Sorry it has been so long since I last wrote. Life has been kinda crazy lately. Since my last post I had my sinus surgery, which went well but left me unable to smell... anything :(. I also got to go out and visit Michael's family and home town for a much shorter time than planned but at least I still got to go. I started and finished my final semester of college, graduated with honors, got a new apartment and a job! Oh and took a semi spontaneous trip to London which was fabulous. You can say things are going pretty well, and they are... or at least were.
Around Thanksgiving I began to develop some shortness of breath. A trip to my doctor confirmed that my breathing was indeed down. We decided to keep an eye on it, start some antibiotics and go from there. I did well, was able to enjoy Thanksgiving with my family, return back to school and finish my last few weeks strong. On Thursday of this past week I went back to my doc and unfortunately discovered that my lung function had dropped even more and this time much more sharply.
All my doctors were understandably concerned and had me fly straight to duke (do not pass go do not collect $200... oh wait wrong thing :P) Anyway. I got to Duke late Thursday night and was given a bronch the next morning to figure out what was going on. The results came back as I suspected, I have both froms of rejection :(.
I have dealt with acute rejection up until this point but this is the first time I have had chronic rejection. Although the names sound similar they are not the same thing. The biggest difference between the two is that acute rejection can be stopped and reversed. Chronic rejection is not really something that can be treated it is more managed or slowed. Luckily the doctors believe we caught it early and that the treatment will be somewhat helpful. Only time will really tell.
My treatment is a medication called rATG. It is a substance derived from rabbits that essentially attacks human immune cells. (I've done a lot of research so if you want to know more let me know).
This treatment is the next level of rejection treatment and will wipe out my immune system even more. It will be crucial for me to be carful about germs from the next few months at least. Hopefully this treatment will do the trick to fix the acute rejection and at least temporarily delay the progression of the chronic rejection, but only time will tell. I will have to come back to Duke more frequently for bronchs after this and to keep an eye on my white blood cells and red blood cell count as this treatment can flare up my cancer again. Luckily my treatment is going well and I have had almost no side effects. If I were to experience them they are some pretty nasty ones, so I am quite please with that.
This whole ordeal comes once again as a reminder that life is extremely unpredictable and things must be held onto very loosely. I am currently sitting in a hospital room in North Carolina. A week ago I was sitting in my Grandmothers house in Aspen enjoying Christmas time with my family and dreaming of sitting on a boat this week enjoying fresh sea air as I was scheduled to go on my first cruise ever. What I find kind of ironic is my cruise was to celebrate the end of cancer. Hopefully I will be able to go at some point. For now I'm where I need to be even if it isn't exactly where I would like to be. At least it is still a break for me so it isn't interfering with my new job and Michael is not in school right now so he was able to fly out and spend time here, which has been awesome. Having people around really does make it much more tolerable!
Anyway until next time!
Anna the lemon (or bunny lemon as we are saying now!)