My Functional Medicine Journey, Part II: A New Direction

photo of pathway surrounded by fir trees

A while ago I posted about my decision to try Functional Medicine for my digestive issues. I started with one practitioner who did testing, identified gut dysbiosis as my major problem, and put me on supplements to address that. He also worked with neurofeedback and I found this very interesting, as a way to change ingrained brain patterns without psychotropic medication.

But then he became very unresponsive, via the online portal we use for communication. He would tell me “I’m just a message away!” and then not respond to my messages. This immediately put my back up because I have emotional issues regarding non-responsiveness. It triggers a dual reaction in me of becoming hyper-vigilant, anxious, and panicked, and trying to deal with those feelings by shutting them down and becoming non-responsive to myself.

photo of pathway surrounded by fir trees
Where now? Photo by James Wheeler on

Neither of these reactions is helpful, and I have no doubt they are strongly involved with my physical health issues that I figure are partly there because they are trying to point toward something I was not working out in my inner life. So I applied practices I’ve learned to calm myself, listen to those inner voices and see what is really going on.

After a few attempts I did get a hold of my practitioner and he said he was sorry, he is going through a hard time and his dad was just diagnosed with cancer. Okay. So he is not in a place to be available to me right now. Now what?

Acknowledging my own needs, I know that it is just essential for me to work with someone who is able to be responsive to me on a regular basis. I didn’t want to wait for him to be ready for that, so that meant I had to look for someone else.

I had already become interested in trying another way of working with probiotic and other therapeutic “implants,” through delivering them directly to the gut via enemas, but this was not his expertise. So I looked online for someone who could help me with that, and I found a nutritionist and colon hydrotherapist who offers consultations and supplies. I appreciate that she charges by the minute so short, frequent check-ins are more affordable, and also that she explicitly acknowledges the emotional side of healing, which guy #1 did not do. (To be fair, I believe he knows it is important, but he didn’t make it his task to explicitly talk about it.)

So, after some time of transition — it takes a while for an order to arrive from the US — I’ve been on this protocol for about two weeks. There is a similar regime of gut-healing supplements and probiotics, along with suppositories that I can make myself with coconut oil and essential oils, and the enema therapy, a three-enema series ending with a coffee infusion. I was not aware of this, but coffee enemas have been used for a long time in cancer therapy and are a way to detox and strengthen the liver.

close up photography of roasted coffee beans
Photo by Adam Lukac on

It takes some getting used to the idea, but once I did I found it a healing gesture just to bring attention and awareness to a part of my body I have despised and ignored for so long. It is a way to facilitate gentle release in the colon and also to insert helpful substances, rather than merely being helplessly subject to violent, involuntary purging as I have been with my migraines and vomiting attacks, or depriving myself with elimination diets that seem never-ending. I like that I am in charge of the process, not at the mercy of someone else doing it to me who doesn’t understand what I feel. I control when and how I do it, I pay attention to how it feels in my body, and I assess the results.

It’s too soon to tell about long-term effects, but it definitely has not made me worse, and each time after the series I feel good and energized. I am hopeful that this regular, conscious, gentle cleansing will help to ameliorate my longtime pattern of becoming overburdened and stuck, and then violently expelling toxins. Supposedly the enemas do not create a dependence, but strengthen your own system so it can function better without them in time. I’ll find out!

How does this all sound to you? Weird, or intriguing? Any questions?

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10 thoughts on “My Functional Medicine Journey, Part II: A New Direction

  1. This was a useful read for me. I too have a hard time with non responsiveness. As for your health issues, my friends and I were talking about similar ones. I will share this post with them.

    Thanks for sharing your healing journey. I hope for the best with your latest protocol.

    1. So glad if my trials and tribulations can be of use to anyone else. My main learning at the moment is how important our gut health is to everything. I think each person has to find an individual way with that, I am wary of quick and simple solutions or gurus who claim they have the exclusive answer, but what is indisputable is that the microbiota plays a far larger, more complex and more important role than anybody thought till quite recently and that this must be brought into balance for any true healing to occur. An exciting challenge!

  2. Dear Lory, I almost hurt that this is such a hard journey. With my back issues-I now can’t sit at a desk-I believe gut issues are harder to diagnose and heal. From all I have heard, taking your healing into your own hands is the way you have to go. Even though it’s early yet, I am happy to know that you are finding some relief, even if it is temporary with fingers crossed that a permanent solution will present itself.

    1. Thank you so much for your kindness, Laurie. I don’t mean to sound like I’m complaining. Everyone has their own trials to bear, and yours sounds very hard to me too — back pain is excruciating! My own journey has proven to have some promising developments, my gut does seem to be healing, and I think the next phase is to figure out maintenance, how to sustain what I’ve gained without spending quite so much time and energy on it. Yes, healing is a project!

  3. I remember coffee enemas was a thing from at least the 80s when Emily first had cancer – though I don’t think she tried it, and if she did it would’ve been only once. Trying different regimens does at least sound a proactive way of attempting to deal with ailments, though hopefully in your case it won’t be because it might be giving the illusion of achieving something positive but because it really does make a difference, and that it mentally helps because one feels one has agency.

    1. Mind and body do work in synergy, I find. Or else they can be terribly at odds with one another — that’s the habit I want to avoid! At any rate, I think I’m finding a better way of cooperation and it does seem to yield positive results. Hope…

  4. Ugh, unresponsiveness would be an issue for me too. Especially if you are paying for his knowledge and care. I have an acquaintance who has experimented for years with enemas, etc., to improve her health and it really did help her. It was a high price to pay, but only the individual can determine if the cost is worth it if it helps them enough.

    1. Exactly. I’ve paid a lot in money and time and stress and anxiety already. I am wiling to put in more of 1 and 2 but I want to reduce 3 and 4. Those are not worth it.

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