fresh oregano

Root Member Story: Tom

Tom's journey with Root began after a frustrating annual physical that left him with little clarity and unexpected medical bills. Experiencing fatigue, weight gain, and digestive issues, Tom turned to Root after hearing about functional medicine from a co-worker.  


For his annual physical, he had carved out the time to make the appointment, drive in, find parking in the garage down the road, sit in the waiting room for 30 minutes and then wait again in the small, cold, windowless room. He filled out a page of paper of symptoms only to have two more people ask him the same questions before his doctor bounded through the door with minimal eye contact.

His doctor briefly looked up at home while typing away on his computer, clicking a bunch of boxes and repeating yet again their agenda for the visit. Finally, Tom got to tell his doctor the real reason he scheduled the visit. His wife thought it was a good idea to have “things checked” as he seemed to be slowing down a bit and not acting like his usual energetic self. 

Tom admitted he didn’t have the energy he had a couple of years ago; he had gained a few pounds in the mid section, and his digestion just seemed a bit off - sometimes it was slow and bloating, sometimes he had loose stools, and occasional heartburn.

His doctor said, well, your screening colonoscopy was normal last year and your labs are fine. Tom’s doctor then proceeded to prod his belly a couple of times to nothing revealed. 

Tom asked what labs were checked and was told that his insurance would only pay for a blood sugar and cholesterol panel as part of his screening lab tests. Tom asked for a more thorough evaluation so a CBC, CMP and TSH were added (not even a full lab evaluation of his thyroid). His doctor warned him if we did anything else, he’d likely end up with a huge lab bill

He told Tom to try “changing his diet” with no explanation or guidance as to what that meant. He was given a script for an acid reflux medication (a PPI), with no indication of how long he should be taking it. Tom walked up to the check-out desk more defeated than when he came in and was handed a printout with his vitals and an attached generic “low fodmap” diet handout without any meal ideas or reasons for why this was recommended. Needless to say, he did not have the tools to try this diet.

A couple of weeks later, Tom ended up with a couple surprise bills from his doctor’s office for add-ons from his physical for $300 and $600 for his “normal” labs (all things he thought his insurance would cover), an unfilled prescription, and zero diet or lifestyle changes implemented. But the worst part of the whole experience was that he wasted a month, still had no answers and didn’t feel any better. He called back to his doctor’s office and was offered a referral to a GI doctor who had an 8 month wait for an appointment.

Enter Root

Tom knew that he did not have to continue to struggle without answers because he had heard about functional medicine via a co-worker. He sought out Root because we were a team of MD/DOs who could help him come to a medical diagnosis if that existed (or rule one out) and dietitians who could actually coach him through personalized diet changes for his condition. 

Initial 3 months:

In his first lab panel with Root we found out that Tom not only had hypothyroidism missed on his conventional lab panel, but he also had Hashimoto’s Disease (an autoimmune attack on his thyroid). His doctor and dietitian explained that this type of condition typically originates in the gut where the majority of antibodies are made. It was no coincidence that he was also having gastrointestinal issues.

Because Tom’s day to day life was affected by low thyroid hormone, his Root doctor immediately sent in a thyroid hormone replacement medication so that he could start regaining the energy to tackle root causes. His dietitian helped him balance his blood sugar through the patented Root Plate ™  method, which improved his afternoon energy within a few days.

A functional stool test was recommended to assess his microbiome, as a likely root cause of intestinal permeability and the formation of thyroid antibodies. 

His stool test did reveal an imbalanced microbiome, H pylori (a root cause of his heartburn), and antibodies to wheat (gluten sensitivity is very common with Hashimoto’s). 

Figures 1: A snapshot of Tom's functional stool test results
h pylori sample report
immune response results

Month 3-6

Over the next 12 weeks, his Root doctor and dietitian guided him through a tailored gut healing program specific to his test results and conditions. We had to remove the H. pylori, calm strains of overgrowth, repopulate the beneficial bacteria and help to heal the leaky junctions of his gut.

Month 6+ 

In month 6, on retesting, his thyroid antibody level was down to normal. His autoimmune process had been reversed through personalized gut healing, guided nutrition changes, supplementation, stress reduction and support. His digestive issues were also resolved. Tom’s wife noticed his energy had returned and he was more present at home after work.

Month 9-12

Tom worked closely with his doctor to wean off the thyroid medication since root causes were treated early enough to avoid more permanent damage to his thyroid. His dietitian helped him maintain a strict gluten-free diet while expanding his diet to support a diverse microbiome. 

Month 12+

Tom does not want to go back to that conventional medicine experience ever again without the support of his Root Functional Medicine team.

By the way, he was able to cancel that GI appointment and likely avoid another expensive, invasive colonoscopy as his symptoms had resolved before the appointment was even available. 

He’ll continue to order advanced testing at transparent prices, empowering him to always stay in charge of his healthspan while saving him thousands of dollars in surprise bills. And, since Root visits start on time and in the comfort of his own home, he’ll spend a lot less time waiting in exam rooms.

Tom’s story is not unique. We’ve had thousands of similar cases at Root. 

Are you the next person to finally stop the run around, get answers and an actionable plan to feel better fast and sustain that feeling? Apply to work with the Root team now. 

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