Posts Tagged medical studies

When To Get a Second Opinion

Wise words from Thomas Edison. You can get this poster @

I’ve been a bit concerned about the relationship between Interstitial Lung Disease and Methotrexate over the last couple weeks (yet trying not to worry, because worrying leads to flares which leads to more of a chance of RA complications…ha! FML!).

I will still talk to my primary rheumatologist about this on Tuesday, but in the meantime, I’ve decided to seek a second opinion. This wasn’t as easy a choice as it may sound. It felt like I was choosing to cheat on my rheumatologist and giving up on my treatment plan. As I told my friend, my relationship with my rheumatologist is something I want to be sensitive too – he might be in my life for many years to come!

I started by going to my allergist, who also happens to be a respected immunology expert. Up until 2008, I was seeing him once a year for checkups on my recovery from Interstitial Lung Disease. In many ways, he knows my medical history better than I do.

He told me that there is indeed a link between Methotrexate and ILD, and recommended I get a second opinion at a research hospital that specializes in lung disease. They also happen to have rheumatologists who specialize in both ILD and autoimmune diseases. Cool.

Turns out these docs are also in more demand than my current rheumy. I need a referral to even have a chance of seeing one. This left me with the choice of getting that referral from my rheumatologist or from my primary doctor (who I haven’t seen in years because I have another OB/GYN). I chose my primary doc so as not to shake the boat on my relationship with my rheumy. This choice, of course, requires yet another doctor’s appointment (yippee! – where is that sarcasm font when you need it?).

A couple other things of interest came up at my appointment as well.

My doctor said that, given my medical history, he doesn’t think it is likely that I have gluten or dairy allergies or sensitivities. He recommended just eating healthfully and focusing on eating for my marathon training.

I don’t think this means that I will run out and eat gluten again (I’ve already eased up a bit on the dairy), but maybe I’ll think about being more flexible. I also still believe that eating to lower inflammation in my body is a very positive thing I can do to help control my symptoms. My doc is very science-based (as he should be), so until a trustworthy study comes out showing how diet can ease/cure/whatever RA, I think he will be giving this advice.

I ate lunch with my family yesterday and mentioned this, as well as the idea that perhaps GMOs, pesticides and all the other industrial crap that’s made its way into our food supply was more responsible for the rise in gluten intolerance and autoimmune diseases than gluten itself. My brother-in-law and sister’s reaction made me feel like a social pariah. I plan on doing more research on this and posting it here, but I’m certainly not the first person to state this theory, so I don’t believe it’s totally off target… Does anyone have thoughts on this? Or good articles I can forward to my sister??

My doctor provided me with a list of websites that he likes to use for research because they are entirely science-based:

I hope this list helps everyone as you do your own research and become your own advocate for your health.

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All I Want(ed) For Christmas Was a Genome Test

I’m a strange girl. I like fashion and whatever, but I’m fascinated by genetics, biology, weather, and astronomy.

Throw a chronic illness into the mix and I find myself researching lab mice in my spare time. Go figure.

Anyway, my family knows I’m a bit odd, but my request for a genetic test for Christmas was met with uncomfortable silence. My sister laughed and my mom told me that sounded a bit too personal. That if something came back that I didn’t want to hear, she wouldn’t want to be the one to have gotten me the gift.

I totally understand that. So today, I finally bought myself my Christmas present: a genetic test from 23andMe.

I literally had butterflies of excitement filling out the order form. I think it’s so cool that biotech has entered the realm of personal DNA testing. And that I can get it for $99… Wow.

Not only that, but I like how 23andMe supports scientific/medical research. You can join the 23 and We community and agree to lend your anonymous genetic test results and survey results to studies. I think that’s awesome. I think that the more data points we have, the more trends we can discover. The more trends, the more hypotheses and tests that can take place. More tests, hopefully means better answers, better drugs, and more hope for patients.

I have to wait about a week to get the test tube, then about four weeks to get results. I’m excited to let you guys know what I learn!

Side note: when I Googled “DNA testing for Christmas”, Justin Bieber’s image was everywhere. Weird.

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