Today I finally posted in the Facebook group I joined for MDS support. I had joined, but unfollowed the group, as the posts that filled my newsfeed were really depressing and bringing me down. So I checked back in with them, and asked if there were any others close to my age that were diagnosed (since everything I've read is people in their 60s or so.) To my surprise, there were a few (hey! I'm not the only 30 something year old!), and some parents of children who were diagnosed. That broke my heart even more. No child should have to endure the stress of a disease like this.
I then asked if anyone knew of any cause for their MDS, other than previous chemo and radiation from another cancer battle. Many MDS cases are linked to previous chemo, so I figure those are pretty self explanatory. The main reasons that came up were the previous chemo/radiation and benzene/xylene exposure.
One post really caught my eye though. She mentioned that she'd read a possible link between autoimmune disease and MDS.
A light bulb went off in my head!
Ever since high school, I suffered with psoriasis. Like, bad psoriasis. Through the years I was treated with topical steroids to control it, but what really helped it clear up almost completely was changing the products I was using (no more antibacterial soaps, chemical filled lotions/soaps, etc.) and my move to California. I attributed it mainly to probably allergies from pollens in Texas and the products I used, that aggrivated my psoriasis.
In my previous research on the affect of breast implants causing illness, I came across a great study done by Dr. Susan Kolb, where she discusses the presence of the genetic or HLA type, HLA-DR. She states that a small percentage of patients who become ill from their silicone or saline breast implants, and have this HLA-DR gene, and they can be highly reactive to silicone exposure with an immediate and different reaction, primarily autoimmune in nature. Also that rashes and elevated ANA could be present.(1) Along those lines, I also found that HLA-DR is also involved in several autoimmune conditions, disease susceptibility and disease resistance. (2)
Now, knowing this, I have a positive result from my bone marrow biopsy that I do in fact have the HLA-DR gene. This proves that I have a high percentage of having a reaction to silicone exposure, as well as autoimmune disease. It's already been proven to me, since I've struggled with psoriasis.
Could this mean then, that with the HLA-DR gene, the previous autoimmune disease, and the silicone exposure would make me a prime suspect to develop MDS? Since I have the HLA-DR gene, could the implants have just triggered an immune response that in turn started causing my DNA to show aberrations like the 7q- that I have with my MDS?
Dr. Kolb goes on to show that the research from Harvard and Mayo that led to the FDA re-approving silicone breast implants, did not identify a direct causal link between implants and any known autoimmune disease. She does point out that they do cause new autoimmune diseases that have yet to be categorized or discovered by medical science.
So now knowing this research is out there, and you know I'll continue to search, it's opening my eyes to a much clearer picture of how this could have occurred in my, otherwise healthy, body. After finding out the carcinogenic ingredients in implants, mixed with implanting them in my chest wall, when in fact I never should have been allowed to if they had tested for the HLA-DR gene prior to implantation, it's no wonder my body/immune system would start to malfunction. I was likely pre-disposed to something like this, and the years of toxic chemicals that my immune system has been fighting have become too much for my cells to attack.
Also, I found on the MDS Beacon website, an alternative theory. They suggested that genetic and/or environmental factors that make patients susceptible to autoimmune diseases may play the same role for the development of MDS and AML.(3) So the fact that implants can cause autoimmune reaction/disease, would support that they can also cause MDS.
To top it all off, I've battled with anxiety for about 13 years now, so the constant state of being stressed didn't help my immune system. The fact that anxiety will suppress the immune system likely just made it like an open door for disease to walk right in and make a nice cozy home.
Well guess what disease? You're getting evicted.