Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Confirmation on the reimmunization issue

In addition to BB saying no reimmunization was necessary, I spoke with SF at City of Hope to get a second opinion on it. At the prestigious multi-cancer center Southwest Oncology Group, BB is the Myeloma czar and SF is the transplant czar. SF oversees transplant protocols for serveral types of cancer, not just Myeloma. He told me he does not reimmunize after an autologous transplant. There are tests he will occasionally run to check levels of antibodies in the blood, and in rare cases he might intervene, but these are definitely the exception and not the rule.

He did mention that part of what is relied upon is "herd" immunity -- that is, the people around us are immunized against this so the likelihood of contracting the disease is, in his words, "very, very, very low." I advised that in my herd at home I have a calf about to turn two and he will be getting various immunizations. These are, I am told, not a problem. The only live virus used is for the polio vaccine which is administered orally and excreted in the stool, so as long as I stay away from dirty diapers (HURRAY! A MEDICAL EXCUSE!!!) I should be fine.

The one issue that does keep coming back is Chicken Pox. I now recall that Acyclovir, the antiviral that I have been on almost constantly since beginning therapy, is designed to keep this at bay. I will probably be on this for a very long time, which is probably just fine. But I will ask BB about this, as well as about international travel that could be required for work -- or even meeting with people from other countries. If I have a meeting with a room full of people from a country that requires special immunization, do I need to be concerned?

I want to also thank my beloved blog followers for letting me know of a couple of reimmunzation stories, including one posted here in the comments that speaks (at least anecdotally if not with statistical backup) of the cancer coming back after the immune system surges in response to the vaccinations. NO THANKS!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. You could ask your son's doc about the de-activated polio vaccine. Of course you lose the diaper waiver but it may be a good idea
    despite that. :o) Safe trip home. After reading of your car crash dreams, I think flying is a good idea!