Tag Archives: pemphigus

Preparing for your doctor’s appointment can help you get the most from your visit. Taking an active role in your care will make you an empowered patient. In addition, proactively learning about your disease will improve your healthcare and treatment experience. Collecting the information needed before a doctor’s appointment can ensure that you are organized and strengthen your doctor-patient relationship. Here are ten tips on how to prepare for the visit that will assist you in feeling better when you leave the doctor’s office.

1.      Have all your questions answered. Bring a checklist, and be ready to take notes

2.      Schedule enough time & bring your prescriptions

3.      Address priorities first & clarify concerns

4.      Remember to say “Thank You”

5.      Learn what tests are needed before the visit (if any)

6.      Have copies of your medical records

7.      Get a summary of your visit when you leave

8.      Fill out medical release to get your records

9.      Be patient

10.  Be confident and share your knowledge

Sometimes it is valuable to gain a second, third, or even fourth opinion when seeking a treatment for pemphigus and pemphigoid. Additional opinions also provide an opportunity for you to learn more about your condition and it can offer some peace of mind that you are approaching your disease with the best chance for a favorable outcome.

Remember, if you have questions don’t be afraid to “Ask a Coach” because when you need us we are in your corner!

H.R. 6, The 21st Century Cures Act of 2015, continues to gain broad support in the United States House of Representatives. The legislation will; increase the development of research through the National Institutes of Health, improve patient-focused drug development, accelerate the approval process for new medical therapies, provide guidance on Precision Medicine, modernize the clinical trial process, expedite patient access, and streamline data and health information.

The IPPF urges you to email the following Congressional Representatives and thank them for their support in co-sponsoring H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act of 2015:

New Cosponsor: Rep. Jim Costa [D-CA16]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Ben Luján [D-NM3]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Christopher Gibson [R-NY19]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Bill Johnson [R-OH6]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Bill Flores [R-TX17]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Julia Brownley [D-CA26]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Lois Frankel [D-FL22]

New Cospo nsor: Rep. Rodney Davis [R-IL13]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Cheri Bustos [D-IL17]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Joseph Kennedy [D-MA4]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Ann Wagner [R-MO2]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Joaquin Castro [D-TX20]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Barbara Lee [D-CA13]

New Cosponsor: Rep. John Sarbanes [D-MD3]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Robert Latta [R-OH5]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Steve Scalise [R-LA1]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Gregg Harper [R-MS3]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Pete Olson [R-TX22]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Adam Kinzinger [R-IL16]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Mike Pompeo [R-KS4]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Chris Collins [R-NY27]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Mimi Walters [R-CA45]

New Cosponsor: Rep. Rick Allen [R-GA12]

Click on the link to go to your Representatives website and contact them. Please use this sample letter to assist in writing your email.

If you have any questions or would like to be more involved in IPPF advocacy, please contact marc@pemphigus.org

In May 2015, Global Genes launched their 2nd annual Cox Prize for Rare Compassion contest which encourages 1st and 2nd year medical students to get to know a rare family and write an essay based on their experiences. If the medical student does not have a rare family to work with, Global Genes will match them with a rare family in their local area.

In just a few weeks, they have had requests from over 90 medical students for help in being matched with a rare family! These students represent dozens of medical schools all over the U.S. as well as Canada and the U.K.

Global Genes is asking our help in finding rare families we can match for this program. This is a wonderful way to create awareness for your disorder within the medical education community and possibly create a relationship that could shape the med student’s future career focus. The IPPF would love to have pemphigus and pemphigoid families represented in this fantastic program! What a great way to help spread awareness to the future of the medical community about pemphigus and pemphigoid! To let Global Genes know that you are interested in being a rare family for this program please email Carrie Ostrea carrieo@globalgenes.org

Please help us spread the word about their med student matching program by going to http://globalgenes.org/cox-prize-family to see what locations are currently asking for requests. This list gets updated weekly, so please check back often to see what new cities are requested.

Thank you so much for your support! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Carrie Ostrea
Advocacy Director / Parent Advocate
Global Genes – Allies in Rare Disease
http://www.globalgenes.org
(949) 248-RARE x110

The International Pemphigus & Pemphigoid Foundation (IPPF) and the entire pemphigus and pemphigoid community would like to thank the House Energy and Commerce Committee for its non-partisan approval yesterday of the 21st Century Cures Act by a vote 51-0.

This legislation has important significance to our community as it will help modernize and personalize healthcare, support disease research, encourage innovation, and improve patient access to treatment. The bill, a year-long in the making, was championed by committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) and Representative Diana DeGette (D-CO).

