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Courtney

Courtney
taken 8/4/07

Courtney and her kids

Courtney and her kids
taken 8/4/07

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Clinic Visits- April 17, 2008 and May 1, 2008

I have had two clinic visits since I last posted. A lot can change in just two visits!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

My friend, Michelle, accompanied me on Thursday, April 17. Michelle is a great friend (and I am so blessed so have so many of them) and she is always so practical and pragmatic that she won’t let me worry about the “what ifs”. (Thanks, Michelle)

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy having company with me during clinic visits. Well, first off, I probably shouldn’t be driving myself because certain medications “may effect” response times (the roads are safer without me behind the wheel). Second, while I’ve been getting great news at almost every visit since February, I still like having the comfort of having someone with me (it’s that one brain cell that runs around my head worrying about the “what ifs”). Third, and most importantly, I love spending time with my friends (many of whom I haven’t been able to visit with because of the crappy cancer thing).

Again, I was fortunate for only one stick for the blood draw. I think being warmer and drinking more water beforehand helps. We got back to an exam room pretty quickly. Maybe time just passed faster chatting with Michelle. Anyway, vitals were good and all my labs looked great. I really need to take a picture of Dr. V’s smile—it’s the best!

I always hate having to mention any unusual symptoms to her because it’s always an “Uh-oh” kind-of thing. Just the night before, I started having a sore throat. I really hate sore throats now because that was the one major symptom I had when I was diagnosed in September. A look with a flash light revealed that I had developed a case of oral thrush. Yeah, I know. Oral thrush (a type of yeast infection).

Three of our four kids developed thrush while nursing. It is not pleasant as a nursing mom either! The kids were always treated with this yucky yellow Nyastatin suspension like 4-5 times a day where I had to use a dropper to wash the insides of their cheeks. I always had to be treated with some topical antifungal medication too. It was always a huge pain to treat because if not 100% treated it just keeps coming back. I feel just plain awful for babies that get oral thrush. It really is unpleasant! Dr. V prescribed oral antifungal tablets, Clotrimazole, to take 5 times a day. The tablets had to dissolve slowly under the tongue (like over 30-40 minutes) and tasted weird.

We’ve probably mentioned before how my immune system isn’t fully functional. Much like an infant, I am susceptible to many common infections that can cause more serious complications. Fortunately, thrush isn’t life threatening but its appearance is a visible sign that I still don’t have a normal functioning immune system. The regime of chemotherapy for a bone marrow transplant had two specific jobs: to wipe out the bone marrow (the source of my cancer) and to destroy (erase) my immune system. The doctors only want to fight one battle: the DONOR cells attacking MY body. The second battle being MY body attacking the DONOR cells that will become the new (cancer free) blood source. Anyways, if you’d really like to learn about your immune system and how it works go to: http://www.howstuffworks.com/immune-system.htm. Sorry for getting side tracked and rambling on about that (but it explains why the recovery from an allogeneic transplant takes so long.) I have to “grow” a new immune system (and even get re-immunized later).

So, back my visit with Dr. V… Dr. V finished the visit with saying “see you in a month!” Whoa! A month?! Wow!

(Oh yeah, I forgot to mention I had a chest x-ray, too. Initial report is clear).

But, alas, a month’s wait was not meant to be. As I’ve mentioned before, I do not tolerate medications in the “–azole” family (anti-fungals). So, taking the fluconazole with the clotrimazole (for the oral thrush) really wiped me out. I really started feeling sick again with nausea. I also started having joint pain in my hands, knees and ankles. So back to the clinic I went.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Todd was able to go with me to this visit. I have always hated long visits but the longer they end up being is just more time that we can spend together. (And, no, I don’t make up symptoms just so I can be with Todd—it’s just a bonus).

Anyway, labs revealed that I was slightly anemic again (caused by certain medications that suppress RBC production). No problems with the insurance company this time and I got a shot of Arenesp. Dr.V also said that my symptoms aren’t related to GVHD (chronic) which would be reflected in certain lab work and she just didn’t see it. We went through my list of medications and my complaints. She decided that any benefit from several medications that often cause these side effects weren’t worth it. The result is I no longer have to take Lipitor (high cholesterol), Norsvasc (hyper-tension), Clotrimazole (thrush—which had cleared up), Fluconazole (prophylactic anti-fungal and Prograf stabilizer) and Entocort (GI steroid). Whoa! The hope is that a lot of my crummy symptoms will subside and she’ll start weaning the Prograf dose. Right now, getting off the steroid and reducing the Prograf is really important.

I’ll be back in clinic in two weeks. Hopefully, with more good news!

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am glad to hear you are weaning off medications that means the sun is getting brighter in the horizon
Rhonda, WI

Amy said...

Courtney,

It is so great to hear about your recovery and how you are no longer needing all those meds. God is good and He most definitely hears our prayers for you. I love checking in with you to see all the miracles in your life.

God Bless
Amy

Emily R said...

ok, it was SOOO great to see you yesterday! you look amazing, and i am just so happy that things are going so well for you!

Charles said...

Hey Court,
I'm sorry I've been absent from this blog ... no good excuse, just life intervening. I'm really happy to hear you're doing better and being weaned off all the meds, though I have to say, I'm taking some of those meds, like cholesterol and high blood pressure meds ... so I sympathize ... keep improving - we're all praying for you.

 

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