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Episode 37: The Departure from Conventional Medicine with Shane and Natalie Plummer of The Boise Bubble Podcast

Podcast Drop Date: 5/29/2024

In this episode of the Functional Medicine Foundations podcast, host Amber Warren chats with Natalie and Shane Plummer from the Boise Bubble Podcast about their transition from conventional to functional medicine. They share personal stories and the frustrations they faced with traditional healthcare, such as misdiagnoses and impersonal care. The Plummers highlight the holistic, patient-centered approach of functional medicine and the significant health improvements they've experienced. They also offer advice for those considering functional medicine, stressing the importance of finding the right practitioner and community support. The discussion concludes with reflections on patient advocacy and the potential for integrative health approaches.



Amber Warren, PA-C: Welcome to the Functional Medicine Foundations podcast, where we explore root cause medicine, engage in conversation with functional and integrative medicine experts, and build community with like minded health seekers. I'm your host, Amber Warren. Let's dig deeper. Welcome back, everybody to our podcast. I am so excited. This is actually the first time we've interviewed two husband wife duo Natalie and Shane Plummer, um, owners and directors of the Boise Bubble Podcast. Which, how many years running have you guys gotten? Number one, 2 or.

Natalie Plummer: 3? It's three.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And you're up for number four right now.

Shane Plummer: Oh, number one podcast.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Shane Plummer: One year just just this past year. We're up.

Natalie Plummer: Oh, yeah. Oh, is that what you're asking the best. Yeah. The first time they podcast. Yep. They just introduced that as a as a genre and okay. Yeah we wanted the first year. And hopefully second we'll see for we have some some big competition. Some podcasts I actually love are our competitions okay.

Amber Warren, PA-C: This will be a tight race. Yeah I love it. Well welcome. Thank you so much for being here. We're so excited to introduce you guys to our listeners and our community. Good. So we're really here again, kind of another first of just doing more of like a patient testimony. Your guys's experience. Right? Natalie, I get the pleasure of working with you. Shane. You're working with Doctor Holthouse, who's one of my favorite humans on on planet Earth. Awesome. He's such a good guy. So we're here just to kind of break the mold and talk about. Really, we just want to share your guys's journey. You know how you were, where you were finding the shortcomings and the holes and conventional medicine and how you guys found us and kind of launched into your health journey. So can we start with that?

Shane Plummer: Let's dig in.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Like where you were even a year ago, or for you, a little bit longer ago? Shane.

Shane Plummer: Yeah, for me, it was probably a couple of years back, but, um, I'm in my mid 40s and when I crossed over into my 40s, that's when, you know, some things start catching up with you. And I just didn't feel great. I felt, um, I started feeling some typical things, like anxiety and just sluggish and, um, you know, you go the typical route of traditional medicine, and you go to your doctor that's in network, and you try to get them to understand. And the thing that stuck out to me, that stuck out to me is when I started asking questions about my testosterone. Oh, and they wouldn't they were very resistant of even testing for it, really. And when they would throw out the numbers of what your ideal testosterone levels should be, the range was so ridiculously large, I thought, there's something about that that doesn't feel right to me, that your range can be anywhere from 300 to, you know, 1500, and that's okay. That feels like a large range. And it wasn't until I subsequently started investigating it that it's very complicated. It depends on your age and it depends on a lot of other things. But when I started pushing for like more robust testing, hey, can we test this? Can we test that? Uh, it's just getting shot down all the time, and, oh, insurance won't cover that. Oh, unless there's a preexisting condition or some kind of signs for it. We can't just, uh, there was a very narrow list of what they could test for, and it just felt like, uh, if we really wanted to get down to the bottom of things, we needed to do more tests. Yeah. And you just can't get a lot of tests when you go through the traditional.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And the whole time you're like, wait, I'm the consumer. This is my body. I'm writing the check every month to my conventional health insurance plan. What? There's something that's not adding up here. Oh, yeah.

Shane Plummer: Yeah, I often thought I thought, okay, surely somebody in an office somewhere is doing some long term net cumulative calculations. Okay, what are we going to spend on this person over the next ten years if we don't get down to the bottom of it? Isn't an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? And that was not the case in my experience.

Natalie Plummer: Do you still believe that?

Natalie Plummer: Oh, no. Someone behind the curtain seen things because I think I actually like that.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That could be a fun conspiracy theory.

Natalie Plummer: No, I mean I wish there was something behind the curtain.

Shane Plummer: No clarifying. I used to think that there was some, that there was somebody being rational behind the curtain.

Natalie Plummer: Oh, yeah, that's what I mean. Somebody like someone rational.

Shane Plummer: Yeah. No.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Unfortunately, no. Yeah.

Natalie Plummer: That's what you know, this I.

Shane Plummer: Haven't seen a lot of evidence to give me a lot of faith that there's a lot of rationality behind, uh, how insurance manages what they cover and what they don't cover.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I read a statistic. 90%, 95% of health care dollars is spent on sick people. Yeah, 5% on prevention or anti-aging or longevity.

Shane Plummer: What sense that makes that makes no sense.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Makes no sense. Yeah. It's wild. Okay, so you started to just think and you started to ask the questions and critically think through things. And unfortunately, not a lot of humans are used to that nowadays.

Shane Plummer: No. And I think that that's just a red flag for me in my day job. I do a lot of recruiting, a lot of organizational improvement and working with people. And when you start asking questions and people start getting defensive or they can't answer those questions, red flags start popping up. And, uh, I just decided I needed to I needed to look a different route. And I had some people that referred me to the functional medicine route. And, um, hence I stumbled upon, uh, functional Medicine of Idaho. Cool.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. So awesome. And you got in touch with Doctor Hollhorse right away? Yeah.

