Thursday, February 19, 2009

Sadly, the plot thickens

I'm back to reading The Autoimmune Epidemic religiously. In a previous post I discuss this book's main theme - that we are seeing an increase in autoimmune disease in our country in part because of an increase in exposure to toxic elements in our environment... from pesticides, chemicals, etc. The author provides compelling evidence that autoimmune diseases cluster in environments with more toxic waste.

I'm focused on this book because in the last few days I found out my beloved old cat, George, is pretty sick. Its his liver, his kidney, his heart, he's lost 4 pounds in 6 months... systemic yucky. Well, all the tests so far point to an autoimmune disease. No sign of cancer, no sign of thyroid problems, no heart disease.

I'm trying desperately hard not to be hysteric about this. I choose to rely on data and science, when I can. And, I'm a firm believer in "Med Student's Disease": when you read about a disease, you pretty much tend to think you have it. I'm anti-hypochondriasis...

But the coincidences demand a second glance.
  • My cat probably has an autoimmune disease.
  • My husband got diagnosed with Crohn's Disease (an autoimmune disease) 3 years ago.
  • I was diagnosed with Psoriatic Arthritis (an autoimmune disease) in the last year.
  • I had weird autoimmune like symptoms over the last few years: mono like symptoms one year, and then the next year crazy leg and foot swelling and horrible pain, and low grade fever and fatigue. The docs never quite figured out what it was - but my husband had a version of it too...
Now, I'm not a hysteric. I'm a scientist. But I'm not going to let this one go... not yet. Let's see how George's tests come out tomorrow.

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