‘I'm a Giant Puzzle,’ Patient Finds Answers, Help through Integrative Medicine

By Jeffrey Field
November 20, 2017

Angella HermanAngella Herrman said figuring out her health situation hasn't been easy.

"I'm a giant puzzle and none of the pieces make any sense," she says.

One big piece is that her body isn't efficient at making glutathione, a potent antioxidant needed to rid our body of environmental pollutants such as heavy metals, pesticides and herbicides.

"The body's trash truck," she calls glutathione.

Herman went to an integrative medicine provider in 2015 to address what she called "the urgent stuff." She says she started noticing big improvements right away.

When that provider's services became unavailable about a year ago, she found a replacement in Emily Day, APRN, in Integrative Medicine at The University of Kansas Health System. Day's office sits just down the hall from where Herrman works in Clinical Informatics.

Herrman says Day has been focused on the puzzle ever since.

"Emily is great at covering why my body isn't working," she says. "She's putting the pieces together."

Every few weeks, Herrman gets infusions of glutathione and vitamins. She said she doesn't need to check her calendar to remember when it's time for the next infusion. Her body – and her husband and colleagues – will let her know. She may seem forgetful or struggle to say the right words. She might put the wrong object in a microwave oven.

"I feel like my brain is swimming in soup," she says of these moments. "Infusions make it feel like the soup is draining.

She said those infusions make her feel better immediately. She's nicknamed the container holding her vitamin solution her "magic yellow bag."

Herrman, a registered nurse herself, said she's not crazy about the idea of doctors writing a prescription to help with every single ache and pain. She says past physicians have tried to prescribe her Botox, something she's resisted. Through integrative medicine, she's been able to pare down her prescriptions to one. She's also taking supplements.

Herrman says that she appreciates the Integrative Medicine team constantly researching and discussing complicated cases, putting their minds together in the search for answers.

She's also felt supported when trying to figure out those answers on her own. She now notices subtle changes in her system and tries to associate it with anything she's done differently.

"I'm much more aware of my body," she says. "I pay attention to things."

Herrman prefers integrative medicine's approach of looking for the root of her health problems. She says when people have multiple health issues, there's often something specific behind it.

"I don't want someone to treat my symptoms," she says. "I want them to find the underlying cause."

This story is part of a series of interviews with The University of Kansas Health System Integrative Medicine patients who agreed to share their experiences in our clinic. If you’d like to learn more about integrative medicine, call the clinic at 913-588-6208 to make an appointment with a member of our team.

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