Monday, September 7, 2009

An insomniac's thoughts on the Indian subcontinent

Can't sleep. Not sure why. Part of it is pain from the shingles, which though getting better is still troublesome. Part of it is wanting to get the results of the blood tests back on Tuesday -- if it's zero, it means I'm almost certainly in complete remission. If it's not, it's a bad thing.

At any rate, can't sleep.

I received an email from a friend of mine with whom I used to work, who now does charitable work for the Gates foundation in India (she is, herself, Indian). It was great to hear from her (hi there, AR, now reading along!)

I also received an email from a fellow MM traveler, also initialed AR oddly enough although she is from Jersey, not Mumbai! :) In our back-and-forth the concept of Valtrex (a vaccine for shingles) as a prophylactic came up. My dear mother, bless her heart, keeps insisting that I get this (it's routine for people over 60) but doesn't quite grasp that it's a live vaccine and my system can't handle it.

Between these two seemingly unrelated contacts, I started thinking about how MM patients that have gone through SCT cannot tolerate live vaccines. The list of live vaccines could include those famous shots that people need before traveling to India or Africa. So I may not be going anywhere all that exotic. I wonder how this might impact my career?

In any case, I think I need to learn more about the whole vaccination thing. When I do my consult at City of Hope for this stupid portacath, I will try to also get in to see Dr. SF to discuss vaccination theory, antibodies in a post SCT immune system, whether I'm really susceptible to everything again, etc.

Always something more to learn -- and that applies much more broadly than MM, of course.

Did I mention that I'm having a breakfast meeting in a couple of weeks with Kathy Giusti of the MMRF? I've spoken with her on the phone in the past, and I'm really looking forward to finally meeting her. I hope to try to give something back by volunteering some time as a board member if they have a use for me. We shall see.