The next day, we met at the Center for Functional Medicine, part of the Cleveland Clinic that focuses on dietary changes, supplements, and meditation practices to tame the inflammation and chronic conditions that long-term Covid causes. It works in collaboration with the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM), located near Tacome, Washington, which has been key in the development of this specialty since 1991.
Hinda previously had a telemedicine appointment in October 2021 with Seem Patel, a doctor of functional medicine who spent an hour reviewing all of Hinda’s symptoms and her childhood health history.
Functional medicine practitioners often say that food is medicine, and Patel focused on Hindi’s diet, possible allergies and vitamin levels. She put it on IFM’s ReNew diet, which the Institute of Functional Medicine describes as “a nutritional path to health for those with autoimmune, gastrointestinal, neurological and other chronic health problems”.
A diet consisting of meat, vegetables, low glycemic index fruits and healthy fats eliminates foods that can cause metabolic dysfunction and reduces the intake of all sweeteners and processed foods.
Patel knows she’s hard to follow. “Many patients are bored, and the younger they are, the harder it is for them. But those who follow him are the ones who do better, ”he says.
Patel also prescribed a number of supplements: GI-Revive, for bowel healing and heartburn; magnesium glycinate for stress, sleep and energy; multivitamin; omega-3 fish oil; Quercetin, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and probiotic.
During a personal consultation in April, another doctor of functional medicine, Alice Sullivan, examined the supplements and diet of Hinda, who told the health worker that she was following a diet, but that she had eaten some of the forbidden foods. Dairy was one of them. “I can’t stand lactose, but I love cheese so much,” Hinda said as she ate a cup of macaroni and cheese.
“I am impressed that you followed the plan so carefully,” Sullivan told the patient. The doctor added that she considers nutrition an important factor in the recovery from long Covid.
Sullivan also gave Hindi good news. “I believe you will fully recover. If you get rid of the inflammation, your body will reset. And you are still young,” he said.
As Hinda and her mother prepared to return to Cincinnati, Hinda felt better than she had for a long time. “I feel a lot of hope,” she summed up.
Two weeks later, his optimism remained. In a MyChart message to Buck, she reported that her visit to the Cleveland Clinic went well. “At 17 months, I feel good now. I only deal with migraines, daily headaches and tingling in my hands and feet. A neurologist prescribed amitriptyline and that stopped headaches and migraines. I can eat better from there. I don’t have nausea and I’m gaining weight again. Appetite is good. I haven’t been drinking Ambien for several months, and I’ve slept very well myself, “said Hinda.
Still, she couldn’t help but worry that she might have acute Covid-19 again. She wanted reassurance that Buck would continue to take care of her as her primary care physician. “I just don’t want to suffer for weeks like I did before,” Hinda Buck wrote. “And I was hoping that if I could do it again, we would have better ways to help people get through this.”