You Are NOT Your Disease

I’ve seen a lot of patients in my 10 + years in medicine and my six years as a PA. I was calculating the numbers the other day and I think I came up with a rough estimate of 20,000 patients that I have treated. Each and every time I’m saddened when the first thing patients say is “I’m diabetic, so I can’t exercise” or “I’m arthritic, so I can’t really walk” or “I’m obese, cooking is impossible for me”. I used to write-off their testaments as truth, scribble out their prescriptions and let them go without thinking twice. It’s easier this way and a lot faster to see patients in the conveyer belt mode, which was how I was taught to practice medicine. But for about two years now, my assistance has come in the a different form. I’ve learned to help people extract themselves out of the “I am my disease” model into the reality that is mind over medicine. It’s not entirely their fault, we’ve placed these labels on them in form of diseases.

We live in a culture of labels and we as medical providers throw them out all the time. Those ideas become reality and patients adopt them as truth. We know them as “The drug seeker, the crazy one, the lazy patient, the frequent flyer, the lonely man, the lonely woman, the drunk, the faker”. This is not uncommon or specific to the medical field. We find these archetypes in every aspect of our communities, our families, our circle of friends, our workplace. Everyone knows them and we still love them despite their label. It’s time to depart away from this futile mode of operation. We must also stop taking credit for patients successes and stop blaming/labeling them for their ‘failures’. As Dr. Hernandez said in our interview,, the number one player in the healthcare team is the patient. If they’re not making the decision to take control of their health, there is very little we can do as providers.

The first step begins with the patient. YOU, as the patient, must make the decision to not be the disease. You may have been given a medical diagnosis, but it does not define you or dictate what you can and cannot do. If you’re told you have a chronic disease, ask questions, educate yourself, research and find out everything there is to know about your disease. From there you can determine what foods would be serve your body and which supplements would help you work at your optimum.

Sometimes I get tough with my patients. I do it from a place of love and compassion so they know they have the power within them. Please stopped being shocked when I ask you what you have tried to do to correct or reverse your symptoms. It’s YOUR body, own it!

You are not your disease. Once you get that and are ready for the tools to help you take control of your health and find the healer within, come find me . I’ll always be here to light your way.


Essential Oils and Health

Thank you to Amanda Queen, PA-C for this guest post. It couldn’t have come at a better time. More and more I find myself googling essential oils for sore throat, pain management, pimples or colds and keep learning that the benefits are endless! Here is her explanation of these wondrous natural drops of magnificence!

Essential Oils

What are essential oils?

Essential oils are highly concentrated aromatic compounds from plants. A wide variety of different essential oils are available, and may be produced from seeds, bark, leaves, flowers, roots or peels of some fruits. Essential oils are more than just scents though – they can provide many therapeutic benefits.

What kinds of things can you use essential oils for?

Anything really! Oils can be beneficial to anyone, for a variety of physical and mental health complaints as well as for general wellness. Some of the most common uses for oils include skin conditions such as acne and eczema, pain complaints, cold/flu symptoms, anxiety or depressed mood, promoting relaxing and relieving stress.

How are essential oils used?

Oils can be used topically, diffused into the air, and some oils can be ingested. Oils can also be used for making personal care and cleaning products. In general when used topically oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, almond oil, olive oil or jojoba. Use the same quality of oils that you can cook with and consume, as the oils are absorbed through your skin. If diffused it is best to use an ultrasonic diffuser that does not use any heat as this can destroy many of the therapeutic properties of the oil. Take particular care with ingestion of essential oils. If you are not well versed in aromatherapy suggest consulting with someone that is prior to ingestion of oils. In particular be very careful about the brand you choose to ingest as oils are not regulated and many are contaminated with chemicals, pesticides or synthetics.

Are there any safety precautions for oils?

In general oils should be diluted. There are some exceptions to this rule. Oils should generally not be used for babies less than 6 months of age, with the exception of a diffuser in the general area of an infant which is considered acceptable.

