Saturday, November 10, 2012

Hemoglobin Surprise

Just when I thought that all of the pieces were beginning to fit together, I was sideswiped by a new problem.  While at work, I received a call from my nephrologist's office.  My hemoglobin is dangerously low (6.6) and I need to come to the hospital to be admitted.  Yikes.

I was aware that the last hemoglobin was lower than normal at about 8.6, but I attributed that to the fact that I'm not taking my vitamin with iron any more and the fact that my stomach has decided that I don't like meat much anymore.  I ate a few helpings of spinach and didn't really worry about it.

After getting the call from my doctor, I headed home to pack and let a few people know what was happening.  I called Minnesota, but Dr. Bellin was out.  Dr. Hering would be informed.  When I was admitted and put in my room, I learned that I was supposed to be receiving a transfusion.  This alarmed me because I wasn't sure what the affects would be to my islets.  After some deliberating, it was decided that Erythropoitin would be administered to see if it would raise my hemoglobin.  The next day, I was up to 7.1 and thought everything was fine.  Crises averted.  But the following day, I dropped to 6.3 and the next day to 6.2.  I was feeling just awful and it was decided to go forward with the transfusion.  Due to Dr. Hering's input, I received blood that was CMV negative, irradiated, and HLA washed to remove as many antibodies as possible.  I got 3 units and started to feel better that day.

My hemoglobin went up to 11.6.  I wasn't feeling so light-headed and weak.  My appetite returned.  I was finally allowed to take a shower.  I had been feeling a tightening pain in my chest for the last day or so.  That gradually disappeared.  I was finally free from my IV.  It was a good day.

The next day, my hemoglobin went down to 10.5.  I had been warned that this might happen, so I wasn't worried. I was discharged at about 6pm and made it to the polls just in time to vote.

The immunosuppressant Myfortic was deemed the culprit in all of this and was discontinued the day I was admitted.  It was replaced with Imuran, another immunosuppressive drug.

I've spent the last few days mostly convalescing and am feeling stronger each day.  I tried my exercise bike last night and its amazing the difference between then and the last time I tried it.  Its a strange feeling to know that this new reserve energy that I can actually feel is because of other peoples' blood.  I'm very thankful to them.

There are still some loose ends.  My kidneys are still under stress.  I'm still having a recurring low-grade fever.  Right now, I'm still overwhelmed by my current issues, but know that these things need to be addressed soon.  I won't feel completely better until these problems are solved.  They are both energy depleting.  But, one thing at a time.