In the fall of 2016, we decided to partner with Chronic Illness Bloggers and provided several bloggers the chance to read Dr. Lawrence Afrin’s Never Bet Against Occam: Mast Cell Activation Disease and the Modern Epidemics of Chronic Illness and Medical Complexity’ (2016, Sisters Media, LLC) in exchange for an honest review. Below is an excerpt from Jamie’s review posted on her blog Jamie Chases Butterflies. 

Here are some key things that I took away from reading Dr. Afrin’s book:

  • MCAS patients are challenging to diagnosis because doctors assume that they have another systemic inflammatory syndrome than Mast Cell Activation. The reason why, because their blood test results are often times on the borderline or are told the tests came back negative. (My personal thought, I know how this feels. When I first started on my Chronic Illness Journey, my biopsies were negative, along with blood tests. The only test that was positive was the ANCA. They couldn’t figure me out, in some instances they still can’t. I still don’t have a clear diagnosis because of it.)
  • Mast cells are in every tissues in our bodies, and they are even in our nerve cells. That means that there is an extensive cross talk between the mass cells and the nerve cells. That is why it is ludicrous to think that all of the nerve cells and mass cells wouldn’t be affected by the same chronic condition. Our bodies are so interwoven together that it makes sense to me and to Dr. Afrin that things are connected and affects both types of cells.
  • I learned, because I didn’t know this before. I’m glad that I know now that hemoglobin job is to get the oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of our body. Another job is to take carbon dioxide from the tissues to the lungs. There are two different types of hemoglobin’s. HbS and HbA.
  • Our immune system is awesome. Its job is to defend our bodies from knowns threats. Our immune system can manufacture new defenses on demand from unknown threats that may arise. There are two major arms in our immune system. The cellular arm and the humoral arm. The cellular arm consists of types of cells, such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, and mast cells with roles to play in asserting our immunity. Our humoral arms that consists of specialized proteins called antibodies that are made from by other immune cells called plasma cells that are made to recognize a specific threat and a call to arms to deal with the threat.”

To read Jamie’s full review, please visit