The movie centers around a husband and wife, played by Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon, whose son Lorenzo was suffering from mysterious symptoms no doctor knew how to cure. After consulting numerous doctors and failing to receive a diagnosis, they decided to devote their lives to researching their sons debilitating disease. They eventually found a certain oil, containing ingredients they believed would help their son. In the movie, after convincing a doctor to create the particular strain needed, the oil did indeed improve and prolong the life of Lorenzo.
But This is True
Based on a true story, Lorenzos Oil is, of course, a Hollywood movie taking liberties to heighten time and circumstance, and therefore should not be confused with the *literal* story, but the point seems the same: though the risk of conducting research leading nowhere is a palpable reality when undergoing it, the persistence of science and medicine in continuing to cure disease and other conditions can lead to discoveries of great importance.
Dr. Katherine Molnar-Kimbers Story
Dr. Molnar-Kimber is a retired research associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania. Publishing widely on numerous diseases, she started focusing her attention on Rheumatoid Arthritis when she was 48. Why? Because Dr. Molar-Kimber was not only a researcher: she was also a patient. At the age of 14, she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). At the age of 48, her condition worsened. She then decided to apply her cultivated problem-solving intensely towards RA. Since doing so, and through tireless tests and research, her RA indeed improved, as did her knowledge of the condition she carried with her since adolescence.
Dr. Molnar-Kimbers young life, like other sufferers of RA, was a series of doctor visits, inflammation flare-ups, swelling in the joints, and trying numerous treatments. However, rather than allowing RA to completely disable her life, she lived hers fully, dealing with her flare-ups while enjoying hiking, yoga, and swimming. She ultimately received her Ph.D. in immunology.
When at 48 Dr. Molnar-Kimbers flare-ups became more frequent and intense, she said, It felt like somebody was stabbing me in my joints with daggers and needles…at a particularly low point, I slept on the train ride to and from work and walked with a cane.
Equipped with extensive experience of constant, scientific problem-solving, she decided to apply her acumen as researcher and dive deeply into the examination of RA. She states in an exclusive interview on Lifescript.com, As an immunologist, I researched and published articles on many diseases, she says. I turned the same scientific rigor to finding relief from an extremely persistent, painful RA flare. As a result, she was able to vigorously apply her findings to her own condition, which, after much research and testing, greatly improved.
She eventually started her own website: Rheumatoid Arthritis Decisions. The website possesses a plethora of information, research, and the latest news on RA for those struggling with it. Its important to note she makes a disclaimer on her website that the information found there does not serve as a substitute for seeking out medical care with a professional.
The Scientific Method
In her research, she found that a combination of diet, medication, learning and then attenuating to certain triggers for her flare-ups. For example, she discovered the smell of perfume was a trigger, and adjusted to it accordingly. These personal findings, though, and consequent adjustments, required developing a keen awareness of diet and surroundings, and learning to be in tune with her own body by methodically testing through the process of elimination, one at a time.
She suggests, One way to help hone in on your personal triggers and prevent flares is to keep a daily health journal that tracks your activities, diet, medications, emotional framework and even the weather.
It seems what Dr. Molnar-Kimber discovered through scientific problem-solving, is that there isnt one magic bullet for controlling RA, but rather a combination of treatments. She says, consider making only one change at a time so you can [see] whether its helping your body heal or increasing symptoms. Remember, what works for one person may not necessarily work for you. The process of developing this awareness is akin to conducting a scientific experiment. If you do have the disease, taking the time and energy to develop this awareness with methodical rigor can be beneficial. It is a way, in fact, of taking control of your life:
Its Your Life
Think for yourself, Dr. Molnar-Kimber advises, because the best treatment options for you may not be the most popular. Watch and listen to your body to see if the new treatment helped after taking it. Physicians and rheumatologists can offer suggestions of promising therapies, but you need to make the choice. Forty years ago, a talented, compassionate and brilliant physician advised me, You are young, Kathy. You only have one body that you need for the rest of your life. Take care of it.
The advice this compassionate physician gave to Dr. Molnar-Kimber is good advice for everyone regardless of physical condition. Science and medicine are working to help and heal us. But we can also be working, in tandem with them, in learning about our bodies, and how best to take care of them.
- What One Sufferer Learned about Rheumatoid Arthritis Treatments, February 15, 2016, accessed February 21, 2016, http://www.lifescript.com/health/centers/rheumatoid_arthritis/articles/what_one_sufferer_learned_about_rheumatoid_arthritis_treatments.aspx?p=1.
- Natural Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis, accessed February 21, 2016, http://www.rheumatoid-arthritis-decisions.com/.