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The Last of Us Ended Me

macro shot photography of brown mushroom

My Johns Hopkins oncologist once told me that if he had twenty patients with lung GVHD, aka bronchiolitis obliterans syndrome, as bad as mine, he would have 20 dead patients within the year. Of course, he didn’t tell me this until many years after my initial diagnosis when it was certain I was not going to abide by those fatal odds, odds which were significantly more fatal than what my NIH doc told me.

He also told me that if I ever got pneumonia, it would be game over for me.

Well, I got bacterial pneumonia a year or so ago and, well, here I am.

Only the good die young and all that, you know how it goes.

Well, after I was cleared to re-enter the game of life at full speed and contact, my doc clarified his game over remarks.

He meant to say, or, according to him he did say and I just don’t remember, that if I ever get fungal pneumonia, then it is game over.

Well, well, well…

That has upped the game’s stakes quite significantly.

And now I wished I had never watched that damned terrifying show that was adapted from that damned terrifying video game.

Of course it wasn’t nearly as terrifying until put into the context of my doc’s prediction.

And which is why my heart ever so slightly skips a beat whenever I see one of the evermore present fungal superbug spreading headlines.

Headlines like this one from today:

Fungus ‘superbug’ cases rise to highest levels in Nevada

In October, there were 57 new clinical cases of the drug-resistant, potentially lethal fungus that can invade a person’s bloodstream, brain, heart or other organs, according to Nevada Division of Behavioral Health data. In the same month, 123 cases of colonization were reported in which individuals typically have the fungus in the folds of their skin, invisible to the eye, yet are not sick. Those people can still transmit the pathogen.

The fungus can spread from person to person and also from contaminated surfaces and equipment with transmission occurring most often in healthcare settings. Patients who have been hospitalized for a long time, or have a central venous catheter or other lines or tubes entering their body, are at highest risk for infection, public health authorities say. Healthy people usually don’t develop an invasive infection.


Fortunately, I do not live in Nevada…

But, the way things are going, I doubt it will soon matter where one lives.

The only bright side to all this for me is, like I’ve already said…

Only the good die young.

And I am a long, long way from young.

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An Important FDA Safety Announcement for my Donor Stem Cell Transplant Brothers and Sisters

FDA warns about increased risk of cancer relapse with long-term use of azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax) antibiotic after donor stem cell transplant

The French study which the FDA based a recent safety announcement on had to be discontinued after two years because the rate of the return of cancer and even death was too high in those patients with cancers of the blood or lymph nodes who undergo a donor stem cell transplant and were taking the antibiotic azithromycin (Zithromax, Zmax) long term to prevent a certain inflammatory lung condition [LUNG GVHD/BOS].

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The Purpose of Pain

When it comes to physical pain, it’s purpose is hardly in question: It focuses us to where our immediate attention and action is required.

We accidentally rest our hand on a hot stove top burner and, without our sense of pain, our hand, if it weren’t for our sense of smell, would become cooked well enough to serve up at the next meal.

We could laugh at this, but sadly and horrifically there are some who do not experience the sense of physical pain due to a rare condition known as congenital analgesia.

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