Saturday, September 10, 2011

Being Sick

Seems like it never fails, school starts and within a couple of weeks we start getting sick.  With Nathan teaching and both girls being in school, I'm always fearful of what virus they may bring home next.  Until this past week, I've been able to avoid being sick, but I woke up around 2:00 a.m. Wednesday running a fever and a sore throat.  Hannah had strep throat the beginning of last week, and Sara got it over the weekend.  I didn't feel well Tuesday, but I thought it was just from the swelling and excessive pain I've been in lately.  When I woke up early Wednesday morning, I knew it was my turn.

It's been awhile since I've been this sick.  My throat feels like someone took a razor blade to it and then set it on fire.  My ears feel like someone has stabbed them with a ice pick.  My eyes are sore from the high fever I can't seem to break, and they've become watery over the past few hours.  My chest hurts from coughing so much, and I'll spare you the details of what's going on with my nose.  My whole body just aches and I'm fighting a migraine.  I know it's all part of the strep, but when the symptoms linger I begin to worry the Cellcept may be the cause of it.

Cellcept is an immunosuppressant drug.  CIDP is an autoimmune disease.  The reason for using Cellcept is to lower my immune system even more than it already is.  The idea is if my immunity can be lowered enough, my body will stop attacking itself.  Although it hasn't been a cure, it seems to have at least kept me status quo.  I'm not getting better, but at least I'm not getting worse.  It's not the first choice for treatment, but because I haven't been able to tolerate any of the other treatments, Dr. Gaw felt this was the next step.  The decision wasn't made lightly.  It's risky.  In fact, when he suggested we give it a try his exact words were, "You need to understand this drug can kill you."  He gave me a lot of information about it to read, and Nathan did a lot of research on his own.  We also spent a few weeks praying about it.  

Finally I just asked Dr. Gaw, If it were you, what would you do?  "I'd take it", he said.  So I agreed to give it try.

I can't even count how many times he said, "This drug can kill you.", and frankly, it's not the most comforting thought.  Having CIDP already compromises my immune system.  Taking cellcept only adds to that.  In addition, it can cause me to get all sorts for weird diseases.  Although it's considered to be an oral form of chemotherapy, it also can cause cancer.  I have to have blood work done every other week.  I have to be very careful about be exposed to communicable diseases.  I don't ask folks to keep their distance and not hug me if they are sick because I don't want you to invade my space or to be rude.  I'm just trying to protect myself from getting sick.  A common cold can turn into a major infection for me, and I'm allergic to so many types of antibiotics.

Every sniffle causes me to be on high alert, so when symptoms linger for several days I tend to get a little panicky.  This is one of those times.  Call it paranoia.  Sometimes I think about stopping the Cellcept completely, but what's the alternative?  Without it I might not be able to walk.  I might not even be able to take care of my basic needs, like feeding myself, brushing my hair or teeth.  So, I'm constantly weighing the pros and cons.

And I pray for the Lord's protection.

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