Dr. Robin Stern: Welcome to the Gaslight Effect podcast. I'm Robin Stern, co-founder and associate director of the Yale Center For Emotional Intelligence and author of the bestselling book, The Gaslight Effect. I'm an educator and a psychoanalyst, but first and foremost, I'm a wife, a mother, a sister, aunt, and healer. And just like many of you, I was a victim of gaslighting. Please join me for each episode as I interview fascinating guests and explore the concept of gaslighting. You'll learn what it truly means to be gaslighted, how it feels, how to recognize it, and how to understand it, and ultimately how to get out of it.
Dr. Robin Stern: Before we begin, I want you to know that talking about gaslighting can bring up challenging and painful emotions. Give yourself permission to feel them. Some of you may wanna go more deeply with your emotions. While some of you may hold them more lightly, no matter what you're feeling, know that your emotions are a guide to your inner life. Your emotions are sacred and uniquely you respect and embrace them for they have information to give you. If you want to listen to other episodes of The Gaslight Effect Podcast, you can find firstname.lastname@example.org or wherever you listen to podcasts. Thank you for being here with me.
Dr. Robin Stern: Hello everyone, and welcome to this episode of the Gaslight Effect podcast. I'm thrilled today to have with me Tami Burdick, whose story will be very compelling for sure. So, Tami, I'm gonna ask you to begin by telling us your story, and then I have some questions for you because I know that right now in this world, it's important to be talking about gaslighting, not just in interpersonal relationships, in romantic relationships or in family relationships, but in medicine, in law, and every aspect of the culture we're living in. So with that as a kickoff, please tell us who you are, Tami, and why you said yes to being on The Gaslight Effect podcast.
Tami Burdick: Yeah, so first I want to thank you for the opportunity, um, to share my story and talk a little bit about my book today. So I most certainly appreciate that. Um, my name is Tami Burdick. I reside in Cincinnati, Ohio. Um, I have a pretty incredible story, um, a very involved journey actually that led me to now becoming known as the diagnosis detective with book of the same name. So how this all came about, um, happened several years ago. I embarked on a routine business trip as a freelance business consultant. Little did I know
Tami Burdick: And, uh, honestly, a self breast exam is what obviously, um, found those findings, and that prompted me to contact my primary care physician and relatively right away, um, I would say my primary care physician was able to see me and upon her, her clinical exam, um, she ordered a mammogram and ultrasound to be performed at the same time. And so those findings initially was suggestive of Birads five. So what does that mean? It's highly suspicious of breast cancer. And so while I think my medical team was preparing for me to have a breast cancer diagnosis, um, actually what it turned out to be would shock everyone. It was a condition called granulomatous mastitis. So what is that? It is a chronic inflammatory breast disease that is emerging across the world affecting women primarily, but it also in rare circumstances can affect men as well. And the, uh, disease can typically present as cancer at first. Um, you know, obviously that's what it looked like for me initially. Um, thankfully, obviously it wasn't cancer, but I had no idea what journey lied ahead for me with this condition. So I went for the biopsy, the corteal biopsy, and that's what actually diagnosed the GM, as we call it. And we would find out seven months later actually, that what caused that condition was an environmentally associated bacteria with an origin of water, sewer, and soil called corine bacterium crop and study.
Dr. Robin Stern: Wow. So Tami, first of all, thank you so much for being willing to share so personally with us. Um, this really important story, and I'm thinking as you're talking. Wow. So this is something environmentally caused that, uh, led to, to inflammation in your breast that was initially diagnosed as cancer.
Tami Burdick: They, they didn't diagnose it as cancer, but they were prepared for a breast cancer diagnosis based on preliminary results.
Dr. Robin Stern: Pretty scary, right? Still pretty scary. Well, I, to interrupt you, I just wanted to, to thank you to acknowledge, um, how meaningful it will be for our listeners to hear your, your important story.
Tami Burdick: Thank you. Um, I would say that one thing that resonated with me through this entire journey was a conversation that I had very early on with the radiologist who performed that core needle biopsy. And honestly, I really wasn't expecting him to say much to me. And I told him that I was prepared for a breast cancer diagnosis, and he said, why is that? And I said, my primary care physician had contacted me prior to this biopsy and requested I make an appointment with a surgical breast oncologist. So I don't know why, um, she would want me to make such an appointment if that's not really where the mindset was. And while he said this very well could be cancer, I'm not thinking that's what this is, but whatever this is, it's chronically inflamed and that's what you need to figure out why. And that conversation was my mission and my motivation through my entire journey. And honestly, that's kind of how the whole diagnosis detective came about. It was my mission to get answers to what was causing my condition, but when we found out what was causing it, my next mission was to determine where I contracted it.
Dr. Robin Stern: And when you were, uh, when you were told that you had this chronic inflammation, what was the, the disposition of people around you?
Tami Burdick: Are you meaning in the medical community or more so like people in my personal life?
Dr. Robin Stern: No. So, um, people in, of course people in your personal life, I would expect were supporting you and, and cheering you on to do what you needed to do to get well. I'm thinking about the medical community. Were they doing the same? Were they saying, I never heard of this. What do you mean it's caused by the environment? Um, what were they saying to you?
Tami Burdick: Yeah, so initially I had an appointment with a surgical breast oncologist. So I'm grateful
Tami Burdick: I would know what questions I need to ask, I would know more about the condition, and I came prepared to that appointment with a list of potential causes that I felt we should rule out. And the infectious disease specialist and I went through that list and through process of elimination, determined what seemed probable or possible and what seemed more so impossible,
Tami Burdick: She's like, you know, we could try two weeks of antibiotics if you want, but you don't have to if you don't want to. And was kind of like, I just really don't have anything to offer at this point. And that's when I kind of really didn't have that confidence in this individual and went back and expressed my feelings and concerns to the surgical breast oncologist because I would then be following up with her. And she's like, you, you don't have to go back to her if you don't want to. We can take your case together. And honestly, that was the best thing that I could have done. And her and I essentially teamed up in a partnership approach to my case, and though exhaustive, um, and and quite long, we would eventually get things figured out.
Dr. Robin Stern: I think that's wonderful, obviously wonderful that you found her, that, uh, she was willing to work with you. What, what led you to think that, wait a minute, this other doctor's opinion is just not good enough. Um, I'm not, I'm not buying it. I'm not stopping because of it. How did you make that call and
Tami Burdick: Yeah, so, you know, I definitely followed my instinct and I would say a woman's intuition alone is extremely powerful and, and not just when it comes to our health, but many other circumstances in life. Um, you know, it really stems back to the conversation that I had with that radiologist. You know, like I said early on, that was my mission and my motivation, and that really gave me the drive and the hope that I was going to be cured of this disease. My symptoms alone were enough to signal and tell me something is terribly wrong here. It is not normal by any means to have your breasts start developing painful abscesses that would cause swelling and leak blood and plus like fluid. So I, I knew just even based on, oh, it is awful, and it is a very deforming disease, women with this condition are left with a breast that looks nothing like what it used to. I mean, me personally, I'm left with two scars and I call those scars my warrior wounds to remind me every single day as I look in the mirror and they're there, that I need to keep being the voice to this disease and keep sharing my story in hopes that someday I'm going to help many others.
Dr. Robin Stern: I have no doubt that you will. And how generous of you to, to be willing to share your story so personally to help others. Were you, when you were, um, going through this before you had a partner to, uh, partner detective, but I'm, I'm wondering if you were feeling put off or disregarded or, um, because you were a woman complaining about something that was about women that you weren't taken seriously enough, even by women, um, to keep going?
Tami Burdick: I mean, I, I just, you know, kind of as we were touching, you know, just a moment ago, I I, I kind of just knew something was wrong. Um, you know, the conversation with the radiologist, the symptoms that I was having, the finding in the original biopsy showing something was there, and I just didn't have that good feeling about that infectious disease specialist. Something was telling me that I need to be moving on and looking elsewhere, and I didn't have any interest in returning to that individual.
Dr. Robin Stern: So you didn't fall prey then to a possible gaslighting situation. And I think that's so important because number one, um, way to free yourself or stop gaslighting is to trust yourself to listen to your own instincts. And you did, you did, when somebody was trying to tell you, no, this is not something you were saying, this is something,
Tami Burdick: It definitely had to be something I, I knew what I had was not normal by any means. And you know, it was only in one breast too. And granted, I mean, you can get cancer in and one breast and not both, but I just, I just knew deep down inside that this was not normal by any means, and there's something that had to be causing this.
