Rheumatoid Patient Foundation

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Cimzia: Is it working?

As an RAD Lovegiver, the most frustrating thing is watching the woman I love be in so much pain and not being able to do a damned thing about it. On top of that, the medical professionals seem to be guessing at what drug combinations to use to alleviate that pain. I guess that is why they call it practicing medicine. This past week or two has truly sucked. As an outsider, it appears to me that the drug combination Tanya is currently on is doing very little to benefit her. I have been looking through old photos of trips Tanya and I have taken over the years and I long to have her back in remission, but my hopes are definitely waning.

Back in July, Tanya’s first LA rheumatologist (Dr. Forouzesh) put her on a new drug, Cimzia, because the Enbrel did not seem to be working. Dr. Forouzesh was pretty much gushing with praise on how well this drug worked. Just use it for a few months and feel better was the impression I was left with. As Tanya is prone to do, she investigated the drug and it appeared that many were having a lot of luck with it. We put our thoughts of stem cell therapy aside and placed our hopes on Cimzia. As it turned out, Dr. Forouzesh lost his free samples of Cimzia and with the loss of the free drugs, his enthusiasm seemed to dissipate. After a couple of weeks he decided it was not going to work; even though Tanya’s research suggested it might take a few months. We decided to find a new rheumatologist.

Cimzia injection

Tanya injecting Cimzia

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Tests, tests and more tests

When I last posted about meeting Tanya’s new rheumatologist, I mentioned that Tanya had been referred to an endocrinologist to investigate some breathing issues she has at times. Dr. Ishimori was concerned that perhaps there is more than just the Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease (RAD/RA)at work here. Naturally, they have to schedule all tests to be out at Cedars-Sinai, which means fighting traffic for an hour, then trying to find a parking spot followed up by trying to find out where to go to have the testing done.

Pulmonary exam

Buckle up

While we left the house with what should have been plenty of time, LA traffic was not going to cooperate and every parking lot at Cedar-Sinai was full. Unfortunately, I am not allowed to get upset at these situations so all I could do is drop Tanya off at the door, then drive around Beverly Hills looking for a parking spot. By the time I found one I was in no mood to carry my camera around plus I had no idea where I would find her or what would be photo worthy. As you can tell, I obviously found her again. The lab tech wanted me to stay in the waiting room, but eventually Tanya got it through to him that she wanted me there. When I came in the room I really wished I had my camera. I settled for using the one on her Android Xoom. The photos are not great, but you get the general idea. Continue reading

A visit to Dr. Mariko Ishimori

Thursday morning, Tanya and I headed out to Beverly Hills and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to visit a new rheumatologist, Dr. Mariko Ishimori, MD. After Tanya’s last experience with Dr. Forouzesh she decided that she could not handle the stress of having a doctor that changed attitudes and commentary with each visit. The fact that he had been giving her Cimzia as samples that were already allocated to other patients was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was not really sure what to expect as we entered the Steven Spielberg Building and our introduction to Dr. Ishimori.

As it was our first visit, I will not go into much depth other that to say that there were additional blood tests ran and an appointment with an endocrinologist was set to check out the issues she is having with glands in her neck. I will make a few observations though. For one thing, Dr. Ishimori’s office ran with clock-like precision. When they say an appointment will start at 10:20 and will lat an hour, it actually starts at 10:20 and lasts an hour. Confidential patient files were not lying all over the counter at Dr. Ishimori’s office. Everyone acted quite professional. I remember thinking that is was almost like Spielberg was directing everything so that there was this precision.

Dr. Ishimori not only took the time to take a very extensive history of Tanya’s past, but she did something I never saw Dr. Forouzesh do; she actually took the time to feel and look at all of Tanya’s joints. Hands, elbows, toes, knees, neck and whatever else that moved. Contrary to Dr. Forouzesh’s assessment that the Cimzia was not going to work, Dr. Ishimori determined that the Cimzia seemed to be doing exactly what it should be doing. That is why a visit with an endocrinologist was set up; perhaps there is more going on than just the RAD (Rheumatoid Autoimmune Disease). Continue reading

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