Fingers crossed for new GI doc

The importance of a good doctor-patient relationship is central to successful treatment of any malady, be it the common cold, depression, or a chronic disease.

Fellow IBD-helminth-blogger-comrade Luke from the great blog LukEcology recently wrote a nice post about this, Your Doctor and You, check it out.

Truthfully, I’ve never liked my GI. I was kid when I first was put in his hands, fresh out of my first year in college, a scared shitless (literally) kid who had been sick for months and had lost 30 pounds and was willing to do anything for relief and answers. My GI was conventional, seemed friendly enough at first. However, as I came to terms with the disease, my next turn was the research the hell out of it, and I started asking questions. He was always nice, but every visit, I came with questions, curiosities, and really he just didnt want to engage in conversation with me about anything beyond my immediate symptoms. As far as he was concerned, as long as I wasnt having blood in my bowels, I was fine, and needed to “accept” that this was how my new normal would be.

Last year, when I had learned of helminthic therapy and came to his office with dozens of articles, well informed, and ready to ask him all about it, he completely blew me off. At the very mention of it, he just cut me off with a “oh yeah, they’re doing that stuff on rats for allergy,” then when I showed him some human trial studies I had printed out, he was surprised and probably embarrassed, stood up to shake my hand and leave the office and muttered something like “uh yeah I’ve got stacks of journals in my office I haven’t gone through yet.” As I left he said something like “uh yeah I’ll look into that for you,” but clearly he just wanted me to leave so he could have lunch.

In any case, I’m meeting with a new GI tomorrow outside of Boston, and I’m excited as I picked her because I “heard” from a friend on the yahoo boards that she’s familiar with H therapy, is very friendly, and she’s connected to Tufts University, which is where much of the research on pig whipworm therapy is being done.

I admit, I’m also nervous about being rejected. I really need to find a GI who is willing to work with me through this therapy, right now I’m just under the care of a PCP who is clueless about IBD but at least vaguely supportive. This disease is hard enough, and this therapy is so ridden with unknowns, that I simply cant do it on my own. Marc at AIT has been wonderful, but he’s in England, and cannot function as my GI in any real capacity.

Wish me and my little comrades luck.

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4 responses

  1. Kristina

    Good for you! You deserve a doctor that will give you time and effort, and take you seriously. Good luck, and keep me posted 🙂

    August 17, 2010 at 12:58 pm

  2. Thanks 🙂

    August 20, 2010 at 6:25 pm

  3. Alli

    Yeah, GI docs (and Western-trained doctors more generally) are an interesting bunch: I will forever have a love-hate relationship with them, I think.

    My gastroenterologist sounds much like your old doctor: nice enough, but not really eager to talk about new research or alternative medicine with patients. When I asked him about helminthic therapy, he said it definitely had a presence in the field but was not yet FDA-approved or anything like that. Then he pointed out that other techniques – like fecal “transplants” for people with c-diff colitis – worked like a charm and were based on similar concepts that underly helminthic therapy. I got the sense he would not yet recommend helminthic therapy to a patient but was open to the possibility that one day, given proper testing and research, it may serve a purpose.

    I’m guessing this hesitance in my doctor is related to legal issues all doctors face: malpractice suits are not pleasant or cheap, and for their own protection, I would guess they err on the side of caution. Right now he has certain drugs at his disposal that he knows work in a certain way and are approved and legal within the medical system. I don’t blame him or other doctors for being careful. But I DO expect them to keep up with current research.

    Anyway, I’ve just moved and am looking for a new doctor. Hope I find one as good as the one you describe in the above post.

    August 20, 2010 at 11:08 pm

  4. At least your doctor had heard of helminthic therapy and was aware of its status related to FDA approval. Helminthic therapy is still probably years away from being approved, maybe longer. My past GI was totally unfamiliar with it and basically wanted to shoo me out of the room when I asked him to look at recent human trial literature on the subject.
    I like my new GI very much, and she’s very familiar with helminths because of her proximity to Tufts Uni where TSO research is done. But I highly doubt she would prescribe or recommend helminthic therapy to me, or anyone. I simply showed up to her office and told her that I was hosting human whipworm, which surprised her a bit, but she didnt say much other than she was ok with trying it because she knew it was safe. In this case it worked out that I too had the need for a new GI because I moved states, and I think its easier to show up with worms, than to ask for them. Asking for them makes a doctor have to stick to his/her professional techniques, but since I already had them, she could just consent without consenting, in a sense.
    Good luck!

    August 21, 2010 at 1:24 pm

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