Shane Plummer: It's been a very it's been a fundamentally different experience.

Amber Warren, PA-C: In what ways?

Shane Plummer: Number one, the robust level of testing. Um, the first time that I had panels done, I couldn't believe how many things we had tested for, and it just felt more comforting for him to look at different angles, as opposed to just guessing at one particular factor. He was looking at multiple factors at once. Yeah, and I'm not a doctor, so I can't remember like all of the things that he tested for. But, um, but it felt like a much more, um, holistic approach. Great to try to dig into what root causes are. Yeah. I no one ever talked about root causes when I was talking to my traditional physician.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Shane Plummer: It was all treating symptoms.

Shane Plummer: The symptoms of the moment. Yeah. Not chasing down where they came from.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Pill for the pill for nil. Mhm. Right. Unfortunately. Yeah. Okay. That's wonderful.

Shane Plummer: Yeah. Sorry to monologue so much about my experience.

Amber Warren, PA-C: But uh it was wonderful. Yeah.

Shane Plummer: Tell us about yours.

Natalie Plummer: Well he had such a good experience and then you know I run an Instagram page that I have access to a lot of, um, if I want to ask people what they think on things, I can ask quite a few people. And people had said this was such a great route. So, um, I think I came to a place like I, you know, because I've worked with you and I'm fine to talk openly about some of my health struggles, but I am complicated, like physically complicated. I have a lot of things going on in my body that complicate each other. So one thing that might fix this thing is going to is going to exacerbate other issues. And so no matter what I did, if I was fixing one issue, I was making something else so much worse. But the thing is, is no one spent enough time with me to figure any of that out. It was like, just try this other pill. Well, I can't try that pill because it's going to make this thing so much worse. And then it was just kind of this like, sorry. Yeah, this stare and like, you're out of time. And I think I really hit my like last, the last straw when I was talking with a doctor and it was a wellness visit. And then I asked an extra question that wasn't technically wellness. And then I got like a $650 charge for an additional service, because I basically brought up that I had was feeling anxiety beyond what?

Amber Warren, PA-C: Wellness, beyond.

Natalie Plummer: The wellness check. And I was like, and they're like, well, there's a sign out in the hall that says, you know, anything that's not included on wellness, and it's up to you to look at the list. And I'm like, I guess my thought was that when I'm with a medical professional, if there's just an additional like, hey, what should I do at this point? Like, can you direct me that? That would just be part of it. And when I realized is no, because I my whole self, my whole wellness is not, um, that's not what they're seeing as their priority. They just want to know the specific thing you're in. They're right there. And I was I felt so abandoned. And I had no idea. Like I didn't know what to do. I mean, I'd cry. You saw me a lot. I mean, when you don't know what your body is doing and you hurt all the time or exhausted all the time. So I remember when I met with you and I was moving into doing, like, these massive surgeries for my lymphatic condition. And, like, I don't know if you remember, I was crying so quick. I had never had anyone listen to me.

Natalie Plummer: And what's funny is I've heard that from so many people who've gone to your office is that they didn't realize, um, what it would feel like to be heard. Yeah. And my therapist, who now I'm working with a therapist on actual medical trauma, and she talks a lot about the. I think you may have mentioned this at one point, the little TS and the big TS, so I thought all trauma was had to be big TS. And we just did a podcast about PTSD and I've learned so much more about trauma. But like to be especially a woman I think, and to consistently be belittled and to be looked over is trauma after trauma after trauma. And I didn't realize that I was holding on to so much trauma of not understanding my body and no one helping me. And so that was when it was like I came home. I'm like, I don't even know what happened. But knowing like it was like this sunshine of hope. Maybe I could figure out what was actually happening instead of just throwing medicine at it all the time. Yeah. And so it's how long have we been working together? Just like six months.

Amber Warren, PA-C: About five, six months.

Natalie Plummer: Yeah. And like, yeah, we're in, like full. Full motive. A lot of changes.

Shane Plummer: I like the word abandoned. That's what it feels like when you're going through health issues. And you don't understand your own body and the problems that you're having. That's why you're going to a doctor is because you need help.

Amber Warren, PA-C: But you need someone to be your guide and direct you in the right place. And when you.

Shane Plummer: Don't know that, and then you're trying to navigate a complicated system with people that you realize are not necessarily your guides. They're trying to navigate the same complicated system, but for different incentives. Um, you feel abandoned.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I'm so glad you brought that up, because it's so much easier than what just it looks like on the surface. Sorry. So much more complicated than what it looks like on the surface. These health care providers that say we're out of time or that's not within your wellness visit coverage today. It's not their fault all the time, right? Like, yes, I do think sometimes health care providers, I'm like, I need you to think, I need you to open your eyes, open your brain to what's out there. But I we don't get any holistic nutrition training in school. It's all I shouldn't say all, but so much of it is pharmaceutical training paid for by the pharmaceutical companies, right, that teach us how to use the drugs. They don't teach us to find root cause. All of my functional medicine training was on my own, and then I had to go, in addition to my physician assistant degree, spend tens of thousands of dollars to get trained in root cause medicine. Because it was my passion and because I knew I couldn't continue to just put really toxic Band-Aids on people. Right? So it's this broken system and we can go. I mean, it depends how much time we have, but we can talk about the reimbursement and the insurance companies and you know who people are, IT businesses, corporations are incentivized to keep people sick. Yes. This is not this kitchen behind us. How we're doing things. This is not keeping people sick, right? This is wellness. And it's just so there's so many layers on who's in bed with who and who's making money off of what.

