Friday, March 12, 2010

The Day After - A Doctor's Prognosis

It's been over a day since the Jose Reyes news broke. As was expected, the local writers spit out article after article, usually framing the absolute worst case scenario. The Mets intimated that Reyes would be cleared in 1 to 7 weeks, which somehow led some writers to say he wouldn't be back until June - when he can just as easily return at the end of March. Some writers went with the hGH route, suggesting that Reyes' condition may have been brought on by the use of the illegal drug. Some others bashed the Mets, which is strange since the Mets did nothing to cause Reyes' condition, and did nothing to harm his chances of a quick recovery.

The response by Mets fans was understandable. It's perfectly normal to be upset at what's happened to Reyes, especially after what the Mets and the fans went through last season. However, in this instance, the Mets did absolutely nothing wrong. The people who spoke to soon were Reyes' agents, who claimed on Wednesday that Reyes was basically in the clear, and that he'd be returning to game action within days. That was a mistake, and made the news that Reyes would be sidelined for at least a few weeks sting much more. But it wasn't the Mets who dropped the ball.

In an interview that wrapped up at 4:30 PM on WFAN, Dr. Kenneth Hershon, a well respected New York based Endocrinologist with 30 years of experience, discussed Jose Reyes' diagnosis at length. Dr. Hershon went out of his way to say that he was a Yankees fan - and therefore not biased - and stated that he had called Mike Francesa because lots of what he was hearing about Reyes' condition was inaccurate.

In Dr. Hershon's opinion, the issue that Jose Reyes is dealing with is mild and easily curable. Reyes does not have Graves Disease, and there is no medication for the type of diagnosis Reyes has. According to Hershon, the reason medication is not suitable for this type of condition, is because medication would block the thyroid from picking up iodine. The elevated hormone level that Reyes has needs to be burned off - and Dr. Hershon stated that it usually takes 2 to 3 weeks for the high thyroid levels to normalize.

When Dr. Hershon was asked to address the hGH issue, he said that while it's impossible to rule out hGH as a cause for high thyroid levels (since nothing should ever be ruled out when making a medical diagnosis), it is highly improbable for hGH to cause the type of ailment Reyes has, and would not be something Doctor's would ever look to as a cause. Rather, Dr. Hershon explained, elevated thyroid levels are usually caused by a virus or by supplements that contain iodine. For instances like the one affecting Reyes, once his thyroid levels normalize, the chances of a recurrence are slim to none.

If Dr. Hershon's estimations are correct, and Reyes' thyroid levels return to normal within the 2 to 3 week span (1 to 2 weeks from now), it should only take him another week or two to regain his strength and return to playing games with the Mets. That would put Reyes on track to return sometime between March 26th and April 9th.

I know people will be skeptical until Reyes returns, but I'd trust the opinion of a well respected Doctor over the hyperbole infused ramblings of men who are trying to sell newspapers.

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