Dr. Robin Stern: Do you think that the medical professionals who didn't act on that or didn't, uh, join you in your detective, um, pursuit were intentionally dismissing you because they didn't believe you or they just really thought there was nothing wrong?
Tami Burdick: I kind of look at my situation in particular as being, um, not necessarily experiencing like gaslighting, but more of kind of a dismissal. You know, the biopsy result was dismissed. Um, and so I I I really kind of look at more of like dismissal of symptoms versus, you know, quote unquote true medical gaslighting.
Dr. Robin Stern: Yeah, I mean, it sounds like, um, the gas lighting was avoided because it would've been you gaslighting yourself at the hands of the uncertain medical community, right? Or uninformed medical community. They weren't out to tell you there was something wrong with you. But often when we hear from our doctors, there's nothing wrong with you, or we can't find it and it must be X, Y, z or we really believe it's X, Y, z, you the patient, or we, the patients think, okay, well, they know best. They, um, there must be something wrong with me, like other cases I've talked to or other people I've talked to where in their particular case, they began to second guess themselves and think, well, there's something wrong with me that I, my pain tolerance is not greater, or there's something wrong with me that, uh, you know, I must be doing something that is causing this. If there's no physical or medical condition,
Tami Burdick: We definitely need to feel kind of, you know, empowered. Um, and I think that a lot of patients kind of struggle with that. Um, there's probably a multitude of of reasons why, um, you know, but it's our bodies, our health and doctors took an oath to do no harm. So in my eyes, there should never be question as to why a doctor wouldn't do their due diligence at getting both answers and solutions for their patients. But unfortunately, it happens. And, you know, nowadays it's like we go to the doctor and sometimes we're feeling like it's almost visiting a factory. Um, you know, we, we don't really have that individualized care anymore. And perhaps doctors are tired of that too. Maybe it's the stress of their networks, because at the end of the day, they're a business. Maybe it's too many patients and not enough time.
Tami Burdick: Perhaps it's the pandemic or a combination of all of them, but still, it's no excuse and something needs to change and no one likes going to the doctor. Um, but we shouldn't fear going and they put their pants on just like we do, and we put our faith in them that they're the experts. So they should be stepping up and proving that. And I don't know, or, you know, let's just see what's kind of acceptable. Right? And really what is acceptable at the end of the day is doctors need to be doing their due diligence and following the oath to do no harm. And the only way we can do that is doing every test that we can to get the answers that we need to get the right treatment to cure the patient.
Dr. Robin Stern: I love that. Tami, can you say that again? That's so important for people to hear.
Dr. Robin Stern: Give it a try. So doctors need to be following their oath to do the best they can.
Tami Burdick: Yeah. You know, they, they need to follow their oath to do their due diligence, to do the right testing, to get the right answers, to get the right treatment, to be able to cure the patient.
Dr. Robin Stern: Yes. And, and to, to add to that, believe the patient when they tell you this, this doesn't feel right,
Tami Burdick: We're the ones living in this body, you know, 24/7.
Dr. Robin Stern: As we were opening this episode today, you mentioned that you have other experience with gaslighting to pivot away from your medical experience right now. Um, but perhaps related, can you share that other experience you were talking about?
Tami Burdick: Yeah, I mean, you know, sure. There have been times where I have felt, you know, being gaslit by doctors. I've actually switched networks. And I would say overall, now I'm more competent in the care that I receive. You know, is it perfect? No. Um, is it better? Absolutely. Um, you know, however, in the case of gm, I, like I said earlier, I felt it was more of a dismissal of my symptoms and findings than true medical gaslighting. Um, but my entire family has actually been affected very recently by true gaslighting. Um, my father had a stroke last year, and luckily I was at my mom and dad's house when this was happening, and I called 9 1 1 and he was able to get the drug t p a, so his recovery was a lot easier for many other individuals that experienced strokes. However, the hospital during his weeks stay after that stroke, before having to go to rehabilitation, um, they never once sat down with my mother and I and explained everything that's been going on, what they believe, you know, has happened and what the plans are.
Tami Burdick: And they were getting ready to release him from the hospital. And my mom and I were still in limbo. And I literally called that hospital and I said, you are not to release my father until a medical professional. A doctor contacts my mother and I, and actually has a conversation so that we know what in the world is going on here, what is causing all of this. Mm-hmm.
Dr. Robin Stern: Wow.
Tami Burdick: And I knew it was his heart. I I knew it. He had symptoms before it happened. He had a family history. And so because he was going to need to see a cardiologist after rehabilitation, I contacted one even before he got out, we had a virtual appointment in the rehabilitation with the cardiologist. And I'm like, listen, I know I'm not a doctor, I'm a medical author. Um, but I need you to trust me here. I need you to trust what I'm saying, that I know that there's something wrong with his heart. And luckily, again, um, you know, I'm presented with a amazing cardiologist, and we proved I was right. Um, my dad ended up having to have a heart procedure done in February. And what's sad about this situation is the hospital had the opportunity to do the test that this cardiologist did to get the answers, and they didn't.
Tami Burdick: Well, and then my mother has been having ongoing chronic daily headaches that have been debilitating affecting her quality of life. And it took four doctors. And the last one was with the referral for a neurologist that I went with her to the appointment and he said, I think you have headache syndrome. And I'm cringing in my seat knowing, knowing that this is not some headache syndrome. And I looked him straight in the eye and I said, listen, no one should be having headaches like she does every single day of her life that are worsening. They've tried X, Y, Z, nothing's helped. This is not normal. And our goal of today's appointment was to finally get imaging. You can't sit here and say you're confident that there's nothing wrong with her brain unless you can prove that. So he had the nerve to say, I will go ahead and do imaging just to give you both peace of mind.
Tami Burdick: Well, the diagnosis detective was right again, she had a brain tumor and intracranial hypertension and not headache syndrome. And then my uncle is going through medical gaslighting as we are speaking right now. He broke out in this vivid bright red rash that caused his foot and ankle and his leg to swell, and it started in his foot and started moving all the way up his leg close to his thigh. He went to urgent care. They're like, you have cellulitis, here's some antibiotics. It didn't improve. It kept getting worse. He went to the emergency room and they're like, you have cellulitis. So he went away, he started taking antibiotics again, conditioned not improving. He went back to the emergency room, they admitted him. They're like, you have cellulitis. But then they're like, they put 'em on IV antibiotics, and they're like, Hmm, we just think it's a rash. And they're releasing him today without having done any sort of biopsy whatsoever. And as That's so
Dr. Robin Stern: Scary. Does he feel better, or does he, is he
Tami Burdick: The, the same? No. Yeah, he, he still has this quote unquote rash that they're trying to claim that he has. And he said, well, what happens if I don't get better? They're just gonna put 'em on some steroids now. Well, he's like, what happens if I don't get better? And this starts, you know, getting worse again? And they're like, just go to your primary care physician next time, and you'll get a referral to a dermatologist and they'll probably do a biopsy. And you know, here I'm thinking, you know, with everything that I went through, the delay in testing ultimately affected everything that I had to go through. And I told my uncle about the test that they finally did on me that gave us the answers we needed. My uncle showed the text that I had sent to the doctor in the emergency room, and the doctor said, we don't do that here. So he's being released from the hospital today, and I'm pretty sure that once he's tapered off antibiotic in a, or steroids, I should say, that things are gonna be monstrous again.
Dr. Robin Stern: Tami, this is so scary to listen.
Tami Burdick: Yes. And that's what leads me to think like, how is this happening? You know, my dad, my mom, my uncle, like, is there a common denominator here? And I'm like, you know what? There is, they're all on Medicare. They're all of elder age. And so I start doing a little research and come across ageism, and it's actually, uh, discrimination that's happening in the healthcare community. And, you know, what is ageism? It's when people are discriminated against being older, basically
Dr. Robin Stern: Translated into what we're talking about, which is patient advocacy and doctor cooperation with that. People are not willing to cooperate with these patients. I hear you saying because what's the point? They're older or they don't know as much. What, what are you saying?
Tami Burdick: Yeah, I mean, it, it's almost, you know, my, my mom even says she feels just because they're older that maybe the doctors just don't care as much. Oh, you know, maybe they're, this is just her saying how she feels right to, to me, she's like, maybe the doctors just don't care because we're older. You know, we're gonna die in probably a few years anyway. Maybe she's like, it's because we're on Medicare and they don't care. She doesn't really know, but she says she just feels because of her age that she just doesn't get treated like she used two years ago.
