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Benefits Verses Risks

Posted Nov 23 2010 10:24pm
Good news: eosinophil count is down and back into the normal range, due to the ECP treatments, most likely.

Last Tuesday, at my BMT doctor appointment, my doctor expressed concern about my continued weight loss.  I suspect that there are a few of you out there that would just love be able to loose a couple pounds per month without any effort at all, like me. Fortunately, I still have a few extra pounds that I can afford to loose. His concern is that the Chronic Graft Verses Host Disease (cGvHD) in my digestive track may be preventing the absorption of nutrients into my body and that is resulting in my continuing weight loss.

I told him about my conditions, that I suspect are related to cGvHD, and he wants me to start treatments with Rituxan® in addition to the ECP treatments I'm already receiving.  My first treatment is tentatively scheduled for Friday, December 3, 2010.  My first treatment will be carefully administered at the hospital and they will monitor me closely for adverse reactions to this new chemotherapy medicine (well, it is a new treatment for me anyway).  If all goes well with that first treatment, infusion, I will be scheduled for three more treatments and possibly more, if necessary.

There are risks with this medicine.  In the prescription information it has the words "Warning" and "Fatal".   That should get your attention.  You may ask, "Why take risks with treatments that can be fatal or have negative side effects?"  Very good question!  You have to weigh the benefits against the risks.  See link for:

"Rituxan Promising for Chronic Graft-versus-Host Disease" For examples:
  • Previous chemotherapy treatments put my leukemia (AML) in remission but there were risks for other cancers.
  • The bone marrow transplant (BMT) gave me the best option for preventing another relapse of AML, but now I'm dealing with cGvHD, a potentially life threatening disease.
So how do you make the right treatment decisions?  You have to weigh the benefits verses risks, trust in God, acknowledge Him, and He will direct you.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NASB)
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