H.R. 6, the 21st Century Cures Act, has been sent to the House or Senate for full consideration. The IPPF urges you to contact your Representatives and ask them to support this legislation.

The Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP) is currently working on it’s own version of the initiative called America’s Leadership in Medical Innovation for Patients, led by Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN). The IPPF will keep you aware of the latest developments as they occur but we also encourage you to reach out to the following Senators to express the urgency in creating legislation that will benefit you and all rare disease patients.

Republicans by Rank
Lamar Alexander (TN)
Michael B. Enzi (WY)
Richard Burr (NC)
Johnny Isakson (GA)
Rand Paul (KY)
Susan Collins (ME)
Lisa Murkowski (AK)
Mark Kirk (IL)
Tim Scott (SC)
Orrin G. Hatch (UT)
Pat Roberts (KS)
Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA)

Democrats by Rank
Patty Murray (WA)
Barbara A. Mikulski (MD)
Bernard Sanders (I) (VT)
Robert P. Casey, Jr. (PA)
Al Franken (MN)
Michael F. Bennet (CO)
Sheldon Whitehouse (RI)
Tammy Baldwin (WI)
Christopher S. Murphy (CT)
Elizabeth Warren (MA)

For information on 21st Century Cures, go to: http://energycommerce.house.gov/markup/full-committee-vote-21st-century-cures-act

For information on the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee (HELP) go to: http://www.help.senate.gov/

If you would like to get more involved in pemphigus & pemphigoid advocacy, please contact Marc Yale, Peer Health Coach marc@pemphigus.org.

Thank you for your support!

Having a flare after being in remission can be a scary and frustrating experience. Thoughts run through your head about your previous experiences and you may wonder if your disease will be as bad as it was before. When you have the flare, it is important to recognize it and take the challenge head-on. It’s easy to become stressed from the uncertainty and lack of control, but remember that stressing will only make things worse. Here are some tips to reduce the intensity and time that you may have the flare.

1.      Schedule an appointment with your doctor immediately.

2.      Have your doctor give you a clinical diagnosis or get a biopsy done to confirm the flare. There are many differential diagnoses for your disease so you want to be sure it is what you suspect.

3.      Discuss with your doctor a treatment strategy and begin right away.

4.      Track your disease activity in a log, this will help you determine if you condition is improving.

5.      Follow up with your doctor regularly and advocate for yourself. Seeing your doctor every 4-6 weeks is recommended. If you have an aggressive flare you may need to see your doctor more frequently.

6.      If you need support, contact the IPPF and talk with a Peer Health Coach. Coaches are available to answer questions and help you decide how to best handle your flare.

It is common for flares not to be as intense as your first experience with the disease, but all patients have different experiences. The important thing is to be proactive and stabilize the disease activity as soon as possible. Flares are part of living with pemphigus and pemphigoid but if they are handled quickly and with a positive attitude you can eliminate them sooner.

Remember, if you have questions to “Ask a Coach” because when you need us we are in your corner!

Please call Congress TODAY and ask them to include the OPEN ACT, HR 971 (Orphan Product Extensions Now, Accelerating Cures & Treatments) in the 21st Century Cures Legislation. The OPEN ACT has the potential to double the number of approved rare disease treatments available to patients. To date, 155 patient organizations support the OPEN ACT, including NORD, Global Genes, and the Genetic Alliance. By standing together we can ensure Congress helps rare disease patients.

Click here to take action: Stand up for Rare Disease Patients TODAY

Please share this alert widely and join this event on Facebook.

Why the OPEN ACT is important: Despite advances made possible by the Orphan Drug Act, 95 percent of the 7,000 rare diseases still have no approved treatments. Biopharmaceutical companies are not repurposing major market therapies to treat rare diseases because there is no incentive for them to do so.

The OPEN ACT is bipartisan legislation that creates an economic incentive for companies to repurpose drugs for rare diseases. The OPEN ACT could:
·         Bring hundreds of treatments to rare disease patients
·         Enable access to safe, effective and affordable treatments
·         Spur biotech investment, innovation, and foster clinical research at universities while creating new jobs

Learn more at: http://curetheprocess.org/ incentivize/

 

Time for the Infusion

As the treatment drew near, I had a lot of questions for Dr. Williams. She felt an oncologist was better equipped to answer them, so she scheduled a consult with one. That was a great move. The oncologist answered all my questions. He said prescribing and administering Rituxamab is an everyday occurrence for the infusion room. He said they give this treatment to leukemia and lymphoma patients who are in very poor health. Since I was in relatively good health, his concerns of complications for me were minimal. That was reassuring.