Dr. Robin Stern: That's so sad and so unfortunate. And I'm sure in cases, so true. I don't know the particular people you're talking about, and we don't know, we can't get into their minds to know what they're thinking. But certainly it's not the first time somebody's complained about ageism, feeling like they're red. People are ready to discard them. Don't take them quite as seriously, don't feel that they're up on the, the same information. So they don't have to be as detailed, they don't have to be as persistent, but whatever the reason to not take somebody seriously when, as you said, it's their body, they're living in it, they're experiencing the symptoms, and the symptoms are not being alleviated by the treatment that the doctor is initially giving. It's very, it's sad and scary.
Tami Burdick: Yeah. I mean, if the doctor would've told me that they don't do that here, I'd be like, okay, well, I guess you're gonna have to find a medical network that does, and you're gonna have to move me there. And if they would've told me that I have a quote unquote rash, I'd be like, okay, I wanna know what the rash is, so guess what? You're gonna have to do a biopsy so that you can tell me that. And I have no hesitation whatsoever. That's exactly what I would do. I wouldn't even hesitate
Dr. Robin Stern: I, I was just gonna ask you the question, um, of what would, what advice would you give your younger self? What advice would you give people listening? Um, as you talk so vehemently about, and passionately about patient advocacy and the importance of it, you are advocating, but if you don't have people listening to you, you can continue to advocate and continue to advocate. And depending on the network you're in, you may or may not get heard, but hopefully you will, you'll keep going after it, and you will eventually have someone to listen to you who will act on that. What advice would you have given your younger self, and how, what advice do you have for others in similar situations?
Tami Burdick: When I look back, kind of just in general, like my younger self, um, I would say that I certainly would do a lot of things differently now. Um, I'm definitely more of a spectator now than I once was previously when it comes to certain activities that may predispose me to contracting GM again. I certainly don't do mud races, though I wouldn't regardless. Um, I don't even swim in public pools. And actually Inside Edition did a story on bacteria in a segment they did from testing water in Las Vegas pools. And honestly, the results were alarming, to say the least. And, you know, I'll get on a boat, but I'm not gonna get in the water. I'll go to the beach, but I'm not getting in the ocean. You know, obviously everything that I went through, I now know the dangers of our environment that many others probably take for granted.
Tami Burdick: Um, I wish I can go back in time though, and, and live my life differently, making different decisions on how I went about living my everyday life, like my diet. Um, for one, I've made a lot of changes these past few years for sure. It's never too late to start. Um, but our bodies are capable of healing if we give it the right conditions to do so. And I would say now I live more of an anti-inflammatory life, um, which includes my diet products that I use or that I clean with being environmentally aware of certain risk factors. So striving to eliminate and avoid as many toxins as I can. And though those toxins are definitely everywhere, I mean, look at pesticides for examples. Um, there's over 57,000 sites in the United States where pfas have been detected in our waters. That's scary. Um, so I now have a, I have a shower filter. Um, I never drink water directly from the tap. I minimize my exposures to emf. So I wish I would've lived more cautiously and respons, uh, responsibly, um, sooner. But, um, we don't know what we don't know.
Dr. Robin Stern: We don't know what we don't know, but when we know it, we can certainly share it with the medical community so that if they, if if doctors are looking for something that they can't seem defined or looking to confirm a diagnosis and can't confirm it, or at least rule things out, and then they do, and they still don't know what's going on, maybe it's something that is not coming from your body or a disease, but rather from the environment. Something that, that I think a lot of people will take away from this, this episode. It's really incredible that you had symptoms that were looked like perhaps breast cancer, but it was something from the environment.
Tami Burdick: Yeah. And I think a lot of doctors failed to think outside the box or really kind of be like that detective like I was and asking the patient the right questions. When did you first notice symptoms? You know, did you move, did you travel anywhere? Have you been in any, you know, lakes or pools or any, I mean, if they start asking questions, just if you were, you know, a, a detective in the police academy or something
Dr. Robin Stern: Well, your story is a current Erin Brockovich story.