Shane Plummer: That is so well put, because that is what I've started to feel from my own experience, is that I feel like they're happier when I'm not well. I know, and I also noticed that I am I have less money in my pocket when I'm not. Well. Yeah. It's like because.

Natalie Plummer: I'm sick and bankrupt. Yeah, yeah. That's like the that's.

Natalie Plummer: Like, yeah.

Natalie Plummer: My dad, I used to complain about the health care system to my dad when I was in high school because we'd be learning about it, and I don't know why I was interested in it. And he, he would always come back. It's still like the best in the world. Like. And I'm like, no, it's not, it's not it's really.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Not down the data.

Natalie Plummer: And the thing is, is like, we want to be patriotic and we want to love our country. But like, this is a massive problem that we like. When you have an entire country that cannot get health care and that feels horrific all of the time, and that is paid by pharmaceutical to feel horrific all the time, everything else is going to completely dismantle, because if you're not healthy and you're not feeling well, we can't do anything else. And I feel like it's just like being just in this, this toxic sludge of sickness as an entire country. Yeah. And it's like, what is the answer? And the thing is, the answer is like people call woo woo. And I'm like, are you serious? Finding out why we're sick is woo woo now. Because, like, the American way is to throw this incredibly expensive pill at it.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I know, you're so right, hippie. My husband for a while called it hippie medicine. Like when I left the conventional system to work in functional integrated medicine. He like it was actually a big deal because I'm like, you're not being supportive of this. And he's like, I'm sorry. Like you're already so hard on us. And you take my pizza and my beer like, I just don't want you to get that much more crazy. I mean, he probably said crazy and I probably got mad, but he's like, you're just already so strict and I don't want to lead such a strict life. And then he had to have his own experience to be like, I'm sorry, this is not hippie medicine. This is medicine that actually works and saves lives and changes lives. And I'm so thankful I don't want to live in such a dark place where we're, like, hating the conventional system. Because I'm so thankful. Especially we all have children, that we have the conventional medicine. If a kid breaks an arm or someone needs an emergency surgery.

Natalie Plummer: Yeah, broken arm, we are great.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah, we're awesome at that. But again, 95% of our health care dollars just they're just being funded to the wrong. And why do we I mean, again, we could go to so many on to so many different directions here, but why? The other issue is we wait till they're sick. Mhm. Oh you're a-1c is 5.6 but it's not 6.5. So you're not diabetic. Come back in a year. Oh now it's 5.9. Still not diabetic. You're fine. It's 6.2. You know what I read last week 25% of children are pre-diabetic. A quarter of our youth are pre-diabetic. What are we doing about it anyways?

Natalie Plummer: But nothing until they are diabetic.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Exactly. That's that's that's the point. Until they're 18, it's like cinematic and then we'll put them on meds.

Natalie Plummer: Our marriage is real rough. Yes.

Natalie Plummer: So let's just wait for two years till it's rough enough to get divorced, right? Instead of it's not that it's at work. I'm fine. But, like, you know, Shane's like, he's like, well, what's another podcast?

Amber Warren, PA-C: We'll talk later.

Shane Plummer: I'm interested if you think that you can do better.

Natalie Plummer: Well okay. Another podcast, another episode.

Natalie Plummer: Yeah.

Natalie Plummer: Um, yeah. I think the, the weird thing is the amount of anger that we, we, we deal with, I guess, in this kind of like awakening to our situation has been a lot like. It's a really dark place and I can see why people don't want to look at it. I can see why people want to really believe that our government and our health care and the insurance especially, let's be honest, it's really the insurance that they have our best interest because it's so much easier than looking at the reality for sure, and the feeling, the fear. But when you do see it, you can't you can't unsee it. And I mean, I've been very public like on my page, I'm not going back to traditional medicine. Like, I mean, I have a traditional dermatologist and he's great, but he's also focused on that thing. Absolutely. You know, and I'll go to my OBGYN, but I sure won't use my OBGYN for like overall wellness, which a lot of women do.

Natalie Plummer: Right? I mean, a lot of women, that's the only place that they're actually listened to. And even that is being pulled away. So, so much more in just the last ten years than what we used to be able to get from our from our OBGYN experience.

Shane Plummer: And I think that people are hesitant to dive into it and tackle it because it's complicated and and it is scary. It is scary to think that you might be at a disadvantage of this relationship. I often feel that that when I'm dealing with insurance, I'm I'm the guy who's at the disadvantage. I have to make the case. I have to go put together the documentation. I'm the person who has to fight for it. And I'm thinking, why am I having to fight? Like, why is battle the underlying presumption of this relationship? And, uh. I don't want to sound conspiracy theorist, but it just feels like insurance is a business. I know it's a business that's calculated to make money for investors. And, uh, and that feels odd to me that that entity has so much control over how I get health care.

