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More Good times with an Old Friend
from Faust

Hi, Ed!  Funny story:  Here I am going through the 'Favorites' folders on my work computer, because I'll be leaving for school at the end of next month, and here I've remembered how great this site is... Wait, maybe I should back up a little.

It's a shame I haven't been keeping up very well with developments at FlakeHQ — I really like the expansion of the Creativity section, and the interviews are a fabulous idea that should provide a great resource.  (And what the heck is this about cancer?  I definitely need to read some archives when I get home later.)  It's just that I've been so darned busy, I haven't had time to think very much about my P, and I guess I didn't notice how big a deal it is that thanks to two-years-plus on Enbrel, not even my arthritic feet hurt too terribly much after 8 hours working in the office plus another 8 running around working in the Emergency Department.  Shoot. I guess I should back up a little more.

Since I last wrote in (which, oh my gawd, seems to be roughly four and a half YEARS, how did that happen?) I have continued to stay gainfully employed, so health insurance and my beloved Dovonex have been constants. I've had hookups and breakups, including a long flirtation with Methotrexate. And I found a new career direction.

About the Methotrexate issue: in the end, we decided that we got along well enough, but we didn't have that all-important sense of spark. It worked fairly well for me, but it never worked with much enthusiasm. And for my part, I was willing to go without a drop of alcohol for two years, but when I really thought about it, I didn't want to make the sacrifices or take the risks of a truly life-long commitment (one liver biopsy was enough, thanks). And a number of people I trust and respect let me know that too much time with Methotrexate would be bad for me. So a couple of years ago, I decided to let MTX go, and see other medications instead.

My first trembling injection of Enbrel had been in January 2003, and after a couple months I was ready to leave MTX behind and let Enbrel be the main focus of my attention. (By now, Dovonex was more like family to me anyway — and since that relationship is strictly topical, Enbrel has no problem with it.)

Anyway, a combination of factors led to some big changes. My arthritis symptoms pretty much disappeared; my cane is sitting on the frame above the kitchen door now.  My life-long interest in the bizarre inner workings of my own body's processes, together with some timely ideas planted by interesting people, eventually resulted in me spending time as a hospital volunteer.  That in turn led to me earning certification as an EMT, and getting hired part-time as a technician in a busy Emergency Dept with a great residency program, where I discovered that only the very weirdest parts of the TV show are accurate, and people who work in medicine are just the sort I want to work with.

As of this-coming June, well, I will be, ahem ... well, getting ready for medical school. I'm leaving my full-time job and starting down the long road that will turn my part-time one into full-blown doctorhood (in approximately 2011).

So I'll try not to be such a stranger, as I move out to New England to turn my brain into mush with chemistry, biology, physics, and even tougher subjects. On the plus side, there's a chance that sooner or later I'll be able to make sense of the research reports, the biochemistry, the pharmacokinetics of TNFa-inhibitors and other topics of interest to us, if only someone can make them penetrable.

It's great to see that things are as vibrant and active as ever, and this great resource for flakers endures. I'll need some time to bring myself up to speed, of course, but I'll try to pop in from time to time.

Thanks for being here!  -Faust


Ed’s Response:  What a joy!  I feel like a proud father — with a son going to medical school.  (My nightmares about one day relying on Medicare are dwindling already as I have these visions of a loving son providing all the care I need...) 

Readers:  Here’s the Faust legacy at FlakeHQ...

August ’98:  Dovonex Worked - While I was Insured

September ’98: An Update & Motivational Speech

November ’00: Rethinking the Big C vs. the Big P

January ’01: Ibuprofen Made My P Worse

I’m also delighted to hear after two years on Enbrel it continues to work for you.  I'm especially jealous of the way it has kept your P-arthritis at bay.  I’m currently having what looks to be preliminary good luck on Raptiva, but of course that biologic doesn’t help arthritis like Enbrel does.

Until I read this email it had never occurred to me to think of my drug relationships in gender fashion — now I can’t help it.  Every time I think of your Enbrel putting up with your Dovonex “because it’s strictly topical” I laugh out loud. 

My good sir, we are impoverished by not hearing from our Faust more often.  Here’s an assignment for you:  As you wend your way through medical school, think about your experiences in terms of “why derms are the way they are.”  Bad, good or whatever.  Give us the student’s inside opinion.  And, of course, we expect it to be a little devilish.  Why else would we call you “Faust”?  -Ed

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