Tami Burdick: Yeah, it's quite similar
Dr. Robin Stern: Wow, that's incredible. That's really incredible. Well, I thank you so much for this fascinating and um, really deeply personal story. What would you like to say to others? Or is there more you'd like to share with us about what others can do?
Tami Burdick: Certainly. Um, I would say the advocacy is essential, especially in today's modern world. Um, I kind of designed my a list to advocacy, um, which is act, assemble, ask, acquire and apply. So act meaning educate yourself on the diagnosis, the what, the how, the why, and execute a plan, assemble your aam. So in my case, it was working with the surgical breast oncologist as well as a functional medicine practitioner. And what was very admirable about my surgical breast oncologist is her willingness to team up with that functional medicine practitioner and then ask. So don't be afraid to speak up and ask your doctor questions to run a test or present them with your own research. And my doctor even shared a quote in my book that kind of touches on that part of my a-list for advocacy. She said that Tami did a lot of research to educate herself about her disease and the treatments with my busy clinic load.
Tami Burdick: I could have never have put in the time and effort that she dedicated to finding answers. It sounds cliche. However, what I learned from helping Tami, I now carry forward to other patients with more confidence and insight to the disease process than I had prior to knowing her. I couldn't have helped her if I hadn't worked with her. I learned an immense amount from her. And then acquire your support. So, you know, for me it was seeking out a support group. Um, and really the the best people to get your information from are the ones that are going through it themselves. And then lastly, apply your intuition and be persistent. You know, I knew something was wrong and I certainly was persistent in getting answers. And no one knows their body better than they do, and no one is gonna be a better advocate for themselves than they are.
Dr. Robin Stern: Tami, what, what would you advise people to help them to hold on to their perception of things? To their sense that there is something wrong when a doctor is telling them, maybe not. When a doctor is telling them, go home, you'll be okay. Or, I think this is something other than what you, the patient think.
Tami Burdick: I mean, if I were in that position and a doctor just told me that, I would say, well, that's unfortunate, and I don't know if you're not listening to me or you're not fully understanding what I'm telling you. Um, but what I need you to do before I leave this appointment today is put in our chart notes from today's visit that I requested X, Y, Z, or I said X, Y, Z. Because if I am gonna go get a second opinion, which in this case I am, um, I want it noted that that doctor had an opportunity to help me and they chose not to.
Dr. Robin Stern: Yes. And what would you say you learned as a younger person that allows you to feel so fiercely strong about your, um, conviction?
Tami Burdick: I, I wanna go into a doctor's appointment and I want the doctor to be scared that the diagnosis detective is in their office or their exam room. I want them to realize that this woman is going to have high expectations and I better meet those because I don't wanna end up like the infectious disease specialist that she once saw. And that is now being essentially eloquently though called out in her book because one thing, if there's anything to learn from this entire experience, and this is me telling the medical community, you never know when a patient is gonna come through your doors or end up in your exam room that you one day are going to end up on a TV interview being discussed from your patient, or maybe they're gonna write a book or they're gonna have a blog, or they're going to contribute to a New York Times article like I did. Always keep that in the back of your mind. And if a doctor keeps that in the back of their mind that they have no idea what this patient may be capable of, have that mindset and do your due diligence to do everything you can to help that patient. And then one day maybe they'll end up like Dr. Kelly McLean where the patient has nothing but amazing, wonderful things to say about that Doctor, if Yes,
Dr. Robin Stern: One more question. Yeah. Have you always been an advocate for yourself? How did you learn to do it?
Dr. Robin Stern: Sam, that's pretty, that's great. Thank you. And obviously you have a very strong connection to your inner voice, to your inner truth, and that fueled by the being shuffled from one doctor to another, to another, to another, which you say fueled your fire. Right. Um, is, sounds like really, was it the perfect launch, Tami, one thing that's really striking about your story is that you had a gut feeling there was something wrong, but you didn't stop there. You actually took action. Often when you have a gut feeling there's something wrong, but you're in a power dynamic with a doctor and he counters that gut feeling by saying either you just need more rest. You have a low tolerance for pain. This is, we don't know what this is, but uh, take this pill and it will go away. Um, but you took action. That's really incredible. What was the catalyst for your taking action? How did you move from I feel like there's something wrong to taking action on your own, because many people get stuck there. And what happens when you get stuck there for too long, you may end up second guessing yourself,
Tami Burdick: You know? So for me, it really stems back to, first is my intuition. Obviously I knew something was wrong, you know, based on what the radiologist told me, based on my symptoms. Um, and based on the original result from that first biopsy, to me, I felt we had enough there for me to kind of pursue this intuition, you know, that this inner voice was telling me, Hey,
Dr. Robin Stern: What I really love about what you're saying, Tami, is that you're not saying the doctor's crazy. He's out to gaslight you. You are, you are saying doctors are human and or I hear you saying that anyway, they're human. Sometimes they make a mistake, sometimes they will dismiss you. Sometimes they're out to, um, uh, sometimes what they say leads you to second guess yourself. But if you focus on what you know and not on what they don't, if you walk away feeling like, this is not right, this is not good enough for me. I know there's something wrong. Even if some, even if the doctor is telling you, I don't see anything, this is, you are making it up. Um, you know, something else, you keep going.
Tami Burdick: Yeah. I've even had women reach out to me and say, I actually took information from your book directly to my doctor. I had a woman just this week message me and said, I learned so much, you know, from your book and your interviews. And I felt more confident to be able to advocate for myself. And I actually asked to be on antibiotics longer to get me through to my next doctor's appointment. And she was actually able to get the antibiotic extended.
Dr. Robin Stern: You know, Tami, um, years ago, I mean, this is a, a a small example compared to what you shared, but it was after, um, one of my children was born and I, uh, was not feeling well. I was completely exhausted. And I called my, um, obstetrician and I said, I'm really completely exhausted and I, I know there's something wrong with me. And he said, you're just stressed, honey. And on those days, your doctor could call you honey and get away with it.
Dr. Robin Stern: Really lower your stress level. Have a drink tonight, maybe have two, and then call me the next day. Well, it turned out that, um, I did trust myself and I said, this is not okay. I feel like I need a hospital and I'm not, I'm just not getting better. And I went into another doctor and had a blood test, and it turned out that, uh, oh, maybe I didn't even need to do that. I walked in and by that time, my eyes were yellow because I had had some kind of hepatitis, um, response to a drug that my original doctor had given me for a urinary tract infection six weeks before that. And so, of course, having liquor, having, um, taking a drink just made my symptoms worse. Um, but I had the presence of mind to know that I just was feeling like a dish rag, and I just horrible and head achy. And, and, uh, in that case, I, I felt a little bit like what we were talking about earlier. Not that it was ageism, but that it was sexism. I'm a woman, I was complaining and, um, go home and have a drink, honey, you're too stressed. But it didn't matter to me. And I guess that's the point that we're both making. No matter what the advice or the commentary from your doctor, if you know there's something wrong, it's your body, it's your life. You keep going until you find the answer.
Tami Burdick: Yeah. My, uh, sorry, you actually had to go through that, and I'm glad you were able to find the answers. And my primary care physician doesn't call me honey, but he calls me the diagnosis detective, and I think it's so cute.
Dr. Robin Stern: Much better label. Well, my, my obstetrician sadly passed away, so he won't be insulted that I'm telling you
Dr. Robin Stern: But, um, he was very caring and he was, uh, really a great guy and delivered two healthy children for me. So I have no bad feelings about him, but at that moment, he was caught up in his idea of who I was, what pregnant women were all about, what moms were all about, and I needed to take it into my own hands. So thank you for your kind words. I'm really, I was fine then and I'm fine now, but, um, I wouldn't have been fine if I had just continued to take drinks every night.
Tami Burdick: Yeah. And you know, it's like my doctor said, you know, she just had such a busy clinical load that she just didn't have the time to invest and do the research that was needed for us to get the answers. And, you know, it was very humble, um, and admirable for her to share that quote in my book. And that, you know, again, makes her even more amazing than she already is. We need more Dr. Kelly McLean's in this world for sure. I wish she could be granted I'd love my primary care physician, um, but I wish she could be my everything, doctor
Dr. Robin Stern: We definitely need more Kelly McLean's in this world. Yeah. And we need doctors to be in a mindset that patients are your collaborators. You know, they're not, um, uh, it's not that you are in charge of their body, it's that they, you need to collaborate with them. You are their collaborators too. And as a team, you're gonna figure it out. Because if you don't hear from your patient, if they're not telling you how you feel, how they feel, and they're not complaining and they're not saying, yes, this is helping, or this is not helping, you're not getting the feedback you need as a medical professional. And if you're not willing to work with them because you're too busy, ask them to do it on their own in, but in the way that you were asked, can you help with this? Can you check it out? Thank you for teaching me.