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Amber Warren, PA-C: I wanted to mention this when you were talking about your journey, Shane. You were just talking about the the dramatic range of a normal total testosterone. Right. And I think what most people don't understand is that those ranges, those total ranges, like your vitamin D being 0 to 3 or. Yeah, 0 to 30. Right. Those ranges were actually developed. They took a cohort of patients in a hospital, admitted to a hospital, sick people. And they developed these reference ranges. So we're not only I mean, you can just talk about again, layer upon layer upon layer, but we're looking at these reference ranges on these labs that we get for every one of our patients. And it's just insanity. Like know a healthy vitamin D is not actually 27 healthy vitamin D is actually 60 to 80. So we've developed we have our own in functional medicine, our own we call them optimal ranges. Right. And I know we can we're going to talk about this on another episode of like what are other tests that we should be looking at or advocating for looking at. But um, did you get your testosterone optimal? Like tell us a little bit more about your journey? I told you.

Shane Plummer: I totally did like it was, um, I thought that it might be. Well, first of all, I was frustrated by, uh, when Doctor Holthouse told me that, well, insurance will cover this portion of the test, but. Or that they will cover the treatment regardless of what it ends up being. Only if you test. I think he said like below 300 to 2 consecutive times.

Amber Warren, PA-C: To do it twice in anrow,

Shane Plummer: Twice in a row.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Like they really pigeonhole you in to the time frame. You can repeat.

Shane Plummer: It and come to find out sub 300 is really low.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh not not if you're 85. So just keep that in mind. If you're 85 it's fine. So but suddenly the elderly out.

Shane Plummer: Of somebody within my age age range like that is crazy.

Amber Warren, PA-C: It's insane.

Shane Plummer: And that's what people don't understand is that like, the bottom of the range is not a good standard to go off of, but that's what you have to test at. And unsurprisingly, I was incredibly low. But, um, but I liked his approach. His approach was not so direct to say, hey, let's just do shots. The coolest thing that I liked about that experience is he taught me about the body's processing system, of how it checks the blood for testosterone levels and sends messages. And so we decided to not just inject more testosterone, but to try to interrupt the messaging system, the feedback system, and, uh, and my testosterone levels, like, they got significantly higher. I don't want to tell everybody what my testosterone was.

Natalie Plummer: It's very impressive.

Shane Plummer: It's incredibly high now.

Natalie Plummer: I'm super happy about it.

Shane Plummer: I mean, it's not so high that I beat you, but.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Um. Yeah. Okay. Not angry. No.

Shane Plummer: But like that is one of the side effects of high testosterone is people can be very irritable and, um. Yeah. And I've never been that high.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Well, and that's also.

Amber Warren, PA-C: What you have to make sure you're going to a practitioner that knows how to administer it safely. And the different there's a lot of different formulations for both men and women. And um, yeah, just know how to do it.

Shane Plummer: But the approach to it was very unconventional. Like it was not a direct T injection. It was something that wasn't even test testosterone. It was a completely different drug that affected a different part of the brain. Yeah. And, uh, anyway, I just thought that that was a cool, a cool way to get to it. Um, and that was just the beginning of my relationship with Doctor Holthaus.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And because you're doing.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Something different with them.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Now. Yeah, I'm.

Shane Plummer: Part of the PA one program.

Natalie Plummer: That's right. You are. Yeah. It's been great.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Precision age reversal.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And he is. So I mean, he is Devon. Devon. He is Devon. So heavy into the literature on age reversal and longevity. And he loves this program. Yeah.

Shane Plummer: He says that this is his passion. And it's awesome to be treated by somebody that's doing something that they're passionate about. Yeah. He is so excited about it that I'm excited about all these things. And um, but the things that we've uncovered has been fantastic. Can you share.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Some of those things that you've.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Uncovered?

Shane Plummer: Oh, one of the things that we tested for, well, first of all, the array of tests we did some features on, uh, uh, Natalie's Instagram page, hello, Meridian. And so we've been talking about it, but I couldn't believe the array of tests. I mean, it's the genetic testing. I think that I had two different genetic tests. I had food allergy tests. I had stool test to check my microbiome. Um, I mean, it just went all over the map. Cancer screening tests. Uh, I think that a one day, I think I had 16 vials of blood taken. It was a long day. Um, and, uh, luckily, I had some pretty good phlebotomist that did pretty good. Good work.

Natalie Plummer: Yeah. Just shout out you guys are the best. Like, if.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I know you.

Natalie Plummer: Because I struggle and I've never had a better blood draw. So you're looking for that? This. This is the place to go.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh, good.

Shane Plummer: But, um, I discover that I'm not at risk of any of the major cancers, which is great. That are tested for.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah, that new DNA test that that we're. Fring is really gallery. It's an amazing DNA cancer screening.

Shane Plummer: We haven't reviewed the results of all the genetic testing, but we did review food allergies. Yeah, I've got some sensitivities and allergies to things that I just didn't expect and which are going to feed into a dietary plan, which I think is fantastic. Nutrition is the biggest puzzle that's always been very intimidating to me is overwhelming. Like eating well is hard to do. And just, you know, telling me to eat healthy is not helpful to me. Like, I need somebody to help me with a plan. And that's something that, uh, they're helping me with.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Hailie. Hailie, she's.

Shane Plummer: In the group. She's fantastic. And so, yeah, mapping some of that out is great.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And what are symptoms that you're noticing as you're starting to work through? I know we're still you still have a long ways to go, but not a long ways to go because your health is poor. It's long ways to go as far as uncovering other things. But what are you noticing already? If anything?

Shane Plummer: Uh uh, I wouldn't say that I've noticed that much as far as how I feel, because we're in the infancy of the program. Okay. Got it. Uh, but I do feel a lot more confidence and just calm that, uh, we're going to go over the right things.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Well, like you're in control, right? Yeah. Like you knowledge is power. And you now are going to be in control of kind of directing your health and, and and being knowledgeable and educated about how you're aging and how well you're aging.

