- we raised the down payment for an absolutely amazing house that we continue to be in love with
- Brynn did have to switch to a new school (again) but her grades have increased *dramatically* and she's in loads of honors classes (even honors chemistry!)
- I've continued to be mostly fine. My chronic GvH (graft vs. host) is as annoying as ever. I did land in the hospital again for myositis. That's what almost killed me last time. But this time we caught it much earlier and I was only in for a week, not a month, and never made it as far as the ICU. I'm still pretty weak in general and I get winded going up stairs or walking up a slight uphill grade, but I'm able to work part-time and do some crafting and go fun places with Brynn, so that's nice.
- The new boyfriend I mentioned back at the end of 2014 continues to be amazing and an unwavering support. He's also very funny (he'll tell you so) and makes some of the world's most groan worthy puns...but so do I, so it's a pretty good match.
That mostly brings you up to date. I'm on immunosuppresants, so there've been too many colds, viruses, and infections to mention. And they always drag on foooooor-eeeeev-eeeer because my immune system is, you know, suppressed. But that's really par for the course.
The primary issue is the GvH, and it's usually manageable. I carry eye drops 24/7 that I use all day long because I have dry eyes. My skin gets itchy (especially when it's hot out) or crazy dry when it's cold out. I have all sorts of issues with all my mucus membranes, especially my mouth where I have raw spots all the time. I can't eat spicy foods at all any longer. Pretty regularly I have rough places develop on my scalp, which are both itchy and unattractive. All in all, it's manageable but it isn't any fun.
So imagine my surprise when my doctor told me that a drug had *just* received FDA approval to treat chronic GvH! Up until August 2017, there were no prescription drugs available as a treatment for chronic GvH, so this was big news. It took about a month to negotiate financial assistance type issues. Imbruvica (Ibrutinib), the new drug, runs about $13,000 for a one month supply. Without financial assistance and my insurance (Medicare, which I have through disability) I wouldn't be getting the drug at all. But last week a package arrived on my doorstep, a month's supply of Imbruvica.
|The Imbruvica Welcome Package|
Hopefully, my body just needs a little while to adjust to the new medicine and then I won't feel nearly so bad. I have noticed that one of the rough spots on my scalp, that had been quite red and itchy for months, has largely cleared up. I've not noticed any other GvH related improvements yet, but it's only been a week and I'm hopeful that more good things are down the pike. In the meantime I'll just be over here feeling like I'm going through chemo again. Blargh.