Thursday, May 15, 2008

day +268

Yesterday morning I had my monthly checkup with Dr. C-M. It went very well.

My counts were fine: HGB - 14.4; WBC - 5.9; Platelets - 284. I received the second dosage of the Hepatitis B vaccine as well as the first of the Hepatitis A vaccine series.

Since starting the reimmunization process about one month ago, I've been trying to educate myself so I checked out the website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC). There I found the Recommended Adult Immunization Schedule for October 2007 - September 2008. Sloan has its own revaccination program but it shares the CDC's recommendation that the Zoster (Shingles), Varicella (Chickenpox) and the Measles, Mumps, and Rubella (MMR) vaccines are off-limits to immunosuppressed patients. I was told yesterday, however, that it is possible that after two years post-allo SCT, one may receive Varicella and MMR. I try to keep up with epidemiological news. Therefore, when I learned recently of a spike in the number of measles cases in the U.S. I was curious to ask more about the reimmunization process at yesterday's appointment.

The only hiccup recently has been that for about the past seven days when I have opened my mouth widely or chewed, my left jaw has felt tighter than normal. My right jaw is just fine, but for some reason the left side feels strained. I don't think my teeth are the problem, because I don't feel any tooth pain. Moreover, I saw my dentist about six weeks ago and my report was clean. I told Dr. C-M about my left jaw yesterday, but he's not concerned.

I asked him for an update about my restrictions. Salads in restaurants are still off limits, but I can eat a fresh salad (non-bagged) at home. Sushi remains a no-no. Ughhhh. I was very pleased to learn recently that Cliff is eating sushi again after one year post-allo SCT. I'm looking forward to rejoining the ranks of sushi eaters all around the world in the not too distant future. With regards to mass transit, he said to wait until June because remarkably there are still cases of the flu going around. I also asked him if I could attend a ball game. He said sure just be mindful of people nearby who may appear sick.

Finally, I wanted to get the green light for that two month long trip I've envisioned to which he agreed. Learning about my reasons for traveling this summer coupled with my interest in photography, Dr. C-M seemed pleased to be understanding more about me - the person - not just the patient. As he said, he and other doctors are so used to dealing with the medical aspect of their patient's lives that sometimes the more nuanced parts of the individuals' lives are difficult to discover. A lot of that, I think, falls on the patient who decides how much of his life he wants his medical team to be a part of. This is exactly why I invited Dr. C-M, Alli, Ceceile, and many others there to last month's art show. I wanted to show them a different side of me. I wanted to show them what I have been doing during these eight months since my transplant. I wanted to thank them for helping to make this possible.


Comment Blogger Michelle J said...

Great post! I am so very happy you got the go ahead for your trip! Peace dude! Wanna get together for lunch soon?

7:31 PM  
Comment Blogger Candace Kuchinski said...

Hi Duane,

Speaking of traveling and photography, I feel I should tell you about a photography school here in Maine (like 20 minutes from my house) that is very well known and does summer workshops. Below is the link. Perhaps if any of the topics interest you, you could spend a week in Maine this summer.

9:26 PM  

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