highly individualized research, design, and implementation of integrative care plans for all types and stages of cancer, including advanced and “difficult” situations;
  • In-depth laboratory testing for purposes of “terrain” assessment in order to develop your comprehensive care plan, optimally tailored to your unique physiology;
  • Expert guidance on how and when to utilize state of the art methods, including live cancer cell sensitivity and resistance testing, genomic/proteomic profiling, cancer cell mutational analysis, and circulating tumor cell testing, for personalized selection of therapies and implementation of “n of 1” treatments;
  • Dietary recommendations and lifestyle guidelines suited to your unique temperament, along with lots of support for implementing them;
  • Targeted nutritional supplements;
  • Individualized botanical (herbal) formulas drawn from eclectic Western and Chinese pharmacopeias;
  • Homeopathic medicines, including an advanced European system of homeopathy termed Biotherapeutic Drainage;
  • Helixor–a special preparation of the mistletoe (Viscum album) plant that effectively treats cancer (in addition to some other diseases) and minimizes the side-effects of conventional treatments;
  • Recommendations for at-home hydrotherapy;
  • Counseling, emotional, and spiritual care and support;
  • Prescription medications;
  • Appropriate referrals to and collaboration with specialists and colleagues whom I trust.

Dollars and Sense: Making Healthcare Affordable

I have personally researched all the medicines that I prescribe in order to be assured of their highest quality and freedom from all additives and contaminants. Furthermore, since I strive to make healthcare affordable and because insurance doesn’t cover much of what I prescribe, I keep my medicinary prices as low as I possibly can.

I kindly ask for payment via check or credit card at the time of appointments. I will provide you with the necessary documentation you need to submit to your insurance company for self-reimbursement if your policy covers out-of-network care by a licensed naturopathic doctor.

Are you still unsure about how to proceed? That’s not only understandable; it’s okay. In spite of what others might say about the need to make urgent decisions about your treatment, it’s far more important that you take the time to chart the course that’s right for you. If you’re feeling confused, it could be because everyone’s talking about what really ought to be called “disease care” these days, instead of about true health care. You might like to have a look at Cancer’s Secret Weakness, and see if it offers you some clarity.