The simple answer is: because we can! We like doing things we’re great at – especially if we have something unique to offer! In fact, we rarely accept a client ever, for anything, if they could get the help they need elsewhere. We want to help you! Like we have so many people with so many awful problems before you, that are tricky and not treated well in mainstream medicine – and never will be – because the model is the wrong way round. A lot more on this in this section.
But before we go on seeming to diss mainstream medicine, we want to make something clear. Dr Alex is a Medical Doctor, feels proud and honoured to be an MD, and she loves medicine, mainstream included. Mainstream medicine is critical so often. And it’s necessary in so many situations, and some of the developments are ingenious, especially more recently. But it’s useless for stuff like LongCOVID for FUNDAMENTAL REASONS and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. And we want to explain why, so you don’t sit around waiting.
Mainstream medicine is ‘the way round that it is’ because that is what medicine calls ‘standardisation’ – like, how you ‘know what you’re getting’ when you give someone a drug.
You don’t know, but it’s how it’s done. So you make everything really tiny. Think of a nail. Then you invent a hammer. Then you go ‘when hammer hits nail – this happens’. Firstly, ignoring the rest of the whole house. Secondly, avoiding the issue that in some houses that nail isn’t even there. Thirdly, ignoring the fact that that nail may not have anything to do with why, for example, the carpet is loose and causing danger. And fourth, sidelining the possibility that it might be holding something else up, that’s more compromising to the whole house than a ‘proud’ nail. We could go on. Mainstream medicine and pharma do have their purpose – a million-fold – just not in wonky whole house problems.
The way mainstream medicine ‘does things’ is based on convergent thinking. It reduces everything down – like the whole of YOU – to a dot, then treats the dot. It looks like this:
Our medicine is based on divergent thinking. So where mainstream medicine shuts everything right down and reduces things to peas, we open things right up and expand them to big vistas.
The reason we can treat LongCOVID, as mentioned here, is because our medicine is unique. In the way that we treat it, we are also unique. We don’t want that to be the case, but in so far as actually treating LONG COVID, as a WHOLE ENTITY, STRATEGICALLY, SYSTEMATICALLY, INDIVIDUALLY and with SPECIALISED SCIENCE is concerned, sadly we think we are.
Our medicine is more like – look at the whole wonky house. Analyse every millimetre of it. Pin down all the things that aren’t right. Investigate further. Work out how they all sit together. Create a ‘weighting’ that will tell us what is propping ‘the whole thing up’ as ‘a whole problem’, plus what’s co-incidental, consequential, compensating for something else, likely to come right if you fix something else etc. Work out what the minimal number of steps would be to create the most ‘righting’ and ‘repair’ (which threads to pull). Set to work.
The setting to work bit is a massive other domain. Gargantuan. How we use the science of what’s known to work out what to do, and how we work out what’s most likely to work for that individual… but let’s park that for now.
Hopefully, you can see that is not a hammer hits nail sort of approach.
Anyway, when you come to see us, we end up creating something that looks a bit like this (but for the whole body, zoomed right out, zoomed right in)… Like an elaborate and very particular (but also composite) heat-map, with highlighted and colour-graded ‘patho-pathways’, often linking disparate body regions and thereby linking seemingly-separate symptoms, plus stand-out molecular distortions and bio-markers, all of which need addressing… to a greater or lesser degree… plus all the inter-connections between. You can see why no two people will ‘look the same’ to us:
The mainstream medical model is more like the picture on the right. Where it’s all shades of grey and darkness, but we go ‘oh look, there’s an extra-dark bit on the neck, let’s just treat that’ (not literally, obviously). Even though it’s a tiny fraction of everything, not representative of the whole, and can’t positively affect any other areas of grey.
For us, two different people with the same condition, are each unique and individual. Usually not even similar. Vaguely recognizable, sometimes, as a ‘genre’, when they have the same condition – so clearly sounding more like Handel than Freddie Mercury, or looking more ‘Renaissance’, than ‘Cubism’.
