Throughout his life, Douglas had been plagued by random episodes of fever, but they usually passed on their own and he was able to mostly ignore them. That all changed in his late 20s, when a particularly horrible fever took him to the emergency room. Doctors discovered an infection from a grapefruit-sized abscess in his body, which had turned his blood septic and become life-threatening. They also found evidence of past abscesses, which had likely burst and been absorbed into his body on their own. These incidents were the result of Crohn’s disease, a revelation that would change Douglas’s relationship with his body forever.
After his Crohn’s diagnosis, Douglas began the arduous task of trying different medications to find relief. Crohn’s is an inflammatory condition in which the digestive tract is unable to absorb nutrients properly and may cause alternating periods of constipation or loose stool, among other symptoms. Finding appropriate treatment was crucial for Douglas, since foods like the tiny seeds on strawberries got stuck in his inflamed digestive tract causing abscesses to form. Unfortunately, none of the medications he tried proved effective, and he continued to feel worse and worse.
Douglas eventually turned to alternative sources of care and decided to try Chinese medicine. After being treated with acupuncture and herbal formulas he noticed quick improvement with his GI symptoms. This led him to study Chinese medicine and become a practitioner himself. He noticed a lack of practitioners that shared his cultural identity, and began serving other Spanish speakers and members of the queer and kink community.
After studying Chinese medicine in Chicago, Douglas relocated to the Seattle area. Frighteningly, he developed DVTs (deep vein thrombosis) in his legs and lungs for no obvious reason. He was immediately put on blood thinners, being told the first 30 days were critical since his clots could dislodge and become life-threatening. This adversity once again fueled Douglas’s passion for serving his community, and he went back to school studying mental health and sex therapy. He is now combining his specialties into a holistic practice at Curativo Health in West Seattle.
In this episode of the Major Pain podcast Douglas shares his health journey, while discussing his work in Chinese medicine and sex therapy. He gives us a basic understanding of Chinese medicine, how it can help patients, and what to look for in a practitioner. He also discusses the importance of sex therapy for couples affected by chronic illness or disability, and how open discussions around intimacy can help people live fuller, happier lives.
Find Douglas at Curativo Health: https://www.curativohealth.com/
RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES: https://rarepatientvoice.com/MajorPainPodcast/
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