Reading the individual case studies in "Gut Feelings: The Patient's Story" brought mixed emotions: sadness for the suffering, frustration as each patient looked for answers, disappointment with the lack of care, anger for the way the medical profession so quickly dismissed their cases, surprise with the lack of knowledge even though it was available, and empathy because I too had shared experiences. If "Divine Intervention" had not brought Dr. Drossman into my life, I would have gone forward feeling pain and hopelessness.
I was treated by 4 experienced gastroenterologists with no diagnosis or discharge communication other than, "Go home, take Tylenol 3's, and get on with your life", or "If you ever find out what's wrong, let me know so I can know what I missed." In contrast my appointment with Dr. Drossman was centered on me. Questions like, "Why are you here? What do you hope to get from our meeting? What do you think is causing your pain?" Following this was an exam and then an explanation of gut/brain connection, a diagnosis; and then, most importantly, what treatment plan was to be put in place. Finally I sensed hope, being heard, having a safe place to land, and the feeling that Dr. Drossman was really committed to my journey. ( And indeed this is how it plays out. Every recall appointment focuses on the patient. Dr. Drossman really listens and is prepared to adjust medications and celebrates any improvements. Try and try again works if you are sure the doctor is truly invested in your treatment. If the patient is willing, shouldn't the physician be also? Dr. Drossman is that physician.) There are too many of us walking this path when there are answers, information, teaching tools and treatments that will help us. This book, delivered from a patient's perspective, underlines the importance of advocating for yourself, searching until you find the right doctor/patient partnership, and being actively engaged in your treatment. Ms. Ruddy's input adds value to the cases because she is on this path to healing along with the rest of us. She instills confidence in the process and sorts through each case from that perspective. The format of this book clearly represents the patient/doctor relationship as it presents facts from both sides.
Dr. Drossman is a gifted specialist who eagerly and continually shares his experience with patients, medical doctors and other professionals. There is help, there are answers, and most importantly, he gives us hope.
Comment from patient’s husband
As a retired doctor, in a completely different field, Peggy's journey totally shocked me. I expected better from the people who treated her. I totally understand the enormous complexity of the human body and the challenges that exist in sorting through challenging problems. But if I could find out about Dr. Drossman, and the the Rome Foundation with its work, articles, books, videos and seminars, why were her treating doctors (Gastroenterologists) unaware. I do not want anyone to think Dr. Drossman is self-promoting with this book. There are many capable doctors connected to this field, aware of its complexity, and in furthering the treatments suggested here. Where Dr. Drossman stands out is as a leader and a teacher. He is a kind, considerate and very knowledgeable mentor in the field of gut/brain issues. With this book, and with the Rome Foundation, he tries to share his and others expertise. Thank you Dr. Drossman.