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About Susan Friedl
Susan’s background is in fine arts and body and movement work. From 1982-1995 she worked as a physical therapist, specializing in work with abused women. In 2005, Dr. Gordon invited Susan to help Gordon Medical Associates to manage our clinical research. Since that time she has moved from directly working with the research studies to managing GMA’s web presence and helping to get the word out about the work GMA does. When not busy at the computer, Susan loves to spend time in her garden, read, do yoga, do almost anything creative, and visit with friends and family.

How Long Will Treatment Take?

When new patients make their first appointments, they usually have many questions about how long they should plan to stay with us at GMA. Understandably, they get frustrated when we cannot answer those questions with any kind of specificity.

Here’s the problem:

Before we actually get a chance to take a patient’s history and examine them thoroughly, it really is not possible to formulate a therapeutic treatment program. Some patients insist that if we reviewed their massive medical records, in advance of their arrival, surely we could tell them how long their treatment will take.

Let us try to explain why this isn’t possible.

First of all, it is illegal for any physician to make a diagnosis or treat a patient without a complete history and physical first, taken in person with the patient. 

That technicality notwithstanding, the complexity of our patients make it virtually impossible to design a treatment program without delving into the details of their medical lives first. Often the information we really need is not in their medical record. Most of our patients are extremely complicated.

They usually have some combination of Lyme disease with multiple co-infections, mold toxicity, allergies, chemical sensitivities, mast cell disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, chronic viral infections, coupled with a bewildering combination of other medical diagnoses.

If that wasn’t complicated enough, because of each person’s individual biochemistry and genetics, combined with the way they process stress and spiritual/emotional upheaval and cope with their illness, those named illnesses play out very differently for each individual patient. Our patients are far more sensitive to medications, supplements, homeopathics, chemicals and electromagnetic radiation than most; some exquisitely so.

The variability of that sensitivity is difficult for most people to grasp – some of our most sensitive patients can take large amounts of antibiotics, but even the tiniest dose of a homeopathic remedy throws them completely out-of-kilter. Often the only way to know how they will respond is to try.

So, our task, when we begin the process of helping a new patient to heal, is not only to clarify the diagnosis (which is difficult enough), but to stratify those diagnoses into layers, attempting to identify with as much precision as possible, exactly which layer requires the most immediate attention and will lead to the most immediate benefits. Adding to this difficulty is that for each individual we must delve into their sensitivities so that we can determine not only what they need initially, but how much they can handle initially so that we can begin to make forward progress.

Alas, there is not a lot of science that will allow us to do this properly. We have been working for some time with a variety of diagnostic aids (electrodermal, kinesiological, and microscopic, for example) but those have never proven to be as accurate as we hope, and need them to be, to bring true precision to these important decisions. We have therefore come to rely on our experience, our knowledge, and our own personal sensitivities to our patient’s descriptions to make these difficult decisions.

As Dr. Gordon describes this, “it is like pinning the tail on the donkey with a blindfold on, but we peek.”

When patients come to spend time with us, we cannot know in advance what they will need, or how they will react to our suggestions or treatments. Every day is new. We have the privilege of treating a number of delightful patients from Europe – they have come a long way to see us, but every day they need to report to us how they responded to what we did yesterday, so we can formulate the treatment program for today. Those responses change from day to day, and so do treatments. 

Although we may know what my first day’s treatment will consist of, their response will alter what we do next. We might start with one type of intravenous treatment and switch to another, or add another medication, or reduce the dose, or increase the dose, or add Frequency Specific Microcurrent or the neurofeedback, or a wide variety of detoxification options – all based on their individual response.

This description is a microcosm of the treatment program: a constantly shifting, changing response to each being as they begin or complete each phase of our program. That response requires that both the patient and the practitioner communicate as clearly as possible on a regular basis and that each is ready to re-think or change what we are doing as the clinical picture evolves. When we do this we find that the vast majority of the time good things happen (but not always on our time table). The best results happen when we both (patient and practitioner) have the flexibility to optimally respond to changes as they arise.