Individualized Medicine: A Real Life Example

Posted on

Individualized-MedicineToday in my office, one of my patients stopped me and said with a big smile, “You saved my life!” This is a phrase I love hearing and thankfully, I’ve heard from my patients many times. Sometimes, what they mean is that I saved their marriage by replacing their testosterone (or their wife’s.) Other times, what they mean is that I’ve helped them to become healthier with a higher quality of life. But, this 50 year old gentleman meant it literally; I saved his life.

His story is a perfect example of the difference between individualized hormone replacement therapy we provide at BioBalance Health versus the assembly-line care that you get from a franchise hormone replacement practice.

The first time this patient came in, I noticed that he had high hemoglobin and hematocrit, as well as a low platelet count. This was worrisome for me because testosterone increases the H/H and the absorption of iron. In layman’s terms, if my patient responded normally to the pellet therapy, his blood would have slugged and it could have caused problems with his heart and other vessels. I knew this was potentially very dangerous, and because I am determined to do no harm, I told him that I would only give him pellets that same day if he promised that he would see his doctor immediately. I wanted him to consult with a specialist or adequately trained doctor to do a work-up for hemochromatosis—which is a common disease in St. Louis because of the northern-European population. When he came back for his second round of pellets, he sheepishly admitted that he had not seen his doctor. This time, I refused to give him more pellets because I saw that he still had an elevated H/H and low platelet count. I sent him away empty handed, with the “dangling carrot” being that he could only have pellets once he saw his doctor and proved he had a clean bill of health.

Thankfully, he took my advice and saw his primary care physician who ultimately decided that he was fine. My patient, however, wanted a second opinion from an Oncologist Hematologist. This specialist told him that he was very lucky that I had caught this. My patient was suffering from a genetic defect called “Jak 2 Defect,” which results in thickened blood that can clog arteries and cause early strokes and heart attacks. My patient received a special type of blood donation, and after multiple treatments he felt wonderful. His doctor told him that I saved his life and it really made my week to hear that. Only after his treatments did he begin to take his testosterone again; this time with my blessing.