Thursday, April 21, 2016

Day +11 (Apr 21)

Scott & I after placing our pin in the HSCT world map.  We're Done!!

Yesterday (Day 10) - part of the group went through the final stage of the transplant.  We received our Rituximab (Rituxan) IV.  Clinica Ruiz uses Rituximab as a booster to the chemo previously given.  

How does it work?

Rituximab is a monoclonal antibody. It has been used to treat certain types of blood cancer (leukaemia and lymphomas) for several years.
Rituximab works by targeting a certain type of immune cell known as a B cell. B cells are thought to contribute to myelin damage in MS, by reducing the number of B cells rituximab may reduce myelin damage in MS. 
So, in a nutshell, the thought is that any nasty mature B cells not caught by the chemo will be handled with these booster infusions.  I will have 5 more infusions every other month for the year.  

My side effects
For me, and some others, there was some reactions to the drug.  My throat felt like it was starting to swell and close up.  My neck, throat, and head were very itchy and I also felt very congested which brought on coughing and sneezing.  The injected Cortisone into my IV, which helped a lot, but still felt the congestion for most of the day.  I became very sleepy and slept through a bit of the 3 hour infusion.  Once we got home, I tried to attend a small get together, but wasn't feeling well, so came to the apartment and slept and slept and slept. 
I feel better this morning, but still not great.  I noticed some tingling in my hands which I hadn't felt for more than a week and I have a killer headache, so just a little off.

What's Next
As far as Clinica Ruiz is concerned, we are done here.  We leave to come home on 4/23 and I can't wait.  I'm very homesick and extremely bored.  I have a packet of info to give to my local neurologist and will follow up with next steps in the States.
Hematopoietic stem cell transplant, HSCT, Multiple Sclerosis, MS, Myelin, Inflammation, Clinica Ruiz, Northwestern University, Chicago, Mexico, Israel, CTCI, Italy Careggi, Russia, Maximov, Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone , Novantrone , Tysabri, Gilenya ,Tecfidera, DIAD, MRI, EDSS

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