Shane Plummer: And I'll share one thing that was a very potent to me. Um, Alzheimer's and dementia goes on both sides of my family. Okay. And I've had a grandmother that died with Alzheimer's. I had her husband had dementia, and then my grandmother on my, um, on the other side had pretty heavy dementia as well. And so I've always seen this as this looming cloud of something that I was going to have to deal with or might possibly have to deal with as I got older. And so, um, when we started the par one program with Doctor Holthouse, he asked me, what are some of the primary things that you want to conquer? And I said, I would like some visibility into dementia and Alzheimer's. And so he feels like we can look at some of these test results, uh, through that lens and maybe help identify some preemptive things that might push that back significantly, if not eradicate it completely, depending on my risk. Right. And so the first is discovering my risk. And then the second is treating that. And that's.

Shane Plummer: Awesome. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: So part of the testing he did on you was I'm sure Apo I don't know if you guys got there an APO, which is a gene that can can predict our risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Shane Plummer: And I have that.

Amber Warren, PA-C: You do do you know which? So you carry two parts of that gene. Do you know what your two numbers are not.

Shane Plummer: No. Okay.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. So but if you have it that probably means you're either A33, three 4 or 4 four. And that would increase your risk. The higher the number goes. My husband's A34. So he's very similar with his with his kind of history. And it's like, you know, I, I think some people would say I'd rather not know. That makes me really anxious. I don't want to live that life where I'm worried about getting Alzheimer's. And my response to be would be, that's where we can then focus your prevention, right and keeping your brain healthy. Because the new name for Alzheimer's disease is type three diabetes.

Shane Plummer: And that's what he told me.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah, because we now know what blood sugar does to the brain. And having an abnormal blood sugar is so inflammatory for the brain and for the body. So yeah, we know that that plaque formation comes with abnormal sugar.

Shane Plummer: Three diabetes.

Shane Plummer: Brought.

Shane Plummer: On by the body being in a constant state of inflammation, which is often caused by our diet. Exactly right. Isn't that great information to know I know.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Wouldn't you think everyone should know that.

Natalie Plummer: I.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Deserves to know.

Natalie Plummer: I don't think people have any idea what inflammation is. They I think it's it's very subtle. Oh, I've got some inflammation that seems like a calm thing, but, you know, my entire lymphatic disease is all inflammation. And and in all, I, I mean, I spend maybe three hours a day sometimes on just anti-inflammatory methods. And it's like it is everything. But I just don't think that's an I don't know why, because it doesn't sound scary. We don't understand the real implications of it.

Shane Plummer: Well, one really good point.

Shane Plummer: Possible outcomes is Alzheimer's and dementia. And it wouldn't be amazing to have that information in my 40s, where I have time to change my diet and push onset of that ten years, 15 years, I by 10 to 15 years just by having information.

Amber Warren, PA-C: But nobody is incentivized to keep you. Well, I mean, that goes back to our earlier part of our conversation. Nobody makes money off of you not getting Alzheimer's. Guess where they make money off of you getting Alzheimer's? Because some of the new Alzheimer's drugs are 5 to $6000 a month. And so big Pharma gets really rich if they enroll thousands of people every day to get their Alzheimer's because it's a horrific disease and no one wants to see their loved one suffer with Alzheimer's and disease, and so they'll pay whatever and do anything to keep their loved one remembering who they are. Yeah. I mean, it's just like it's so sad.

Natalie Plummer: Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And then don't even get me on the cost of, like, the memory centers and what we do to extend people's lives into the, you know. Yeah.

Natalie Plummer: And we don't have the choice to in America to.

Amber Warren, PA-C: End our life if.

Natalie Plummer: End it if we want to. Because I know that's just for me and that might cancel me. But, you know, if I was far in, I'd want to have a. Choice on if I was going to go through that kind of experience or if I'm like, you know what, I've had a great life and this is the time for me to. To end it. But we just had a conversation with the Death Doula about that. And that's not the way it is in so many countries.

Amber Warren, PA-C: No, it's we're very different.

Natalie Plummer: In so many countries. It's like, that's wonderful. You've had a great dignity.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Natalie Plummer: And die with dignity. Seems like a right. You know, we should have, especially in those kind of circumstances.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I don't disagree.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Um, you know, Natalie, you mentioned after Shane kind of shared his story that you're you're complicated, right. And I, I want to give you some credit there because women are way more complex. We kind of joke like Doctor Hulse that focuses a little. I mean, he does great with women's health too, but he definitely sees more male patients than I do. Right. And we joke, I'm like, oh, your job is so much easier, right? Like I can't remember his acronym for it. But he's like, there's like a couple dials on men and you guys are like this dashboard of, like, trinkets and dashes and flashing lights and all.

Shane Plummer: These, like an airplane cockpit. There's so many dials and levers.

Amber Warren, PA-C: You're married. You get it? You know how complicated we are. But, um. Yeah. So I want to give you that credit to fly, though, right? It's fun to fly. That's the best. It's like some days it depends on the day. Yeah. So I mean, but I agree. Yes you are. Your medical history is also very complex. And your past plays a role in that. Your past, your story is so intriguing to me because of some of that trauma. And I don't want to be the one to share. Share your story.

