“As both a Mental Health Therapist and a patient, I really believe drug sensitivity testing should be done for everyone. “
My name is Patricia. In 2005 I was diagnosed with breast cancer and had a right mastectomy. After undergoing a successful surgery, I began experiencing an unfamiliar feeling. Immediately after the surgery, I was in intense pain. Shortly after this began, I had panic attacks, dizziness, sleeplessness, no appetite, and other ailments I had not experienced before.
When consulting with an oncologist about what I was experiencing during this time post-surgery, she chalked up what I was experiencing to stress from the cancer diagnosis. Given that I am a Mental Health Therapist with a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the University of Washington, and very self-aware, I didn’t feel like this was a sound diagnosis; one of the reasons being, I had my office in the same location for many years and never felt the need to close the blinds due to extreme sensitivity to light until after the surgery. I knew something was off physically and I felt anxious…it just didn’t seem normal.
It was about around this time I suspected a new possibility; the anesthesia used caused my new ailments. After the frustration of feeling like I was being told these ailments were all in my head, I decided to change doctors, and went to a different facility, and found another oncologist. My new doctor suspected the drugs given to me during surgery were causing my awful symptoms and explained how those medications can take as much as a few months get out of my system. He’d seen this happen before and believed this is what was happening to me. It was a relief to have the opportunity to discuss these matters with my new physician. It reminded me of a time before my cancer diagnosis, when I felt very fatigued, and knew something didn’t feel normal; I was told it was all in my head, only to be told later that I had cancer. So it was frustrating once again to be told it was mental, when I’m a mental health expert. This seemed to be the theme again and again, but now I finally found a provider who understood where I was coming from.
A few weeks later I saw a news story highlighting the benefits of Genelex’s pharmacogenetic testing for patients like me. This was in the early days of the company, the technology and research has advanced, but the science is still very much the same. Shortly after this segment I decided to get a drug sensitivity test. With the help of Kristine and the other personnel at Genelex, I was more confident that I was experiencing adverse effects from the drugs used during my surgery. It’s possible that the multiple forms of anesthesia given to me during the surgery may have interacted in my body causing the adverse effects I was experiencing. Once I understood pharmacogenetics, and the science of drug sensitivity, how enzymes in your body break down different drugs, I felt empowered by this new information. With my test results, and how certain drugs can affect me, it made perfect sense why I had the issues after surgery!
After I decided to have a preventative hysterectomy (everything removed: cervix, uterus, ovaries), the information Genelex provided helped me work with my surgeon to determine a personalized drug regimen to use during my next surgery. The results from Genelex provided me with alternatives that were a better fit for me. The aftermath was completely different and I felt fabulous; I did not experience a chemical “hangover” after the surgery. I actually went camping shortly thereafter and I felt normal, like myself. No light sensitivity and no anxiety, I was very much grounded after the surgery. Although the surgery was a major one, to me, it felt like less impact on my body than a visit to the dentist. The results were night and day.
As you can see, some of the drugs used for her anesthesia may have interacted and caused her adverse drug effects.
As both a Mental Health Therapist and a patient, I really believe drug sensitivity testing should be performed for everyone. With the many variations in our genes, and numerous potential drug interactions, you’re susceptible to adverse effects, as I experienced myself. Some physicians may unintentionally chalk your symptoms up to being “just in your head”- as I was told. From what I have experienced, it’s a mixed bag when working with physicians regarding drug sensitivity. I was grateful my oncologist understood my post-surgery ailments at that time, followed by the news report introducing me to Genelex. If there’s something I want everyone to take away from my story it’s that you should take charge of your health. Be persistent. I felt like doctors were quick to dismiss my claims, but I persisted. I’m a firm believer that the “one size fits all” practice of medicine is highly mistaken. Genelex was essential in my physical and mental health by giving me objective, reliable data about my body's ability to break down drugs. I now refer people to Genelex often and know from personal experience the extreme value it had on my journey and health.