Consider This

Words are living things. We always create what we speak.


This time away from Pediatric Center has been an amazing, revelatory time for me. I realize how much I needed this time away from the busyness to help me clarify my purpose and who I now am. I am not the same person I was when I entered the medical profession 34 years ago. First of all, I am obviously older, more mature, and currently jam-packed with an enormous amount of knowledge, experience, and wisdom—all of which I learned from my interaction with patients and their parents. Some of these encounters ranged from emergencies with physical and mental illness, family disruption or dissolution, emotional distress from the loss of a family member, or frustration when all the dreams they had for themselves and their children never materialized, and when educational expectations were not attained. Many of the most powerful lessons learned came from routine daily interactions with my patients.

I will also be eternally grateful for the sympathy and empathy I received over the years from my patients. I felt physically drained 90 percent of the time but I learned to push through the pain and do what needed to be done—depending totally on the Father to give me what I needed every day. I resolved that I would not make excuses; instead that I would simply be authentic and as transparent as I expected my patients to be with me. What I received in turn was great compassion, acceptance, and understanding. I will be forever grateful for times when mothers who were struggling with their own children’s needs would stop and ask, “And how are you doing, Dr. Collins?” Those moments literally brought tears to my eyes—they still do. I remember the times when children would hug me (even with runny noses and coughs) because they wanted to thank me for not hurting them. One child was so grateful that he did not have to go to the lab that he looked at me intently and graciously declared, “You deserve a sticker, Dr. Collins!” I also fondly remember times when children would be so angry with me when I did inflict unavoidable pain on them they said things similar to what one little girl blurted out, “Dr. Collins—Cruella Deville!” I loved the feeling of the spontaneous laughter that erupted from me in each instance.

What these children do not realize is how much they healed and restored my soul when they brought laughter and love into my day. There were times these things happened when I may have just come out of a room where I had to tell a parent their child had a terminal illness. I also remember the time I was served with a frivolous malpractice lawsuit that eventually lasted for seven and a half years. I would not settle because I knew I had done nothing wrong, and I learned invaluable lessons from that experience. My patients were a large part of the lessons I learned because they forced me to continue to live my life even in the midst of pain.

I will be forever grateful to my husband who envisioned what would happen in the future if we continued living at the hectic pace we were living and decreed that he needed to stay home and care for our children and me. This role was not one that men assumed at the time and he received words of condemnation from extended family members and other men. But he was still firm to his convictions.

I had to learn how to protect my body and mind from the stress of physical and emotional assault in order to ensure that I would be there for my family. In the process of researching these things, I began to think about how to help my patients and their families protect themselves. Every time I learned something new, I shared it with my patients. I began to see improvements in their health and their ability to withstand illness and stress. Many of these things were unconventional and not studied completely. However, nothing I recommended was harmful and my family and I were the guinea pigs. I never recommended anything I would not use on my own children or on myself.

I have now seen preventative treatments that I began using 30 years ago come to the forefront in the news and at times even seen one or two of these approaches (probiotics and vitamin D) adopted in conventional medicine. What I found out in the process was that patients (consciously and subconsciously) were coming to see me and recommending me to others because I took more of an unconventional approach to healing.

Conventional medicine in general does not embrace any approaches and methods not thoroughly tested and retested—and that is absolutely necessary for those approaches that have the potential to be harmful. But the lifestyle changes and approaches that are needed to prevent chronic illness and restore health are generally not harmful. Conventional medicine is best when it comes to providing acute care (acute illness, accidents, and other devastating emergencies). If I am in a car accident, please do not take me to an herbalist. But I do not believe we have helped people prevent or conquer conditions such as obesity, mental illness, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. Therefore, I felt I had to leave pediatrics.

Many of you have been asking what I am going to do and where I am going. Most of you are looking for me to open my own practice and begin doing what I was doing before. And at one point, I thought that was what I would do. But time has helped me clarify my mission. I do not want to do just what I was doing before. Although it would be more lucrative for me to do so, I have another purpose now. I still do not know HOW it will look. But in this time off, I have been able to help several people identify what their underlying health issues are and come up with a plan of action to help them begin their process of healing. And I find that I love doing that. In many cases, I have worked hard and not always been financially remunerated but I have learned a lot throughout this process and cannot put a dollar figure on the value of these lessons.

So what am I going to do? I recently wrote my Mission Statement: To collaborate with patients by utilizing both conventional and complementary investigational approaches in order to accurately diagnose the underlying, sometimes hidden, cause of their symptoms, then formulate a plan of treatment for full restoration and healing.

Therefore, I will not return to the practice of medicine I engaged in for the past several years. I will not be filling the role of a primary care physician. All patients will need to continue to retain a primary care physician—one who can respond to immediate and acute medical needs and treat their medical conditions.

I will be available on a consulting basis for both adult and pediatric patients who desire my guidance to help them uncover the cause of chronic symptoms. I will also be available to give positive guidance and direction to those patients interested in what they can do to maintain health and prevent illness.

The Business Exchange Center is a wonderful location for me to do consulting work with adults. I will continue to have a presence there. In addition to that, Dr. Calla Kleene, a Chiropractic Doctor here in Cedar Rapids, has graciously offered me her space to use on her day off for me to see pediatric patients. I took her up on the offer and will use her space once a week (on Wednesdays) to see patients. Some patients have asked me to continue to follow their child’s behavior problems; others to help them deal with specific issues we were in the process of dealing with before I left Pediatric Center. Others simply want a second opinion.

I am also the Medical Director of the Witwer Feeding Clinic in Hiawatha, Iowa. The clinic is offered only once a month, but it has stimulated me and challenged me as I work with amazing patients and their families who work very hard to handle difficult and demanding health issues.

I have also received several requests from people I have not yet met who want to know how they can work with their primary care physician using more integrative therapies. They have questions about the safety of their methods and whether what they do could have any adverse interactions with their medications, but are afraid to ask their doctor. Of course, my role in this would be to educate them and to make sure that any steps they desire to take would not interfere with the program their physician has already put in place. And I will always record exactly what I recommend and why I propose what I do. I have already helped several people happily accomplish their goals.

What I plan to do is a work in progress. The way things look may change over time, but my goal is always to empower patients to take responsibility for their health and to learn how to prevent breakdown of their health in the first place.

I would like to thank all my patients for the role they played in making me into the person I am today. I plan to continue to serve and give back to others because I have been richly blessed indeed.


Sharon A. Collins, M.D., F.A.A.P.

305 Second Avenue, SE.

Suite 215

Cedar Rapids, IA 52401


November 22nd, 2014
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