Natalie Plummer: I mean, it just depends on what you want to talk about. But and you know what? I think I feel a lot of anger and a lot of things with health, but I did not realize also how few tests have been done on women. And we have there, they've been done on men, and then they assume women are the same, you know, same as men. We're just like little men. And how many tests are just being done for the first time for women like this new one that just came out, which I, I need to look more into about how much sleep women need, that we need nine hours of sleep. Like I've never gotten nine hours of sleep in my life. I've only gotten eight hours a few times because I struggle with sleep. One of the fun things. But like we've been told our whole life that we need like less sleep than we actually do, and that that I feel like every day I learn something new that is different for women than we've always thought. And that's anyway a lot of lot of feelings on that. Just because I'm tired of I'm it's like a Where's Waldo of how to be healthy in America.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And it's a good way to put it.

Natalie Plummer: Yeah. And sometimes you just so. Yeah. So I'm very complicated. I don't know if you like how much you want me to go into it, but, um, so let's see when I first came to. So I found out I have a disease called lipedema. And they think possibly up to 10% of women have.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Lipedema significant.

Natalie Plummer: Right? Yeah. It's it's pretty crazy. It's one of the most, um, misunderstood and misdiagnosed diseases.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I mean, I had to study it when you came in. I had to go do my research because you I mean, like so many of my patients are so educated and they teach me things, but, yeah, I dove into it and I'm like, whoa, okay, here we go.

Shane Plummer: Which just to to interject, that's amazing that my that her doctor actually went and did research on a condition. Um, I don't think that I ever had a doctor before that when I came in and said, hey, something weird is going on. Well, let me go back and look that up and do some study on it.

Natalie Plummer: Well, and.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Again, I'm I'm so thankful that I get to practice in a, in a cash pay situation where I don't have big insurance, putting red tape around how I do medicine, how many patients I have to see or work for a big corporation because I've been there, done that where they were like, um, I mean, to be honest with you, and I won't name names, but where I used to work here in the Treasure Valley, when I had my first baby and took two 15 minute breaks a day to pump so I could give them breast milk till he was one, came down on me, put my numbers in front of me and said, your revenue's down. What are you doing? And they're a health corps health care organization. And I was like, and I'm done. That was really my first Segway into functional medicine. But, you know, I'm just I'm thankful that we that I don't I don't have to see 25 patients a day. I can have my panel of eight, nine, maybe ten patients. So I have the time right to then go do that research. So I wish I could say, yeah, that's just how I am. Yes, of course I love that I get to do that for patients. And I'm passionate, but I exist in a system where I have that time. Right. Because I don't have.

Shane Plummer: The traditional system, does not allow for that level of study and care.

Amber Warren, PA-C: They can't.

Amber Warren, PA-C: They're seeing 25.

Amber Warren, PA-C: 35 patients a day. They don't have time. It's all they can do just to get done with their patients. Grab a quick snack halfway through their day, finish their charts and go home and crash in bed or spend hopefully some time with their family. Whereas I have like time built into my schedule where I can finish my notes and have the time to do research. Um, and, and we don't have any, any practitioners here that work more than four days a week. So we have an admin day where they can chart, they can study, they can go for a hike with their family or their dog. Um, I, we don't we feel strongly no practitioners should be working five days a week. I love it again, I digress, okay, back.

Shane Plummer: To your story. Sorry.

Natalie Plummer: Oh, um, so basically this is like very long story. Let's see if I can do it short. So for this particular disease, basically I was like in. Pretty good health, like in high school or whatever. But like as soon as puberty hit, something happened and I didn't know what was going on. But basically my legs got really, really swollen. They hurt all the time. And I was dealing with an eating disorder. So like most of my body was very thin, but like my legs were very, very full and like to the point where I hadn't I mean, I honestly, I haven't worn a pair of shorts since I was 14, so I just thought I was getting like fat legs and I, my doctor was like, yeah, you should just lose some weight. You know, if you eat less and move more because that's what people think, right? Um, and this is why this disease is really it's really hard to talk about it because there's a lot of chads out there who just can't hear something different. But basically I at 19, I went and had liposuction as a college student. I just like went to it was seriously like a liposuction factory, basically.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And because you were desperate.

Natalie Plummer: I was desperate.

Natalie Plummer: And I was like, I don't know what's happening. So I went and they gave me like no aftercare. I had no, they just I just went home. My roommates picked me up. I threw up for like a month straight. I didn't know I was supposed to do like lymphatic massage. I didn't know I was supposed to do compression, I had nothing, I just laid and like took a month off school. So then a month later, I went back and I was like, I don't know what's going on because my legs looked the exact same, except for just horrifically bruised. And they held up two um, they held up the before and afters, and I asked the woman, the like nurse who was in there, I'm like, which one is the before and which one is the after? Because at that point, when, when I saw that my bruising was gone and she said, I can't tell the difference. And the doctor said, I don't know, have you just been eating, like ten meat lover's pizzas a day since the surgery? You said that yes to me, like 19 years old. And I was so mortified. I just went home and I just was like, I didn't know what to do. And then with lymphedema, just a real quick summary.

Natalie Plummer: So it's a lymphatic and connective tissue disease, which basically your lymphatic system cannot remove fat and waste from your body. So it gets trapped and then it gets shoved into your connective tissues where it stays and it keeps on building. And there's no way to get rid of it because there's no system to remove it. So most people with lipoedema have horrible eating disorders, because what they've been taught is if you exercise and eat less, you'll lose weight, but instead it's almost it becomes like fibrous masses. It's almost like this tumor and it's just going to grow larger. Well, it's amplified by hormonal changes and inflammation. So every time you have a baby that's like it's it's suddenly like, you know, I wasn't eating crazy, but I gained like 70 pounds, you know, with having a baby and, like, your legs hurt all the time. You're so bruised. And then it starts to move to different parts of your body, and, um, it's it's so depressing. It's it's it's interesting because most of the people who have this, they just don't talk about it because it is like America teaches you that there's this very simple way to, like, be healthy. And when it doesn't work for you, you think there's something wrong with you and you're.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Told something's wrong with you. Yeah, let's be honest.

