Thursday, 24 October 2013

Immunology

My personal diagnosis journey is an on going saga of battling with various medical professionals to find answers to my questions and symptoms (please see previous posts for more info!).

Today I visited my local hospital for my immunology appointment. After finally being referred by my GP back in July, this appointment had a long waiting list. I fully understand the importance of highly allergic patients getting diagnosis and help, however, as a likely food intolerant patient even though my needs are not life threatening I believe I should still be entitled to a diagnosis where possible. Life is not easy for anyone having long term symptoms with food. Avoiding certain food groups is difficult, time consuming, expensive and can have an affect on your nutritional intake if not managed properly. 

After previous experiences I expected today to be a struggle. I had kept a food diary, made notes on my symptoms and written down my thoughts and questions. I was to be pleasantly surprised. The consultant doctor was polite, friendly, attentive and had a common sense approach to my situation. She asked for my opinion on my symptoms history. She took notes and planned a way forward. I have had blood taken to be tested for 9 allergens and a general IgE test. This is the first time in my life I have been tested for any allergens. She agreed that there was no need to complete a gluten challenge until we have ruled out other possibilities. She acknowledged that if gluten made me feel unwell eating it for 6-8 weeks while looking after a toddler and working would be problematic to say the least!

Now I have to wait for the results and the follow up appointment. I was warned this could be several months but if you have spent years being pushed around from department to department then 3 months is expected.The results may show no IgE or IgA reactions, some reactions or total reaction. The next step will be decided after the results have been discussed.

In the mean time I will continue to experiment with my diet. There is a lot of pressure not to "self diagnose". When you have been ill for years you have nothing to lose and a lot to gain from researching and testing yourself!

I would highly recommend to anyone having symptoms to visit your Doctor, keep a food and symptoms diary and insist on help before permanently removing foods from your diet.

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