I’ve only just discovered a new diagnostic test from Prometheus Labs in San Diego, California. It’s called the Prometheus IBD sgi Diagnostic (4th generation). It can diagnose IBDs such as Chron’s Disease, Colitis, etc., distinguish between Irritable Bowel Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome, give you a Chron’s prognosis if you test positive for it, and help guide you and your doctor as to how to proceed. They also have a test for Celiac disease, as well as many other gastrointestinal diseases, and can test to see if your medications are at the right dosage for you and if they are being effective.
And here’s the very best part: it’s a blood test! No scopes through one’s various orifices, no swallowing or injection of slightly radioactive substances, no painfully prodding ultrasound techs, and no risk of sterility from x-rays or CT scans. They get you to draw some blood in your local blood lab using a collection kit they send you, you send it back to them, they look at it, do some genetic testing as well, and voila – you’ve got a fairly reliable answer.
Here’s the bad part: it’s pricey. If it’s not covered by my federal or provincial healthcare, I’m saving my own money to buy the test anyway. It must be prescribed by your doctor, and it costs around $700.00. If you want extras, like the Celiac test, etc., it’ll cost even more. The prices are a bit of a tooth-grinder, but to me, it’ll be so very worth it. It may be able to get rid of a lot of doctor’s guesswork and unnecessary procedures, and if it comes up with a reliable diagnosis, it’ll also save me a lot of time (just consider, fellow Canadians, the amount of time we spend on waitlists for surgeon’s appointments and procedures) and probably a lot of pain.
And as you know, fellow C. Diff. survivors, we are a group very prone to GI diseases, conditions, and cancers. We are also among the most difficult group of people to diagnose, given that the bits of us that hurt are all deeply internal usually still inflamed from the C. Diff., hard to get at, difficult to see, and cause symptoms that are often vague at best and impossible to describe at worst (“Well doc…um, it hurts sort of here…You know, near my belly button? And then it really hurts a lot in a sort of north-easterly direction over here, and there’s often a twinge on this side, over there… And no, it doesn’t matter what I eat… And also, my stomach aches make my back hurt. Yes! I AM serious!”)
Of course, I am no expert on diagnostic tests (except for how nasty most of them make me feel) so don’t take my word for it. I’m not endorsing Prometheus Labs – I haven’t even taken their test yet. The best thing to do is to take a look at the Prometheus Labs site for yourself. They’ll send you a price list if you ask for it, but it’s up to you to ensure your federal, provincial, territorial or private health insurance will cover the cost, so don’t get all test-happy and request “one of everything.” Also, they don’t do private testing – your doctor will have to authorize and request the testing and it will be your doctor who receives the results.