Sunday, November 18, 2012

#NHBPM - 17 of 30 GUEST POST from my GI!!

I'm excited to share a guest post from my GI, Dr. Anish Patel. God love Dr. Patel - I don't know that he knew exactly what he was getting into when he agreed to take me on as a patient! I had gone through the GI clinic at my hospital - displeased with my original doc and my surgeon set me up with someone else. Then he deployed and so Dr. Patel was asked to step in....yay military healthcare! Dr. Patel is completing his gastroenterology fellowship in San Antonio. He also has a special interest in IBD and as you will read, is dedicated to learning as much as possible about Crohn's and Ulcerative Colits. Thank you Dr. Patel!!

I posed 2 of the alternative prompt questions to Dr. Patel, sort of. What advice do you have for a newly diagnosed patient and what advice do you have for someone pursuing a career in gastroenterology (thought that would be fun for us patients!) - here is what he had to say - UNEDITED!!

1. What are 3 things you would tell a patient newly diagnosed with Crohn’s disease?

a) Life changing: The disease along with having the diagnosis can be life-changing. I am not saying that your whole world will be turned around and/or you can never do anything and/or follow your dreams, I put it more like a speed bump in the life road. I tell patients that the disease is what you make of it but it will change the way you perceive life but should not change what you want to make out of life.

b) Understanding: Crohn’s disease is a complex disease and many factors play a role in its pathophysiology. Basic understanding is the key to controlling and living with Crohn’s disease. My goal with patients is for them to understand that nothing they did caused the disease to occur; partly is genetics, partly is environmental factors and partly other factors that are still trying to be figured out. Another key factor is for my patients to understand their bodies (know their trigger symptoms) and another goal is to understand what is Crohn’s disease/flares versus what is not because this can become a gray zone.

c) Acceptance: This is a hard concept for patients to grasp and is the one that tends to be a difficult one to relate in a doctor-patient relationship. I take pride in having patients learn that the disease is there and that typical “why me?” or “I did everything right in life?” concepts only hurt the psychological aspect that encompasses the disease. I tell patients that owning their disease and living a life free of denial makes you a better patient overall and helps you take control of the disease.

2. What 3 things would you tell someone who was thinking of becoming a GI doc specializing in IBD?

a) Rewarding: For me, IBD started to become a true interest after my 1st year in fellowship. I think the true benefit is the continuity you have with your patients along with the doctor-patient trust. It was great to see patients on therapies that worked and start to live a fulfilling life free of the symptoms that burdened them. My one prime example is a patient that had moderate-severe CD that had escalated therapy up to remicade but showed evidence of failing. She was actively in college but noted that her 1st three years were not enjoyable primarily due to her symptoms. After switching to cimzia, she noted that her last year in college was the best time she ever had and was forever thankful for helping control her disease. I am not advocating that one medication is better over another, but it is fulfilling to see those that succeed.

b) Frustrating: Now, frustrating is always considered to be a negative connotation and you would think that this would drive you away from even thinking about IBD management. In my terms, frustration has led me to better explore the disease, to include pathophysiology, and delve into the newer therapy options that are available. It has led me to become more experienced and knowledgeable on a disease process that, yet, has no cure but newer medical advances are making goals in controlling the disease. It has led me to pursue further training through a generous grant from the CCFA to have the opportunity to train for one month at UCSF, a leader in IBD care, to better gain expertise in the field. So, my frustration is not that the disease has no cure, it’s a push to make myself better for my patients.

c) Nerdy: If you’re a doctor, then truly they are already considered a nerd. In regards to IBD, there a lot of research opportunities that are available. My passion is clinical research to include drug trials. With the advent of newer treatment molecules, this is a prime time period to delve into more research. I think that since this field is evolving almost every day, it is a great opportunity to find a niche for oneself.

Did you see that part where he is going to study on a grant funded through CCFA?! My fundraising at work.

Find your silver lining and be awesome!

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