Certain oils should be avoid for those with seizure disorders: Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Pennyroyal (Mentha pulegium), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Sage (Salvia officinalis), Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), Thuja (Thuya occidentalis), Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium)

The following should be avoided or used with expert consultation during pregnancy or breastfeeding: aniseed, basil, birch, calamus, camphor, cassia, cinnamon bark, hyssop, Idaho tansy, jasmine, lavandin, mugwort, parsley, pennyroyal, rosemary, sage, tansy, tarragon, thuja, thyme, wintergreen, wormwood. Use the following oils with caution: angelica, cedarwood, chamomile (German/blue), cistus, citronella, clary sage, clove bud, cumin (Black), cypress, davana, fennel, bay laurel, marjoram, mountain savory, myrrh, nutmeg, peppermint, rose, spearmint, vetiver, yarrow. Peppermint on the abdomen should be avoided during pregnancy.

Great! Where can I get oils?

Please be careful, do your research, and find a company that you can trust. Oils are not created equally! There is a wide range of prices for essential oils. Quality and purity vary greatly. Unfortunately “100%
pure” on a label does not necessarily mean the oil is really pure. Consider how the oils are distilled – steam distillation or cold-pressed are preferred. Many of the cheaper brands obtain oils by solvent extraction, using chemicals to obtain the compounds. These types of oils should never be ingested and I wouldn’t recommend using them topically either. My personal favorite and what I choose to use for my family is Young Living Essential Oils.

If you dig this stuff as much as I do, follow Amanda on her blog:


Le doy las gracias a Amanda Queen, PA-C por esta contribución, que ha llegado en un tiempo muy oportuno ya que con mayor frecuencia busco los aceites esenciales para tratar el dolor de garganta, el manejo del dolor, el acné, o los catarros.  Sigo descubriendo que sus muchos usos y beneficios no tienen fin.  En seguida les detallo los beneficios de esas magnificas gotas de la naturaleza.

Aceites esenciales

¿Qué son los aceites esenciales?

Los aceites esenciales son un alto concentrado aromático que proviene de las plantas.  Existe una amplia variedad de aceites esenciales que pueden extraerse de las cortezas, hojas, flores, raíces, o membranas  de las plantas o algunas frutas.  Los aceites esenciales son mucho más que aromas –  puesto que estos proveen muchos beneficios terapéuticos

¿Qué clase de condiciones de salud pueden tratarse con los aceites esenciales?

En realidad, ¡cualquier condición! Los aceites pueden ser benéficos para cualquier persona y para padecimientos físicos o mentales al igual que para alcanzar un bienestar general.  Algunos de los usos más comunes de los aceites incluye padecimientos de la piel tal como el acné y el eczema, dolores, síntomas del catarro o la influenza, malestares como la depresión y la ansiedad o para aliviar el estrés y promover un estado de relajamiento.

¿Cómo se usan los aceites esenciales?

Los aceites se pueden aplicar tópicamente, atomizados por el aire usando un difusor de aromas, o en algunos casos ingiriéndolos.  También se pueden usar para crear  productos de cuidado personal o de limpieza.  En general cuando se usan tópicamente, se deben diluir en  algún medio tal como el aceite de coco, almendra, oliva o jojoba.  Se usan  solamente los aceites de calidad con los que se cocina o se consumen ya que se absorben a través de la piel.  Cuando se van a esparcir  en el aire es mejor usar un difusor ultrasónico que no use calor porque se pueden destruir  las propiedades terapéuticas de los aceites. Hay que tener especial cuidado cuando se trata de ingerir los aceites esenciales y se debe hacer solamente si se tiene suficiente conocimiento de las propiedades del aceite en cuestión. Si no se sabe mucho sobre la aromaterapia, sugerimos  consulten a personas versadas en el tema antes de ingerir cualquier aceite, y se debe tener mayor cuidado sobre la marca que se use y asegurarse que no ha sido contaminada con sustancias químicas, pesticidas o sustancias sintéticas.

