Wow it's been way too long since I've updated this!

The past several weeks have been a roller coaster but we are now on day 10 of a pretty quiet streak.

In a nutshell I have spent far too much time in ER's and OR's on account of severe allergies to the antiseptics they had me using on my central line - lost my PICC line, had a tunneled line placed in my chest again and now that we are using the right tapes and the right antiseptics (Iodine - the downside is my chest is dark orange all the time now - but at least it's sterile and not hivey!) things have settled down nicely.

I have gained a bit of weight (yay!! mostly fluids - but there is some 'real' weight in there too we think!), and the massive doses of IV steroids they had to use to treat the allergic reactions (basically it would start as a few red marks around the dressing, and within hours I was completely covered in hives and my mouth was going numb - it was dramatic!!) have actually stirred my gut up a bit and I've been able to tolerate some tube feeds, and some oral food! Nowhere near enough to go off TPN or even really cut back much, and I cannot drink enough to stay hydrated, but it's a very small improvement - after nothing but decline, a very small improvement is welcome.

All that said - I am still totally dependant on having people around. I cannot drive more than up the block to the school and back - and even that has to be carefully timed with my meds. I am on lots of narcotics and antinauseants just to be able to function, so my ability to think rationally and stay focused etc is limited - While it's hard financially and emotionally to need Dave home full time right now, it is necessary.

We have been doing odd jobs (making perogies for family, knitting, sewing, Dave is clearing snow, shovelling roofs, odd jobs etc) when I'm well enough to prop up our income - but at this point Dave is on the hunt for full time employment that is flexible enough to have him here when I need him. A tall order it turns out.

That aside - I am doing well.

I am hopeful. The fact that the IV steroids (and massive doses of oral prednisone I'm continuing on) did anything is extremely encouraging for future improvement.

My GI appointment this week was a positive and negative one - but we are focusing on the positive (that there is hope for some improvement, and that right now, the TPN and fluids are keeping me strong, giving me energy, and keeping me at HOME). The downside is it's clear my gut is not happy. I start the day out look somewhat OK, and by dinner time I look 6 months pregnant. No exaggeration - I am in my maternity pants and was asked when I was due the other day. It's shocking really. The GI said he has no idea if or how much things will improve but he told me to stay hopeful. So I will.

We have a few 'next steps' for my treatment.

1. Pulse Steroids (IV massive doses, every few weeks) is one option - good: it works. Bad: LOTS of side effects (bad ones)

2. Rituximab is another option - it's a Chemotherapy drug, and it is also brutal - but can be miraculous for my condition sometimes.

3. Mayo Clinic - at this point Mayo is more for academics sake - we have local docs willing to treat my autoimmune condition, using protocols developed at Mayo. The Mayo neuro team is booking about 5 months away so I wont be seeing them anytime soon - but my local docs are going to go forward with treatment trials and hope for the best.

4. My family and friends have been nothing short of amazing. You all know who you are, and you all need to know I am humbled and proud to know you and call you family.

Right now, Today, I had a good day. My family is going to bed under one roof tonight, and for that I'm thankful.

Thanks for checking,


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