So we know we’ll be looking more for a whole orchestra of finely-tuned instruments, than an electric guitar. Or that there will be more ‘chubby bodies floating in the sky’ than ‘boxes’… but just because the condition has the same name, doesn’t mean that the solution will be the same, sometimes not even vaguely.
And we can tell you this: on our spectrum of uniquenesses – the extent to which we have to factor someone presenting to us with a condition, as having ‘a low probability of resembling anyone else we’ve seen with the condition’ so far – LongCOVID takes the biscuit. Before that, CFS/ME took the biscuit.
If you want to hold out for LongCOVID clinics in mainstream medicine, please be our guest. But we will say this: Long COVID is even worse than CFS / ME. Let’s clarify what we mean.
FIRST EXTRA PROBLEM:
LongCOVID is extremely hard – even for us, and we have years of experience and expertise – because the devastation it wreaks, and the havoc it creates, is like a close-to-target bomb-blast (with lots of tiny pieces splayed out everywhere, that we somehow have to piece back – like one of those awful jigsaws that turns up without the finished picture, with 4,000,000 pieces and they’re all a shade of skin-brown ‘is this e.g. a piece of arm’, or ‘e.g. a toenail’).
Additional comment – CFS / ME is also extremely varied, and there are some bomb blasts, and anyway, so many people with this awful condition have dreadful lives waiting for help, but are doing the best they can. You are NOT being sidelined, we worry about you too, and this isn’t a competition.
SECOND EXTRA PROBLEM:
Long COVID is extremely hard because we keep seeing people with a second layer of something else, that is behind the LongCOVID, that was there before, about which they have no knowledge, which contaminates the entire field. And we have to undertake many added steps to work out ‘what’s in that Earlier Domain’ versus ‘what’s part of the LongCOVID picture’.
It is hard to explain how thorny and extra-involved that is when you are in the business of complexity modeling and there are all these gremlins thrown in – which look like other variables of the COVID presentation but using our fabulous system, we know they make no sense.
Sometimes you get these incredible graphic artists who take two photos of entirely different people – like James Nesbitt and Nicola Sturgeon. And then show a video composed of stills that starts with James Nesbitt and gradually transforms into Nicola Sturgeon. Well, we start out with the middle picture from an animated transition sequence like that… and have to work out that the two ‘pictures’ are these two. Then subtract one from the other and start again. Looking just at JN and then at NS (so to speak – obviously they have nothing to do with any of this).
We end up having worked two things out, for the price of one. And our best guess is, that had this ‘other thing’ not ‘bitten your bum’ as LongCOVID, it would have transformed into something else. So our consolation from all this extra work and consideration is that may be the (only) blessing in (deep) disguise, for whoever, is that we caught (or pre-caught and changed the course of) something else for you. We’re wise to this now.
Now bear all that we’ve said in mind. Nails and hammers, versus whole houses. Divergent, complexity-modeled, multi-dimensional, multi-pixel picture generation. Versus convergent pea-gazing. Bomb blasts with lots of impossible pieces to work out. Second layers and gremlins… And now think how well CFS is treated in mainstream medicine – after more than 30 years. How long it’s taken to get pretty much nowhere. And then imagine yourself three decades from now, regrettably still waiting on that mainstream ‘solution to all Long COVID People’s problems’.
If you are one of those people who likes to get things done, you will be out there campaigning to see clinics open up for LongCOVID. We would be glad of that, if they help. However in all honesty they are unlikely to help much at all, at best. You cannot know how much we hope that we’re wrong.
RANT ALERT 1:
At worst, we may see some modification of existing ‘treatments’ for CFS, which have been utterly useless for just about everybody, and in many cases worsen the condition, by taxing people to ‘do more’ with ‘more cognition’ and up their exercise gradually, even though they can’t, and any effort to do so can further restrict their movement for forever, and entrench their condition yet more.
On the premise that people are affected by CFS because they ‘feel a bit tired’ and then wilfully or unwittingly, become so invested in the idea of being stuck in bed or stuck at home, trying to survive each day, for years, that they have somehow DIY-manufactured how they feel, or how limited they are. And are then treated with contempt by so-called specialists when they turn up at repeat-clinics for saying they didn’t do said exercises, because they couldn’t, and very often leave feeling humiliated.
