Sunday, April 29, 2012

Just an update, or rather an "I Meant To Add But Forgot" -date: 

I am certainly not one to embrace all and everything modern medical science has to offer. I can be skeptical, and cautious, and when my rheumatologist first tossed out the idea of Rituxan infusions, I was wary. Especially when I asked about the side effects, and he did happen to mention that occasionally, someone does crap out right then and there while they're being infused! Hey! Doc! That doesn't sound too good to me!

So I went online to the Sjogren's Forum, where I regret to admit, I read but don't contribute. And there were LOTS of Sjogren's sufferers writing in about Rituxan as a "poison," and not to plug into it, and listing all of the other, myriad and multiple medications that they take, instead. Upon reflection, I guess Rituxan is a poison. Its mission: to kill the B cells that are fighting their own neighbors in my body. I even recall one forum writer who had posted a video of herself being infused, and describing how the chemical burned going in, made her horribly ill, etc. How she had to be hospitalized for weeks afterward.

I decided to go through with it anyway. I don't know why. I made sure to tell Handsome and the Offspring and my mother I loved them the night before the big event, because I felt I might not emerge alive.

But I did. More than that, I had no measurable reaction to the infusion whatsoever, aside from the drowsy-drunken hour right after the benadryl goes in, before the actual Rituxin goes in. Oh. And my blood pressure drops into the "are you still alive?" zone--80's over 40's--for the duration of the infusion. But I think that has more to do with my nervousness about an IV. Maybe?

I wish I could say that I get a whole lot of relief from Sjogren's symptoms from the treatment, but I don't think it's been too profound. I'm really trying to take note better, this time.

Maybe in a couple of years, Rituxan will go down as being a big mistake, and I'll regret the treatment. But for now, I don't, and I am crossing my fingers that I'll soon have a little moisture in my mouth, my eyes will be more comfortable, my lungs will be a little clearer and work a little better, I'll have more energy, and all of the other little and big Sjogren's problems will be gone. Well...less troublesome.

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