Thursday, February 25, 2010

Finally a plan!

Well, most of you know I've been an inpatient at Duke since Monday. I came here to get rATG, a medication that basically wipes out your immune system. They are hopeful that my lung function will come back up with that, and the chronic rejection will be stabilized with it.

After talking with one of the lung transplant pulmonologists, she thought that it would be a good idea to desensitize me to an IV antibiotic and keep me on it for several weeks (the duration of time that rATG normally keeps your immune system suppressed). The reason for this is my chronic sinusitis, and the tendency for it to flare up and cause an acute infection in my sinuses, which could potentially go to my lungs. I was desensitized to Ceftazidime on Tuesday.

I was supposed to start the rATG yesterday, but my labs showed that once again my bone marrow was suppressed and not producing the red and white blood cells like it should. My numbers had fallen quite a bit from last week's clinic visit to yesterday morning. Because of the drop, it would mean that my body would have a harder time fighting off infection if I would have gotten the rATG yesterday. They decided to hold off on it, and give me two medications that increase the bone marrow production of both white and red cells. They wanted to wait and check my labs today to make sure my bone marrow responded to these two meds.

My labs this morning DID show a big improvement in just one day from the medications. That means that my bone marrow should keep responding, and that rATG should be safe to give. Therefore, and a BIG YAY FOR THIS, I'll be getting my first dose sometime in the next few hours. Side effects from this medication are basically flu-like symptoms, so I may not be feeling the greatest for awhile. If I do well with it, I should be able to go home Sunday or Monday. I'll be on the IV antibiotic and an oral antibiotic at home for 3 weeks, and another IV anti-viral medication that they give after giving rATG. They will also keep me on the two medications they started yesterday that are helping out my bone marrow.

I know it sounds confusing that they would want to raise my white blood cells with the medication they started yesterday, only to suppress them today with the rATG, but there are several different kinds of white blood cells, and all of mine have been suppressed with my bone marrow. With the rATG, they basically want to lower the lymphocytes that target b and t cells and therefore can cause rejection. Neutrophils are the white blood cells that kill off viruses and bacteria, and I need those, so that's the reason for bringing all of them all up first. I hope that made sense. :)

I'll keep everyone posted on how this all turns out. They won't know for awhile if the rATG has helped or not. I'm not sure when I will come back to clinic to repeat my chest xray and have pulmonary function tests again. I hope all of you are doing well!!! Love to all!


Anonymous said...


I'll be thinking of you and keeping you in my prayers. Hope the treatments go well.

Lisa Goetsche

OceanDesert said...

Wow, you explained that really well! You should be a nurse or something! lol ;)

I am thrilled to hear your bone marrow is responding! Your body knows just what to do to be well and I am picturing that little rATG doing JUST what it's supposed to do and you ONLY benefiting from it!!!! I believe it's going to work SOOOO well!!!!!!!!!

LOVE, love, love
Your Cyster Sara

Christy said...

Thanks so much Lisa and Sara, and Sara... I believe that too just like I believed my bone marrow would respond to the meds last night. :)

Meghann "Former Queen of the O2 People" said...

Thanks for keeping us updated on what's going on! I know they are taking good care of you at Duke! wish I could come and visit! Next time i'm in the area, we'll have to get together!

Lisa J. said...

Christy you are in my thoughts and prayers!

Katey said...

Glad you finally have a plan. Glad your body is responding to the bone marrow meds bringing up your White blood cell (neutrophils) and RBC counts! That is so important! I caught a minor infection after the treatment that made my WBC count shoot up to where they didn't want it to be because of having the highly suppressed immune system. But it stabilized, and they started the photo. Praying this works! Keep me updated...praying for you daily and especially that you don't have any of the side effects. Just remember that it is possible to get them AFTER the treatment is over too :)