When I landed at Miami International Airport on Thursday morning en route to Cancun, I made a call to the nephrology office in Charlotte to return the voicemail they had left on Wednesday. They had my latest CMV results. Despite my intensive course of Valcyte, my CMV level of increased. If the next lab result didn’t show any change or got worse, we’d have to consider “other options”. Well, #*&$, I thought. And then I put it out of my mind and went on with the getting busy living stuff.
I called back today to ask what my level is at now. And just like that, I’m now negative for CMV.
So this is good.
Now if I can only come off the damn prednisone. Everyone’s got these great wedding photos, and I’m looking like the Stay-Puff Marshmallow Man (which is partially my own fault for wearing my size-too-big guayabera shirt from a 2004 wedding), but my face is looking moon-like, if not full-moon-face yet.
aka Valcyte, which is used to treat CMV
I usually don’t read the “patient prescription information” but was curious in this case. I had been taking one tablet a day since the transplant, then stopped it a few weeks ago because of my low white blood cell count (which necessitated the switch from one anti-rejection med to prednisone). Now I’m taking four a day to try to get rid of the CMV.
Valganciclovir is an anti-viral drug. It is changed in the body to the active form of the drug called ganciclovir. Ganciclovir can decrease bone marrow function…This effect can cause anemia, decrease your body’s ability to fight an infection, and cause bleeding problems…Seek immediate medical attention if you develop [a bunch of nasty stuff]…May decrease the ability of men to father a baby…has caused tumors in laboratory animals…should be considered carcinogenic…
It is used to prevent disease caused by CMV in people who have received organ transplants. CMV can lead to serious infections in the body…including CMV retinitis, which can cause blindness…This medication helps control CMV retinitis and decrease the risk of blindness. [It] is not a cure for CMV disase. Some people may have worsening CMV retinitis even with treatment.
Now get this. If you don’t have health insurance, 120 tablets of Valcyte (one month’s worth for me) will cost
My cost today:
And those kids are worried about their students loans. Where the &*#^ were they when healthcare reform was under assault? How many of them bothered to vote last year? Ok, breathe… Maybe I should’ve posted this ahead of my last post.
CMV. A common complication for immunosuppressed folks. Fun stuff. Totally treatable. It should become inactive with medication, but still.
I think I’m experiencing an anti-placebo effect. Now that I’ve got this infection and have started meds to treat it, I’m feeling sick.