Want to Spend More Time with Your Doctor?

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| March, 12 2020 | for Mark A. Isaeff, MD
Image provided by: Kelsey

To give reference, in 2010 I began working full-time in outpatient pediatrics, a very physically demanding job. In 2011, I developed agonizing stomach pain and other GI issues and rapidly lost weight. The next year my body "broke" again, resulting in excruciating pain in my muscles and joints, fatigue not relieved by rest, and a plethora of other fun symptoms. Various tests came back normal, so I was diagnosed/labeled IBS-D, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue syndrome. All trashcan diagnoses, pretty much un-treatable by medical professionals. Oh, also PTSD got thrown into that exciting mix. I spent the next 8 years seeing various doctors for short "check-ups" where nothing was resolved and nothing was further investigated. Basically every visit went like this - I present list of symptoms, I'm told it's "just part of fibromyalgia," and then the doctor gives me prescriptions for medicines that don't help. Meanwhile, I'm no longer working full-time, not even part-time. Maybe 15 hours per week as an OT.

In January of 2018, I became very sick, with all my illnesses flaring at once. I had to take a leave of absence from work. I was in and out of the hospital and ER, malnourished, couldn't keep weight on, had developed severe light sensitivity and couldn't even look at my phone without getting a headache. Was just at the end of my rope. My dad was going to try to send me to the Mayo Clinic to see if we could get some answers about my declining health.

Dr. Isaeff was my doctor for a few years in my early to mid 20's. Even then he spent a lot of time with me trying to explain various health maladies, how I needed to make lifestyle changes, and really seemed to care about me as a person. I remember talking to him on the phone a couple times after I hurt my back during my first OT job.

We heard Dr. Isaeff was doing something different, this concierge thing. My dad, who is also a doctor, knows Dr. Isaeff and thinks very highly of him (that says a lot). The concierge plan had benefits that seemed to fit what I really needed. I needed a doctor who 1) I could get in touch with and/or be seen in office quickly; and 2) would really look into what the heck was going on with my body! Not just throw pills at my symptoms. And knowing this concierge doctor would be Dr. Isaeff?! Win-Win!

Well, I got all those needs-boxes checked and then some. I have never had an office visit with a medical doctor last longer than maybe 30 minutes (rare), with an average visit being 10 minutes. With Dr. Isaeff, I don't think I've ever had a visit that was less than 45 min, and that would be considered a short visit. Sometimes visits go so long my legs fall asleep. To say Dr. Isaeff is attentive and thorough is an understatement. I don't think he knows how to do anything halfway. He studies my history, old labs, new labs, never rushes me (actually makes me slow down or back up quite often), always has tons of questions for me as well. He seems to order every lab under the sun, labs that other doctors denied me because they said insurance wouldn't cover. Dr. Isaeff found a way to get them covered. He follows up with thorough, attentive phone calls and more thorough, attentive visits.

He resolved the light sensitivity almost overnight. I was dumbfounded by such a quick turnaround. He referred me for non-invasive treatments that immensely improved my pain and fatigue levels plus greatly relieved anxiety and PTSD symptoms. Blown away again. I was able to go back to work.

Later that year I started having burning in my hands and feet as well as other painful and scary symptoms. Dr. Isaeff was the one who found I was deficient in B12 and related nutrients and fixed me up very quickly. If I had approached my old doctors about the burning in my extremities, the restless legs, the cardiac symptoms, they would have thrown their hands up, said "it's the fibromyalgia" and tried to throw some neuropathy and anti-anxiety medications at me. If that had happened, I would have developed pernicious anemia. So, as dramatic as this sounds, Dr. Isaeff saved my life.

He also saved my daughter's life. I became pregnant just as my B12 levels got back to normal. Low B12 and folate levels + pregnancy = no joke. My daughter is a happy, healthy, "typical" and wild 7-month-old. Thank God for Dr. Isaeff.

Dr. Isaeff is diligent, concerned, caring, thoughtful, makes time for you when there is no time, thinks outside the box, and most importantly, doesn't see a diagnosis and stop there. He keeps digging to find out what is making you sick and then he works WITH you to get you better. If you want to see a doctor for 8 minutes visits 1-2x/year, who barely looks at or listens to you, and treats you by sending you home with tons of drugs that end up making you sicker... Dr. Isaeff isn't the doctor for you. If you want to feel better and learn a lot of stuff in the process, he is the doctor. MY doctor.

This is the way medicine should be.