Tami Burdick: And, you know, the, the whole time thing, you know, that's what makes me suspicious, you know, are these medical networks putting too much pressure on our doctors in the medical community? I mean, if they don't have the time, that should be like, red flag, there's a problem here. Then we need to find a way to make time. You know, maybe instead of a 15 minute appointment, we have a half hour appointment with a 15 minute window where they can actually look at the patient's case outside of the actual exam room. Something needs to change. That's for sure.
Dr. Robin Stern: Really good point. So what's changing for you this year? Thank you for giving me that segue. Um, you are moving forward with your book, with your advocacy, um, with being a healer and helper to those people who reach out to you as a result of your being willing to generously tell your story. What are you excited about going forward?
Tami Burdick: Yeah, so I've actually been, um, helping doctors, um, now and, and not only patients, um, I was contacted by a practice actually in Argentina, um, who has, has come across my work on social media. Um, we've had a, a zoom call and, and we keep in touch and just this one isolated practice alone in Argentina has seen 60 cases of this. And he has told me just with working with me, um, he is being more intuitive and trying to find out from their patients where they may be being exposed to the same bacteria I had, because they're seeing a lot of their cases in that area resulting the same cort bacterium crop in study. Um, and I did a, another podcast, the, the Breast of Everything, and that, um, specialist that owns and, and operates that, that podcast actually purchased my book and it was very valuable to her as well.
Tami Burdick: But, you know, I still continue to do interviews on my story, um, and my book, and I'm even scheduled into next year for more PR and advocacy work. Um, I actually have planned a sequel to my book, um, that will be actually more of a work in progress because it will be, um, a project during my free time, which for owning my own virtual franchise in the health and wellness space, and being a chief operating officer for the City Sweats franchising organization, and as well as a freelance business consultant, it really doesn't allow too much time, um, to work on that project. But my next book is gonna focus more on gaslighting and what as patients needs to be changed in the medical community. I'm going to discuss a lot of specific diseases like strokes, um, endometriosis, which I actually was unfortunately diagnosed with, um, last year. Um, talk about different skin infections and the importance of looking for root causes. And I'll discuss the frustrations from those as patients themselves and how other medicine practices are going to be important in today's modern world and changes to the way that conventionally managed care needs to be.
Dr. Robin Stern: I think that's gonna be really important and I look forward to, and hopefully we can have some conversations about gaslighting, um, that, uh, will be helpful for you. I think the potentiality of gaslighting in the medical situations that we've talked about and others is, is huge. And sadly, because of the power dynamic, we often end up gaslighting ourselves. And that is something that definitely trusting ourselves can help us put a, put a stop to put a limit on. So I thank you so much, Tami, for coming on this podcast for, for, as I said earlier and say again, um, generously sharing your story with so many who no doubt will learn from you and empathize with you, and, uh, be grateful to have had this time with you. So thank you very much and
Tami Burdick: Thank you for having me today. For sure.
Dr. Robin Stern: My pleasure. Truly thank you all for listening to Tami Burdick today. Look for her book, the Diagnosis Detective, and we look forward Tami, to having you back to talk about your next book in progress or in publication. And thank you all for joining us for this episode of The Gaslight Effect podcast. Thanks for joining me for today's episode. I hope you found it helpful and meaningful. If you want to listen to other episodes of The Gaslight Effect podcast, you can find them at robinstern.com or wherever you listen to podcasts. And please leave a rating and a review. I also invite you to follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter. This podcast is produced by Mel Yellen, Ryan Changcoco, Mike Lens, and me. The podcast is supported by Gabby caoagas and Solar Kangi, all of my work and my upcoming book is supported by Suzen Pettit, Marcus Estevez and Omaginarium, also by Sally McCarton and Jackie Daniels. I'm so grateful to have many people supporting me and especially grateful for all of you. My listeners is.