Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Come Back When You're Sicker

I've had dry eyes for 12 years, constant phlegm in my throat for 3 1/2 years, dry mouth for 6 months.  7 doctors over 3 years can't figure out the phlegm problem. When the dry mouth came along 6 months ago, the internet led me to Sjogrens.  My primary doctor said, "Maybe. But if it is, there is nothing we can do but manage the symptoms."

At my annual eye appt., I told my eye dr. about the phlegm and dry mouth (he of course already knew about the dry eyes) and he said we need blood tests: "sounds like Sjogrens but we need to find out if it's primary or secondary."  Had the blood tests last week.  Can't get into a Rheumatoligist until the end of January.  In looking at the blood tests I still have no idea what I have.

ANA screen is positive and speckled (1:40). Rheumatoid Factor: 11 - says less than 14 is good.  Sjogren's Antibody (SS-A): negative.  Sjogren's Antibody (SS-B): negative. SED RATE: 2.  It sounds like Sjogrens but the blood test says no.  I read that of 11 Lupus symptoms and you need at least 4 to probably have lupus.  I only have the positive ANA. None of the other symptoms.  My middle right hand finger has been hurting at the bottom joint for a week and a half but I don't know if I injured it or if it's arthritis coming on.  That is the only thing close to maybe having 2 Lupus symptoms instead of just the ANA. I am baffled.  Any ideas?

Thanks for writing.
It sounds like your symptoms are not severe enough yet that they have developed into an easily-diagnosed disease.

That's bad news in that it's hard for you to get an answer but good news in that you still have pretty good health and quality of life, it sounds. Doctors often tell someone like you "come back when you're sicker" so it's easier to diagnose. How about instead, if you don't get sicker and just get all better?

It definitely sounds like to me that something is "off" and you are getting warning signs from your body that you are on the wrong track, either with stress, or your eating habits, environmental allergy, or something else in your life that needs to change. It's causing your body distress and the symptoms are its way of asking you to get back in balance.

First I would look for food allergies, or other allergies, because of the phlegm.
The first thought that came into my mind when I read your message was "Is she eating dairy regularly?" Dairy can cause a lot of phlegm. Other food allergens are gluten, soy, eggs, nuts, corn, yeast.

Have a look at this article from Dr. Mark Hyman and see if it resonates with you.

Another progressive, nutrition oriented MD is Dr. Joel Fuhrman ( He has had numerous success stories with healing "incurable" "chronic" diseases like Psoriasis and Lupus (and probably Sjogrens too- many people with lupus also have Sjogrens diagnosis, including me). I have reversed my bad blood tests and vastly improved my health by eating gluten-free and dairy-free and getting rid of nutrasweet (asparatame, diet coke) and eating a lot more plant food.

You don't have to slide downhill. You don't have to end up witha  disease that you can just "manage." You don't have to live with phlegm in your throat for the rest of your life. You can nip this in the bud and not have it turn into Sjogren's, or any other autoimmune disease.

well wishes-

Carla Ulbrich

The Singing Patient: Author, Humorous Songwriter and Entertainer

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