I had to do a lot of lab tests, which is common for intravenous treatments affecting the immune system. I was tested for several types of hepatitis, HIV, TB, and other infectious ailments. You can see from my “before” picture how bad my skin was.

I was treated using the Rheumatoid Arthritis Protocol (1,000 mg intravenously on days 1 and 15). My first dose was administered on June 17, 2014 and lasted 6 hours; the second on July 1, 2014, lasted 4 hours. I was relieved that other than a little jitteriness caused by a steroid drip, I had absolutely no side effects or reactions. It literally felt like I was getting a routine saline solution infusion.

Jack Sherman 4 Jack Sherman 3

When I went in for my second infusion, there was no change in my disease activity. I didn’t expect to see any changes for at least a month. To my surprise, as you can see by this photograph comparison, I was seeing signs of improvement a week after my second infusion! I was still taking 250 milligrams of azathioprine and 25 milligrams of prednisone every other day.

Jack Sherman 6 Jack Sherman 5

Stay tuned for next week’s conclusion of Jack Sherman’s Road to Rituximab Story…

Part One
Part Three

Many times when seeing a physician for pemphigus or pemphigoid they are quick to prescribe a systemic treatment that will hopefully help you reach remission. This can be a good thing. However, sometimes the obvious may be overlooked.  For example, if you are in pain,  having trouble eating or swallowing, your clothes are sticking to your lesions, the blisters on your scalp make bathing and showering difficult, or perhaps you are having chronic nosebleeds. These symptoms can be managed with topical treatments, but they are often forgotten. There are different options available for different body locations in many different strengths. Be candid with your doctor and let them know where you are having disease activity and how severe it is. Although, ultimately, the systemic treatment is going to make the difference in the long run.  Topical treatment can help relieve many of your symptoms along the way!

If you’re not sure which medications to ask for or their strengths, just “Ask a Coach”!

Remember, when you need us we are in your corner!

In February of 1995 I noticed some eruptions on my chest which I ignored. The week after I notice them, I went to a week-long school for the Air National Guard in Virginia. While at the school, the eruptions increased on my chest, as well as in my nose, mouth, and face. I was extremely frightened; I did not know what was happening to me. I thought of going to “Sick Call” but decided not to, since the school was only for one week and I wanted to finish it. When I flew home from attending the school, my family took a look at me and begged me to go to an Emergency Room immediately. Since I was very tired from the trip, I waited until the next day.

The next day I went to the Emergency Room of one of the local hospitals. The physician in the ER admitted that he really did not know what was wrong with me. My wife suggested that he call a dermatologist at a bigger hospital which he did. The dermatologist made an appointment for me for the following Monday.

On that Monday I went to the dermatologist who diagnosed me with a disease that I never had heard of–pemphigus. He told me it was a very serious disease, one that was rare and very expensive to treat. I did not know where to turn. I did not know of anyone who had this disease or of any organization who dealt with this malady. He prescribed a mild dose of steroids and sent me home. The eruptions on my skin (which I learned were called “lesions”) increased. Despite many visits to the dermatologist and increases in the medication, the condition worsened. The dermatologist that I was going to suggested that I go to either New York City or Boston for treatment since the doctors in those cities had more experience in treating this strange disease. I opted for New York City.

After visiting a dermatologist in New York City, I was admitted to New York University Medical Center for treatment in April of 1995. The dermatologist in New York City was very aggressive in treating my disease with high doses of steroids, along with other medications and blood treatments. After a week of the aggressive treatment, the spreading of my pemphigus condition stopped. After three weeks I was sent home to recover.

Slowly I was weaned off of my medications in order to determine what my “maintenance level” was. By May of 1996 I was completely off all medications and have not seen a reocrurrence of pemphigus.

The oral cavity can be affected by a wide variety of disorders characterized by inflammation of the gingiva and/or oral mucosa. In dogs and cats, differential diagnoses for generalized oral inflammatory disorders include plaque-reactive mucositis, chronic gingivostomatitis, eosinophilic granuloma complex, pemphigus and pemphigoid disorders, erythema multiforme, and systemic lupus erythematosus. In addition, endodontic or periodontal abscesses, infectious conditions, reactive lesions, and neoplastic conditions may initially present with localized or generalized inflammation of the oral mucosa. Determination of the underlying cause of an oral inflammatory condition relies on a thorough history, complete physical and oral examination, and incisional biopsy and histopathologic examination of lesions.

Article: http://www.vetsmall.theclinics.com/article/S0195-5616(13)00009-0/abstract

Pictures: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0195561613000090