Whereas bizarrely, when you are us, and study all the mechanisms at play in CFS, and work it all out for any individual, you find that – lo and behold, if you test it – there it is, in data, black and white. And when you treat said mechanisms, lo and behold – with great care (and it is very tricky), it resolves.
As Dr Alex was one of the Research Team that discovered the first confirmation of absolute non-cognitive (muscle metabolism!) changes back starting in 1991, this is difficult to swallow, in 2021. It isn’t a coincidence that she’s so well-equipped for the LongCOVID challenge – she was training up for it even during her BSc and PhD.
RANT ALERT 2:
At best, we expect any Mainstream LongCOVID Clinics will take that low-hanging fruit approach, we keep going on about.
Finding subsets like, for example, POTS and treating one or more of those – as if pinning that rioter down will stop the riot. Furthermore, given that the dysautonomia in LongCOVID is intrinsically linked to so many systems, and is part of intricate reflex sequences for so many others, unsurprisingly, when you apply ‘a medicine’ to that singular element, and that part of the system can no longer flex (is ‘locked’), something else goes out.
Obviously, if it’s ‘just POTS’ (which you wouldn’t wish on anyone) and there is literally nothing else ‘out’, that may really help. So far, nobody has reported to us that they’ve been really vastly helped with their overall LongCOVID by any singular attempt via mainstream clinicians to treat their POTS.
And to our frustration, we have treated several people with so-diagnosed POTS – who meet the criteria – in LongCOVID, with our approach, and strangely enough, when we can catch it early, we can set it back on the path to normality. Everyone so far has improved markedly; we want to wait for a while longer, before we declare any absolute wins… however, where they have remained tachycardic it has reduced significantly, but most importantly functionally it has ceased to be any notable problem.
This also tells you that when #Longhaulers are essentially saying the tachycardia is affecting them functionally, in whatever words they use to say it’s problematic, when they see the cardiologist, and they get laughed out of the room because apparently, athletes can tolerate much higher heart rates without compromise, the joke is on us, as doctors, for not better understanding that there is tachycardia that’s dysfunctional, and tachycardia that’s functional… How hard can it be?!
That said, dear Longhaulers, we need to point out that mainstream medicine is focused on pathology – they are looking for diseased heart etc. Which is radically different from us, as we are focused on patho-physiology and functional deviations that can still, in theory, be ameliorated because they are not organically diseased.
The ‘best’ mainstream or private-but-mainstream clinics there are, worldwide, currently do: generalised mainstream tests (thyroid, liver function, kidney function, B12/folate etc), heart testing, lung investigations, sometimes ENT, some nutrition if very ‘advanced’, and employ physical rehabilitation specialists. Almost everyone coming to see us has tried all of these already, admittedly not via a ‘special LongCOVID clinic’. Level of sustained progress: zero.
Please don’t tell us, as your opening statement, that you’ve spent all your money seeing other people, who were never going to have been able to help you in any meaningful way (but good on you for trying to help yourself), and how now you can’t afford us. Like we’re an add-on. And these ‘other doctors’ who needed paying, earned their fees.
We feel for you – and can’t rectify that. We worry about all our patients – we can’t worry about all our patients’ finances too.
If you feel awful, and would have checked into a ‘specialist’ clinic in Germany to get help, we’re totally sure that you would be having to find 10x the funds for 1-10% of the value. And not on this scale, and certainly not at this level.
What you get from us:
Please don’t imagine for one second that there isn’t ‘blood, sweat and tears’ involved (metaphorically-speaking) in how we work relentlessly, in order to find out how to make your route forward, as easy and fast as can be.
If you feel that you need to be ‘physically in it’, with elaborate ‘treatment’ suites, and visits to our consulting rooms, to justify the cost, then this isn’t for you. It’s data-driven. HUMAN data. Applied by HUMANS, for HUMANS. With HEART.
Our work is tough, involved, extremely laborious, and takes hours and hours and hours. We are essentially looking to reboot the very essence of your physiology and biochemistry, psychology too if needed. Fundamentally ‘right you’, and hopefully save you other future illnesses by correctional measures now, warranted by what we find out.
More pressingly, return you to some sort of decent life. Hopefully, the life that you knew. Get you back to work and earning a living. Helping you to a brighter future than you can have any hope for, right now.
Your starting point:
It is awful for us that by the time you get to us, you have not only exhausted your funds, but are also disillusioned and dismayed by the progress you have not achieved, seeing cardiologists, respiratory consultants, ENT specialists, and so on, privately, to no added value. And also, very often – and this is so credible given The CFS Experience – feel abused by and angry at doctors, for really slighting comments and disregard, even when paying privately.
We hope to eventually compile a list of doctors for folk to go see, who are less antagonistic and bombastic, where we see the need.
Your hopeful endpoint:
But right now we seek to correct your experience of such doctors (honestly there are so many lovely doctors) by hopefully choosing a path that can work, instead of one that has zero value unless you actually have residual organic COVID-related disease….
Incidentally, any organic disease would be treated by mainstream specialists. However, for example, if you have a dilated heart, a mainstream doctor can’t usually return to you better wellness – whereas very often, we, in fact, can. We don’t ‘just’ treat fatigue syndromes with remarkable effects!
Meanwhile, to get started:
Please don’t disrespect us by somehow inadvertently asking us to compromise what we do – that is unique globally – because of choices that didn’t work out for you. We will always quote what we believe to be the minimum possible to do the job well – and without exception, we end up doing twice as much as we quoted for, without even mentioning it.
We want to help! And we can only tackle the problems we are equipped to tackle medically.
And we beg that you put the word out so there isn’t so much attrition of funds before people can reach us, causing people so much more stress, than if we had seen them once their GP first said there were no other angles that needed checking, in mainstream terms.
If you want more info on how we do our pricing, please see here.
Here’s a very simplistic (imagine 50 x the ‘stuff’ on the left in multiple layers and hierarchies) visual representation of what our work ‘looks like’ in terms of how much more difficult is than what we do as ‘normal doctors’, who churn out whatever item is indicated by a given diagnosis virtually without thought, with 3 minutes’ linear, transactional, ‘thinking’ work:
We do extensive upfront TRIAGE work FOR FREE – other professionals would turn that into an initial consultation or a call, but we genuinely want to help. We never take a patient if we can’t see how to add value. We will ask you questions, via email, and if it is a presentation we know we can work with, we will quote for your Programme, if you so wish.
And just so you know we also have a way of ‘standardizing’ so we know what we’re getting. Unlike mainstream medicine, we don’t need to scale things down to a hammer and nail. It’s standardization of our system – which enables us to reproducibly get results. So our work is INDIVIDUAL yet our results are REPRODUCIBLE.
This is in fact the conundrum in medicine that nobody ever managed to work out, which is why Dr Alex is such a landmark clinician, and has been honoured to be recognised as such. It really is the ‘holy grail’ of medicine for complex, fluid, multi-pixel, and/or highly-individual conditions.
Most importantly, in having such a system, we know from the outset if we can help.
And we want to help!
And you have Dr Alex’s extensive training, commitment, and results, spanning decades, integrity and professional reputation as your best assurance.
When conditions present very diversely because you are UNIQUE, and several elements of the condition vary or change about, or are hard to pin down…. such that your UNIQUE PRESENTATION is a challenge that is not the exact same as other people’s with the same diagnosis, then you need a different approach for your unique, dynamic, complex, multi-pixel problems.
And we are unique, in being able to work with that UNIQUENESS.
ARE YOU READY?
If you have any questions, all you need to do is contact us to get started and we will take it from there.
Now you may also find that you struggle mentally and emotionally with COVID-19. Personal challenges you already had may seem amplified as you cease to have so much to preoccupy your mind and fill your day. You may find that you have new mental health issues during the COVID-19 lockdown, or even as the lockdown is eased and we return to some sort of normality.
We can provide our unique psychotherapeutic interventions – to help you get past psychological problems that you already had. And we can support you, and help you process and get beyond new struggles.
If we can help you in any way, please Contact Us.
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