In this episode of Turnpaugh Talks, Dr. Turnpaugh sits down with one of the family nurse practitioners at THWC, Cassandra Haddad. Cassandra has been in health care for almost 20 years now. When she began, in allopathic medicine, she watched patient after patient not get better and she thought “there has to be a better way”. About 6 years ago, one of her friends had her 4th child. This child had very severe gluten, soy, and dairy allergies. Her mom was told she would have to find another way of health care because this child could not receive any of the usual medical treatments. They began going down a more wholistic route. They started to tell Cassandra about it and she thought “this makes so much sense”. Cassandra also has two young children herself, 3 year old twins. Around the time they were born her husband started not to feel well. They blamed it on his age and exhaustion of having twins, but as it continued to happen they began to worry. Cassandra even thought that he had stomach cancer at one point. While searching for an answer, they found out he has celiac disease, after having eaten gluten for 40 years. Cassandra and her husband went gluten free (the twins already were), but her husband still wasn’t feeling better. This solidified her decision to make the transition into functional medicine. When she first heard about THWC she didn’t even think it was possible that a practice like this existed, one that is truly patient-focused medicine, once she found it, she never looked back. She had Dr. Turnpaugh run bloodwork on her husband and he put him on a relatively simple gut-recovery plan. Now, her husband is feeling better than ever.
In her experience in allopathic medicine, she was given about 15-20 minutes a patient. She felt like she was working for an insurance company and not for the patient. Now in functional medicine, she is able to spend an hour with her patients. She loves having the time to sit down and truly understand the root cause of a person’s health concerns, however if it is a follow-up or checkup that doesn’t require an hour she can easily get it done in 15 or 20 minutes as she did for so many years. Cassandra practices family medicine with a wholistic view, she combines allopathic medicine with functional medicine by prescribing a medication when need be but still focusing on the root cause of health concerns and trying to keep them on as few medications as possible. With her experience, she can see patients of all ages and all health concerns, whether it is a simple well visit, a chronic illness, or a mental health issue. Cassandra is also head of the IV department and is happy to be able to help her patients in this way as well.
Cassandra’s patients always feel comfortable opening up to her about any health concerns they have, physical or mental. She wants them to feel fully comfortable telling her everything, she is accepting of all patients and cares as best as she can for them no matter what health decisions they choose to make. She loves seeing generations in the same family and building intimate relationships with them until she is like an extension of the family. Unfortunately, many medical practices will kick patients out who choose not to vaccinate or choose alternate vaccine schedules. Cassandra feels it is her job to provide great health care to absolutely everyone who needs it, regardless of the health decisions they have made. She is always striving to find a better way.