Natalie Plummer: And then every time we go to someone, I'm like, I don't know why I'm gaining weight. They're like, just eat less. I'm like, move your body. I can't eat less than what I'm doing. Or like the crazy diets that you'll go on and then you see your body start to change. Like then it moves to your arms. Because if your lymphatic system doesn't work, that has to go somewhere and it's just trapped. So my sister was actually diagnosed by one of the top lymphedema specialists in the country, and she messaged me, and I don't know if you remember, like going on a walk with me. I was so it was so validating. But I was like, honestly, I've never been so low in my life is because most people lose mobility. Like, because you just it just keeps growing like a tumor. And, um, and then that's when I was like, I need I need to figure this out. But there was no one to help me and there was no one. And I just went through three horrific surgeries, um, because things didn't go great, you know, in that. And we talked about that. But also, this is just another thing because I didn't have anyone on my side. No one believed me, that I didn't numb and that I wasn't sedated when I was supposed to be sedated. So that happened with my last baby, I was coming, I was because I had lymphedema, but they didn't know I had lymphedema. They couldn't close me from my C-section. So I was bleeding out, and they did not believe me that my, um, spinal was wearing off. So I'm open on the table. You know, I don't know what's happening. You know, that's that process. That's a whole thing I'm dealing with with my therapist and hopefully going into to to real therapy because. No one should go through that. But then I'm going through, even just with these surgeries of the doctors not understanding that I'm feeling what I'm feeling and that I'm not sedated and, um, you know, I'm not okay from that.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And nor should you be.

Natalie Plummer: Yeah.

Natalie Plummer: But then, like, you know, talking with you and like you listening and like, hey, let's maybe we can do these tests and maybe, like, no, for so long, everyone was just like, you're just being a baby. Like, everything about what's complicated with me is really. It's. It's like humiliating. That's what's so awful. Because either I'm weak, like, I'm just being a baby. Even though I'm in excruciating pain. You're just over, you know, you're just. Maybe you're just scared. I know what surgical pain feels like, you know? So, um, that has been a big struggle for our, you know, our marriage is like, dealing with, you know, you've been an amazing support. But I to be so abandoned in a disease where there's no one who takes the time to understand it. And so that's, you know, when it came to you, I was at such a low place. Yeah. But what I knew was that I needed someone to talk to my surgeons to see oversee the other things. And then also, I mean, I don't know, I could we could talk a long time. How complicated? My, you know, my, my stuff is.

Shane Plummer: I do remember that one of the first after one of the first meetings with you, Amber, she came back and you just wept because you felt like someone was actually validating you and listening and asking questions and going back and doing research. And I think that, uh, you're just overwhelmed with emotions when you felt hope. Um.

Natalie Plummer: Yeah. And and fury. Because one thing you did help me understand was some of the things that they've been throwing at me to help other issues because I have like horrible periods and things like that, that that was actually making my lipedema so much worse. And that and that was also the fear of like realizing just how complicated it is. And, and we're still working through that. Like, you know, we're working now. My hormones were in the toilet.

Amber Warren, PA-C: They were like.

Natalie Plummer: And like, and we're about to do more tests to see it. Like I had no hormones. Yeah. Um, I was making no hormones because I was on birth control to help my horrible periods because I couldn't have an ablation because of my C-section issues. But if I didn't. So. So every what I realized is everything is so intertwined that if you have somebody who's just throwing one thing, it's probably just wrecking the rest of you, and that is it. I tell Shane it feels like a full time job right now, just figuring out, but I have hopefully another 40 years of life, like if I spend one year figuring it out. And that's kind of what we came with with you're doing, if we have one year to figure out how to feel good the rest of the 40 next, like, it's so worth it.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah, yeah. And let that be a good message, right. Like just even the birth control I think it's so heavily prescribed. Um, and with without kind of a disclaimer on it, like, yeah, guess what? This is a synthetic hormone. Your body doesn't actually know how to recognize it. And if you're getting something synthetic that's similar enough to your own endogenous chemical, you won't make your own endogenous natural chemical. Right? So like let that be a message. Like what a beautiful message that we can share with some of your listeners that are moms with teenage daughters who have horrible, heavy periods. Don't go in and get a pill for an ill go in and ask the right questions. Go into the right people, right. Demand to be heard. Demand to be heard for your daughter's sake or your own right.

Natalie Plummer: I don't know if everyone knows how to do that.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Like well, and we will. We can. We'll talk about that in another. We want to talk about that.

Natalie Plummer: Yeah.

Natalie Plummer: It's just, um. Yeah. Birth control. I went to a specialist for my disease, and she said that because I'm a stage three, she's never once seen a stage three lipedema who was not on the on a pill on the birth control pill.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Who said that.

Natalie Plummer: This lipedema specialist, that every single person who was at stage three, she's never had one that had not had significant time on birth.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Control because. Oh yeah, because birth control.