¿Se deben tomar medidas de precaución antes de usar los aceites?

Como regla general, los aceites se deben de diluir, pero existen  excepciones a la regla.  Los aceites no se deben usar o aplicar a bebés menores de seis meses a menos que se usen en un difusor de aromas en el área general que se considere aceptable para un infante.

Ciertos aceites deben ser evitados por las personas que padecen de ataques: el aceite de Eucalipto  (Eucalyptus globulus), el aceite de hinojo (Foeniculum vulgare), el aceite de hisopo (Hyssopus officinalis), el aceite de menta (Mentha pulegium), el aceite de romero (Rosmarinus officinalis), aceite de salvia (Salvia officinalis), aceite de tanaceto (Tanacetum vulgare), aceite de tuya (Thuya occidentalis), y aceite de artmisa (Artemesia absinthium)

Los siguientes aceites de deben de evitar durante el embarazo o la lactancia, o usarles si son recomendados por una persona experta en su uso:  anís, albahaca, abedul, cálamo, alcanfor, casia, canela en rama, hisopo, tanaceto de Idaho tanaceto, jazmín,  lavanda, artemisa, perejil, menta, romero,  salvia,  estragón, tuya,  tomillo, ajenjo. Los aceites que siguen se deben usar con precaución : angélica, cedro, manzanilla (German/blue),  cidra, salvia, clavo, comino (Negro), ciprés, hinojo, hoja de laurel, mejorana, mirra, nuez moscada, yerbabuena, rosa, menta, geranio, milenrama. Se debe evitar frotarse con aceite de menta durante el embarazo.

¡Estupendo! Donde puedo conseguir los aceites?

Se debe tener mucho cuidado e investigar cuidadosamente y solamente comprarlos de las compañías en que se pueda confiar.  No todos los aceites son producidos con la misma calidad.  Hay una gran diferencias en los precios de los aceites esenciales y su calidad y pureza varían grandemente. Desafortunadamente,  el que se liste en la etiqueta que son  “100% puros” no significa que los aceites sean puros.  Se debe considerar como se han destilado los aceites y se prefiere que sean extraídos con vapor o presados en frio.  Muchas de las marcas más baratas obtienen los aceites usando solventes o sustancias químicas para extraerlos.  Estos tipos de aceite nunca deben ser ingeridos y no se recomienda que se usen aplicándolos tópicamente.   Los favoritos que la autora del articulo usa para ella y su familia son de la marca Young Living Esencial Oils.

Si a ustedes les gusta usar los aceites esenciales, pueden seguir a Amanda en su blog:

Sore Throat? Cough? Toothache?

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of meeting and working with Dr. Darshan Shah who was about to take the road most traveled as an Anesthesiology resident, but instead took the less traveled path and is healing the world through combining Western and Eastern medicine. He and his wife decided mid-way that this wasn’t the life they wanted for themselves and pursued more fulfilling pastures. He transferred into a Family Medicine residency and once complete, they travelled for a year and he found a deeper more holistic and integrative relationship with medicine. His story is fascinating and inspiring. You can learn more about him here:

He imparted so much of what he learned during our 12-hour shift, including the use of Clove.  He was handing out recipes of clove tea to patients and asked him to explain more. I did some more research and I’ve posted some studies below. So far, I’ve used it for patients with:


Sore throat



Clove has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain- killer) properties. The active component is called Eugenol and it is packed with antioxidants and acts as a good source of minerals. Clove oil has been used for centuries for all of the above properties. We’ll learn more about essential oils in another posting.

Like everything else, be cautious if you’re pregnant or allergic to any of the components in the recipe shown. Dr. Shah was kind enough to share his Clove Tea recipe:



Image courtesy of artur84 at