Friday, June 19, 2009

oh hey

so i am definitely going to be giving a brief presentation at this year's TMS conference in New Jersey. I will be speaking along side a doctor on how to survive a bone marrow biopsy. Reading the speaker list is sort of intimidating as it's all doctors and then me.

Saturday, June 6, 2009


Not much is going on in my life right now. The lithotripsy wasn't as successful as I'd wanted it to be, as there is still stone in my kidney. HOWEVER it is no longer blocking my kidney, so now I guess it's a waiting game.

Boston is scoring big time however, and Dr. Cem Akin is coming up here to practice at Brigham and Womens with Dr. Castells. This is huge, and while I totally feel for people in the mid-west who will be adversely hit by his leaving, the selfish part of me is psyched to get another mato specialist up here. While I adore Dr. Castells, I wouldn't mind getting a second opinion or backup with certain questions, especially as she is so overtaxed these days.

so here are two links of interest (well to me) one of which is negative, and one of which just sort of is.

First off, a terrible experience I had with a dietary blog that offers readers advice for a fairly steep sum. The author claims to have cured her own mastocytosis using raw foods. (i'm not hyper linking this site since i don't want her to come bitching that i am disparaging her or some nonsense, though if she does find this, whatever.) - I contacted the author after reading her blog and all of the wonders that the raw food diet provided her. Prior to my diagnosis (years prior to my diagnosis) I was a Vegan, and while in some aspects I found myself feeling fantastic, I also found myself relying too much on Soy protein and after reading up on the negative effects of Soy on the endocrine system I stopped. At the time I assumed the hormones in soy were bothering me, but in hindsight I'm guessing it may have been the fermentation. ANYWAY, point being that I'm no stranger to non-mainstream diets, really view food more as sustenance, and am willing and open to try a new diet to see if it would improve my health. Obviously unlike the author of that blog, I did not expect it to cure me of mastocytosis, but I figured it couldn't hurt. I'm all for complementary medicine/lifestyle choices if they are proven safe and effective (eg, I'll take yoga over colloid silver supplements thanks)

I sent her a short email commenting on her site, masto, and the diet, and never heard from her. A month later I somehow ended up on her newsletter and emailed her asking that if she couldn't reply to my initial email re: masto if she could take me off her mailing list. I got a friendly letter in reply briefly mentioning masto and about 3 pages of paid services she offers. I replied asking for more evidence based results re: the raw food diet and masto (since many of the foods she recommends are listed as high risk on the low histamine diet and some are outright risky for masto patients) and she replied with an email that managed to not answer any of my questions and again touted her services as a paid-for counselor/dietary consultant. Again I tried to explain that I had pretty extensive masto (and asked her what type she had had, since it's possible if she'd had UP our experience would be quite different), high bone proliferation, GI involvement, osteoporsis, etc etc etc and I got back this scathing email telling me that the TMS Board (which I am not a part of) is damaging to patients due to how resistant to change they are and how they are closed minded and only rely on allopathic solutions (which is total bullshit since the TMS board members recommend all sorts of diet/integrated medicine approaches that may work based on the individual, and if nothing try to dissuade people from more aggressive treatment that may cause more harm than good) and that it seemed like I was trying to present myself as being "sicker" than her. Which is entirely fucking stupid. What I was doing was explaining, "well i have these issues, do you think your diet is safe for me? I am conflicted about it since there is a lot of contradictory evidence out there." Now I will totally admit that I became terse since it seemed like she was more intent on selling me snake oil than answering 2 simple questions...but come on. She then replied to me with some nonsense about it not being the teacher or student's fault but she didn't think she could work with me. I replied that, yes, since she was incapable of answering a few questions I agreed with that assessment.

Another person I know actually called her and she again wouldn't answer any questions unless the caller offered her $$$ first.

Total bullshit if you ask me. While I understand that services do not come for free, I have a few issue with this

1) She claims to have suffered from masto. Therefore she knows how risky treatments/diet changes can be for patients. She should be able to answer a few basic questions about the low salycite/histamine diets before making a website designed towards garnering business for herself. Neither me or the other patient asked for free dietary advice other than, "I am concerned that this diet may not be safe for me, what was your experience like?" Instead she refused to answer any questions.

2) Honestly, the raw food diet itself is not that revolutionary. There are tons of books one can buy at their local co-op, whole foods, or through amazon. She is offering her non-tailor made interpretation of those cookbooks for a price that is higher than the cost of most of those books. It's trial and error, which again for masto patients can be dangerous, since they might go into shock as opposed to simply suffer indigestion if they eat the wrong thing. No nutritionist can make that call over the phone, RN or not. Especially if they don't have your medical records.

3) Hell, she can't even be held accountable for dispensing erroneous advice to anyone. The fact she was so hostile and so quick to lash out when asked a few introductory questions before myself (or the other masto patient i know) were comfortable committing is ridiculous considering her advice could potentially kill us.

4) If I found the dietary cure for masto, you can all bet I'd give it to you all (and everyone else) for free. Especially if it was simply regurgitated information I'd gotten from other sources.

So yeah, fuck that noise. If I'm going to try a raw diet, I'll do some research on my own, work with either an osteopath or registered nutritionist, and not someone online who makes broad claims about stuff they then refuse to back up. Obviously lesson learned, people will even prey on their "own" community to make a buck.

In other news, masto made a cameo in the New York Times.