So yesterday I made the trek out to the Arthritis Center of Riverside to see a new rheumatologist.
I've been waiting for quite a while until I got my new insurance specifically so I could go to these people. They are very interested in finding the causes of inflammation, and they've done a lot of research on infectious agents and their role in RA. They've written some interesting stuff about mycoplasmas, which are tiny little organisms that seem to be found in much greater numbers in people with RA, specifically within the joints.
They are NOT holistic. I want to make that clear. They will write prescriptions for DMARDs when necessary, but they also have a very cool low dose antibiotic protocol treatment that seems to be very effective. Many patients actually achieve remission this way.
This was my initial appointment, and I was nervous at first. All new patients see Dr. Lallande at first, an osteopath, which means he has D.O. after his name instead of M.D. Osteopaths are capable doctors in this country, so don't confuse them with the osteopaths in the U.K., who are in fact naturopaths and not medical doctors. My own general practitioner is an osteopath and Dr. Lallande seems to follow the same functional medicine philosophy. Dr. Lallande is a cheerful man with a salt and pepper crew cut, very animated and completely interested in what I was saying. I've never felt more at ease.
I started telling him about the dietary changes I'd made and the progress I'd found due to it. I told him I was now following the specific carbohydrate diet.
I paused when he seemed to continue to be friendly, instead of clamming up. I then asked him if he'd heard of the diet.
He then specifically wanted to hear about my autistic son, and what I thought caused his autism. His own son had received a bunch of vaccines at once, and had experienced some extreme OCD-like behaviors for a few years, so he was curious to know if I thought vaccines triggered his autism. He had also changed his son's diet and done interventions that helped him. Personally I don't think vaccines triggered Clark's problems, but to have a doctor acknowledge the experience of many, many parents over the current medical studies was really something. He thought it was great that my research had helped me and my son so much.
He said, "Keep doing your research! We don't know everything!" Then he smiled, and said, "If somebody had told you, 'You're going to get this disease, and it's a really serious disease, but in getting it, you're going to learn how to help your son,' would you have signed up?"
I said, "Absolutely."
He said, "Of course you would. Every mother would."
Then we moved on to the actual exam. He thought I was doing pretty well. He even remarked to his assistant, "See, she's good, she learned how to treat herself." He checked me for fibromyalgia as well, so they treat that too! Hey fibro people, you should check these people out!
He then proclaimed me to be in excellent health, except for the RA, which is pretty much what every doctor says. :)
Then it was off for blood work, and I come back in May for X-rays and an appointment with the facility's director. He told me that there will be supplements and possibly the antibiotic protocol once they learn what they can from my tests, but if I feel I need Enbrel to hold me over until the other stuff starts kicking in, then I should call and let them know. He told me it can take up to six months for the protocol to really start working, so they will try to minimize my damage in the meantime while we're waiting.
All in all, I was just so thrilled with the appointment. I wanted to hug him, but since I was wearing one of those gowns, I think it would have been a little awkward.