Saturday, November 28, 2009

Taking the new immune system out for a spin...

Hello everyone! I hope that those of you in the States had a great Thanksgiving, and those of you everywhere are enjoying your weekend.

I, obviously, have much to be thankful for. Jill and I spend each Thanksgiving with two other families with whom we are very close and whom we are so fortunate to be friends with. This is, I think, our fifteenth year doing it. We've gotten better at cooking (the turkey is downright perfect now) and there are a lot more kids now than when we started!

I honestly don't recall too much about last year's Thanksgiving, but I suspect it was a little toned down. I suspect I was thankful, in a literal sense, that I had been diagnosed as early as I had, but there probably wasn't a lot of joy in the room. This year was a different story. I'm thankful -- with a renewed sense of awareness -- for my health. I'm thankful I was diagnosed early, that I had time for research, that my particular disease was highly responsive to therapy, that I made it through aggressive therapy more or less unscathed, and that I'm in complete remission. I'm thankful for my family and friends, for their support and love. And I am thankful to each of you that has followed my ups and downs and shared in my journey. I don't think you realize how important you have been to my fight. This blog has provided a quiet sense of purpose throughout and a means of focusing on something other than the mechanics of yet another trip to the infusion center. Thank you all, again, very much!

So...I have not had a cold since I recovered from the hospital spell back in March with the attendant pneumonia. A couple of false starts headed off by Tamiflu, but nothing that turned into anything more than a sore throat for a few hours, quickly remedied by the antiviral meds.

That ended yesterday.

I started noticing some chest congestion last night, and it is in full force now. Normally, I wouldn't give it a second thought. But I am on Immune System 3.0 here (actually probably several other revisions along the way) and thus there's a level of import associated with my response to this cold that I normally wouldn't encounter with any old case of the sniffles. How quickly will my intentionally-suppressed immune system mount a recovery? And as my immunoglobulin factory kicks in, will the monoclonal protein start being replicated again?

I can almost feel the Revlimid getting in the way of my immune system...and I can almost feel monoclonal IgG cackling and rubbing its hands together. If push comes to shove, I know the first is really happening, and the second isn't. And there's another shot of Velcade coming up in three days to make sure that's the case.

Will report back as things develop. We'll see how long it takes me to get rid of this...the wife was hit with it for about a week. I remember Kathy Giusti of the MMRF telling me that he rebuilt immune system resulted in her getting every cold that passed through her office. But others have told me that they very rarely get sick any longer. Like other aspects of this disease, it sounds like everybody's experience is different! It should be interesting, if a little nerve-wracking, to see how this plays out...