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Thursday, June 07, 2007

Autoimmune Response

I have to admit that if I wasn't pretty busy, I'd probably start obsessing a little bit. Found out Monday that my CRP is continuing to go up. Well drat. As I've mentioned before it's a non specific test which could mean a lot of things. At first the doctor who has been testing it said if it stayed where it was, he'd probably want to refer it back to my GP who would probably refer me to a doc for a cardio vascular work-up. That was my first question when I found out that it was still going up. The rheumatologist said no that the range it's in now is too high for him to consider it might relate to a cardio issue. So that leaves a whole string of autoimmune diseases and cancer. Since my PET/CT scan in March was good news, I'm not too worried about the cancer angle. The problem is that the treatment for so many of the other candidates would be autoimmune suppressants which wouldn't be a good idea. It's one thing to have an occasional steroid shot but quite another to do systemic steroids. I'm not willing to take that chance without something life threatening going on. The doc said to be sure to mention it to my oncologist and for now we're sticking with the status quo. The rheumatologist will keep ordering blood work but unless I get worse, there isn't much point in doing a lot of tests to try to determine if I have one of the autoimmune diseases because the treatments are counter indicated. That's the gist of it. I'm glad I have a regular follow up next week with the medical oncologist I started seeing in December. Funny how it's working out, I see the rheumatologist again in September, and a week after that appointment I see the surgical oncologist who is following me so I continue with another cycle of rheumatologist and oncologist appointments but it's different oncologists. I'll also get more blood work done in July as the rheumatologist re-tests every two months. It's ironic that the reason he tested the CRP to begin with was to err on the side of caution but he was certain that I had a vitamin D deficiency. I was referred to him on the slight chance that I might have lupus. He said I'm sure your vitamin D is low because of the balance issues and bone pain but I'll test the CRP as a nod to making sure nothing else is off. Since I did have a low vitamin D level, he thought his instincts were correct and the fact that my CRP was elevated didn't mean that much as so many different things can cause that but at this point with it continuing to go up rather than down over a 10 month period, it's more problematic. The way it stands now though is if I can continue to do okay with my current pain management, there isn't much point in trying to dig too deep into why I'm having this funky blood work because the treatments could be risky for me as a melanoma patient. When I wrote my Sunday blog entry, I thought I was used to this stuff but it wasn't reassuring to find out Monday that the CRP is continuing to get higher. I'm glad I had fairly recent scans because it makes it easier not to worry too much about whether it might be connected to the cancer. I googled with melanoma and autoimmune and was surprised to read about a treatment for metastatic melanoma which was in trial where they injected tissue (not sure if tissue is the right word as I'm doing this from my failing memory) from people with autoimmune disease into a melanoma patient to try to elicit a response that would fight the cancer. That certainly adds to the hunch I've had for a long time that my body has mounted it's own little defense. This is all supposition but it does make me wonder.

4 comments:

Kim said...

Your photos bring great joy, my friend.
I am sorry for the puzzle of your latest round of testing, but I think you are right about the possibility that your body mounting its own special defense, caring for you and keeping you safe.
******
No need to teach an eagle to fly.
-Greek Proverb

mlittle said...

Carver~

I read often, but seldom post. I'm sorry you are being put in a position to worry about your bloodwork and what it means. I think you are right about your body mounting a defense.

I hope they figure it all out, and it turns out to be more of a nuisance than anything else.

Love, love, love all the pictures. It makes me want to get outside and start planting.

Take care of yourself.

Melissa

King (Kathie) said...

Carver,

Your pictures are awesome! The quality is superb.

Sorry about the CRP climbing. I'm happy you are being followed closely by several specialists.

Stay Strong
King

sue said...

Photos as always are cyrstal clear and so beautiful. I too, think you are right that your body has its' own special defence...I also wonder if all the different meds you are now taking could affect the CRP..hmmmm, only a thought, of course but maybe. Good you are seeing so many specialist.
Going to watch the balloon launch this morning around 7 am...from the front porch. It's 42 degrees so doubt I'll venture too far away...hubby will have to do the picture taking..lol

Keep taking your walks and shooting those marvelous photos that we all enjoy so much. sue