Learning About Mast Cell Activation
Living with a chronic illness is something I am familiar with. The stress of trying to figure out which illness I had was an even bigger challenge than just fighting my body. I wish that Dr. Lawrence B. Afrin’s book “Never Bet Against Occam” was published back when I was going through my journey.
Reading the case studies of both men and women throughout the book I kept being reminded of my own ordeal. I had the swelling in my joints, not breathing well, unexplained pain, blood tests that don’t make sense, and being told constantly I don’t know how to help you. I was terrified as well as frustrated that the doctor and specialist that I saw couldn’t answer mine or my family’s questions.
Just to warn you, my dear readers, this book is like a college text book. With words and case studies and observations. I had to take the time to look up what each term meant, thankfully in the back of the book there is a glossary of medical terms for us patients to look things up in. I appreciated that.
Here are some key things that I took away from reading Dr. Afrin’s book:
- MCAS patients are challenging to diagnosis because doctors assume that they have another systemic inflammatory syndrome than Mast Cell Activation. The reason why, because their blood test results are often times on the borderline or are told the tests came back negative. (My personal thought, I know how this feels. When I first started on my Chronic Illness Journey, my biopsies were negative, along with blood tests. The only test that was positive was the ANCA. They couldn’t figure me out, in some instances they still can’t. I still don’t have a clear diagnosis because of it.)
- Mast cells are in every tissues in our bodies, and they are even in our nerve cells. That means that there is an extensive cross talk between the mass cells and the nerve cells. That is why it is ludicrous to think that all of the nerve cells and mass cells wouldn’t be affected by the same chronic condition. Our bodies are so interwoven together that it makes sense to me and to Dr. Afrin that things are connected and affects both types of cells.
- I learned, because I didn’t know this before. I’m glad that I know now that hemoglobin job is to get the oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of our body. Another job is to take carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. There are two different types of hemoglobin’s. HbS and HbA.
- Our immune system is awesome. Its job is to defend our bodies from knowns threats. Our immune system can manufacture new defenses on demand from unknown threats that may arise. There are two major arms in our immune system. The cellular arm and the humoral arm. The cellular arm consists of types of cells, such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, and mast cells with roles to play in asserting our immunity. Our humoral arms that consists of specialized proteins called antibodies that are made from by other immune cells called plasma cells that are made to recognize a specific threat and a call to arms to deal with the threat.
I’m sure that you can see that you get a lot of information from reading “Never Bet against Occam”. Information that deals with Mast Cell Activation, our hemoglobin’s, and our immune system. I am grateful for the opportunity to read this text book and learn about another autoimmune disorder and how our bodies work especially when it comes to the immune system and the blood.
I recommend this book to anyone who is fighting an autoimmune illness and wants to learn more and especially if you were diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation. There is a lot of valuable information. To me it was well worth the time to read. I’m grateful for the opportunity. ‘
Here are some links I would like to share: