Last Friday we took Sebastian to his first appointment with a geneticist at OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University). First I have to s...

Geneticists Are Smart

Last Friday we took Sebastian to his first appointment with a geneticist at OHSU (Oregon Health & Science University). First I have to say that this place is pretty amazing. My first thought when I heard it was a university was oh great. At UNR if you went to the student health clinic, you had to wait all day to see a doctor who was still in training. They'd awkwardly examine you and then say "yeah I'm not sure what's wrong with you." After looking it up and talking to people in the area, I learned that OHSU is nothing close to that, but is actually a very popular research hospital with many of the areas best doctors. It turned out that our experience matched what we heard. It was a very good appointment and we were dazzled by the geneticist and how much she knew about this particular disorder (without reading off any paper like the neurologist had to). They also had a genetic counselor in the room who's main purpose seemed to be to help translate many of the terms the geneticist said that we did not know. They were both very nice ladies who were of course smitten with Sebastian.

The geneticist confirmed that Sebastian meets the criteria for having Neurofibromatosis. With his symptoms, there's a 90% chance he has it. Thankfully that was the worst of the news. The rest was lots of good news.
  1. They agreed we need to do the DNA test to be sure. This test will not only test for NF-1 (Neurofibromatosis Type 1), but also SPRED-1 (also called Legius syndrome) which is a condition that has many of the same symptoms, minus the tumor growth. They are discovering more and more people with this one all the time, so here's hoping!
  2. They are good at getting insurance companies to cover this test. They are submitting all of the necessary paperwork and we should hear back in about 2 weeks hopefully.
  3. They have phlebotomists (people that draw your blood, a.k.a. vampires ;-)) at OHSU that are very good with children and know how to make the blood draw experience not traumatic.
  4. Even if his test does come back positive for NF-1, the geneticist does NOT recommend or require regular MRIs unless he develops other symptoms. This is the opposite of the Neurologist who wanted to order his MRI right away. We were very pleased to hear this. First she will recommend an eye exam, where they will be able to see if he has any tumors on his optic nerve (one of the symptoms of the disorder). If they do see something, then he will need to get an MRI. But at least the eye exam will be a lot less invasive (and less expensive) than an MRI.
  5. They agreed he is not showing any symptoms of learning disorders or tumors.
  6. Of people with NF-1, only about 15% experience tumor growth, and of those people, only a small percentage actually require surgery. So it sounds very likely that he could go his whole life without ever actually having a problem from this disorder.

The only other piece of bad news was, once they do the DNA test, it takes an entire month to get results back. But still, at least we should know something for sure in the next couple of months. In the meantime, we will stay positive and off of google. :-)

1 comment:

  1. Yes, stay off of Google! I will be sending good energy to you, Sebastian and Brian. Take care friend! - Scott Patterson