Natalie Plummer: Changes with your hormones. And then. That's right. So and it's anyway so yeah. So now we're basically kind of starting from the beginning and like tackling the roots to all of it. And it's a lot. But it's also actually hopeful instead of just horribly I mean I, I feel like I'm a pretty confident person. Nobody can really be confident if they don't understand what's happening with their own body. So this is our meat suit. It's all we have.

Amber Warren, PA-C: And and not being I think that there's too many and we can get in this get into this in another episode too. But I think there's too many people walking around so unaware of their own body and unaware of the messages their body sends them. And that's that's a concern of mine to my favorite people to work with are people like you that are lit, are in tune and want to learn and want to know and know about your your. You know, I can't fix your genetic your genetic disease, but we can work with everything else around it and get you balanced and get you in tune with. Anything around it. So yeah, it's and kudos to you guys too for being willing to like do the work and make the sacrifice in your family and your time to, to do the work. I think that there's also so many people who just it sounds exotic. It sounds like a mountain that they can't climb to try and figure out their own health. Right. And to go see one more doctor or ask the right questions or do the research to figure out how to, you know, find someone like this or find anyone that will listen.

Shane Plummer: I think that that being overwhelmed is the barrier to entry. Like that is the hard for people to not have somebody in your corner to guide you, to tackle something that you don't understand. And, um, I made a comparison recently to working out. It's like getting off or getting back on the wagon and trying to live a healthy life and going to the gym. And, uh, you make the New Year's resolution, but it's so easy to just say, well, these are all the reasons why you can't do it. I don't have the equipment and I don't know what to do. I don't know the right exercises, and I don't know what I'm supposed to eat to help me do that. And eventually you talk yourself out of it. Yeah. Um, even taking the first step. And it's really great to have somebody to help you take not just the first step, but the subsequent steps to.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Well, I know I can speak for us as a group of providers and everyone you guys have worked with. We're honored to work with you. You guys are just such a fun, a fun, dynamic duo, and your personalities are just so fun. And I've learned so much, even just from you and your story. And just I mean, honestly, Natalie, you've taught me about trauma and how to approach patients with with trauma. Um, different different, you know, big t, little t, whatever that looks like. And I even think there needs to be a mini T in there. Honestly, I've started to think there needs to be mini T's by many. I mean, like very, very small, right? And not just.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Little when they when they. Yeah. Micro T when.

Natalie Plummer: They I mean that's what people don't see is those things happening. Don't realize when they, when they combine how much you're suffering because we just see trauma as this one huge explosive thing. But that's that's not what it is.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Shane Plummer: My final thought and I don't know where we are in the flow, but you said something about like, most people don't know that they are experiencing these negative things. I think that feeling poorly has become the norm for so many people. Um, most people don't know what it feels like to be not tired. I feel good. I didn't know what it felt like to be not tired, really. I didn't know what it felt like to not have a headache. Like I had a headache for years. Yeah, just I just thought that that was something that was normal, as you just kind of walked around with a level two headache most of the.

Shane Plummer: Days, unfortunately.

Amber Warren, PA-C: The standard has really been lowered. Yeah, I'm just feeling good day to day.

Shane Plummer: Don't know.

Shane Plummer: What it feels like to feel.

Natalie Plummer: Better. Yeah. And that's key.

Shane Plummer: Yeah, yeah. Just how crazy that is. We've normalized feeling poorly.

Amber Warren, PA-C: We've normalized and we've.

Natalie Plummer: Normalized feeling good with something to assist us too.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That's true.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Like I say it this way. And this might again be another topic for other podcasts. But like insomnia is not an Ambien deficiency. Depression is not an SSRI deficiency. Right? Diabetes is not a metformin deficiency. Let's let's let's dig here. We're really using the wrong tools to treat the wrong the wrong thing. So yeah, that's we can go off on that tangent. But I love that. And I think that's like a mic drop. Boom. Let's end it there. We've normalized feeling poor. And that's really sad because people life is so fleeting and I even think about that parenting our kids. I mean, you guys, you have probably I think you have a little bit older children than I do. How old are your kids?

Natalie Plummer: 18, 15 and ten. Yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: I thought I was like, I know you have at least two teenagers. Yeah, we.

Natalie Plummer: Actually have a 18 year old who's actually asking if she can come to you.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Oh, yay.

Natalie Plummer: It's it's kind of cool because she's kind of watching.

Natalie Plummer: She's hearing your story and she's.

Natalie Plummer: Like, hey, because she loves her, she loves her doctor, but she's like, I can I see that this I'm not getting what I need. And it was kind of cool because I was like, oh, if somebody had given me functional medicine as an 18 year.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Old, 18 year old, can you imagine? Can you imagine?

Shane Plummer: Yeah, she's 18 and she's just she says, I don't think I'm getting the care that I need.

Shane Plummer: I didn't realize until I was in my.

Shane Plummer: 30s I was.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Gonna say, she's wise.

Natalie Plummer: I didn't even know.

Natalie Plummer: You could ask for something more. So yeah, yeah, yeah.

Amber Warren, PA-C: That's awesome.

Shane Plummer: Anyway, thanks to you andd all your team for helping us. This has been a great journey.

Amber Warren, PA-C: It's definitely not me. It's our team. We're so blessed. We have really, really wonderful humans that we get to practice medicine with. So Shane and Natalie Plumber, thanks so much for your time.

Shane Plummer: Thank you.

Amber Warren, PA-C: Yeah. Thank you. Thank you for listening to the Functional Medicine Foundations podcast. For more information on topics covered today. Specialties available at the FMI center for Optimal Health and the highest Quality of supplements and more. Go to


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