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I Got Chills...They're Multiplyin' ...

Posted Apr 03 2011 10:04am
You've got to be kidding me!!! Two flus in 1 month ??!!!!

I couldn't believe it.  The baby came down with flu A on February 21st.  I started developing symptoms 2 days later and went to see my PCP.  The quick flu test was negative, and it's supposed to be accurate to 90+%, so he told me it was probably a bacterial infection.  Still, they did a culture to be on the safe side.  I started back on Tamiflu just to make sure I wouldn't get the flu again since the baby had it.  That night, I sweated profusely, just like with flu B two weeks prior.  I was skeptical that I didn't have the flu, and I continued to feel pretty lousy the rest of the week -- fevers up to 102, etc.

That Saturday, my PCP sent me a message saying it WAS flu A, so I increased the Tamiflu dose to 2 pills a day.  It seemed to do little good, and I took over a week to recover.  I later read that flu A can mutate to isolates that don't respond to Tamiflu (it says so on the info packet), so I assume that's what happened.  My recovery from flu B was much faster and had far less Tamiflu-related nausea.

I just had my 3 month Rituxan follow up on March 28th.  The blood counts are looking great!  The WBC is almost back to normal for a normal person, and that's pretty good considering how low my lymphocyte count still is.  Since the hairy cells are B-lymphocytes, you want that count (aka "ALC") to be low.  My neutrophils are holding steady, and my monocytes are really doing well.  I'm sure that getting the flu twice in 1 month didn't hurt getting the monocyte count up, but they're still high 1 month later, so I'm not complaining.  Hopefully, that will assist the ADCC mediated by Rituxan and kill more hairies.

I've lost a lot of time at work dealing with the two flus and taking care of the baby.  She's had chronic ear infections for several months in addition to the flu.  She's finally going to get ear tubes on Monday.  It worked wonders for her big sister, so we're looking forward to it.

Here's the latest video of my blood counts.  Overall, I'm really happy with the results.  My phosphorus level has dipped below normal several times since RTX#2.  I'm not sure if that has to do with marrow replenishment or over-excretion in the urine due to a vitamin D deficiency.  Time will tell, but if it continues to trend downward, I may consult a endocrinologist and try to find out what's causing it.

In other news, it looks like things may be moving forward with a Rituxan vs. GA-101 trial for hairy cell in refractory and relapsed patients!  GA-101 is the anti-CD20 antibody I found in September, while studying "lipid rafts", that's engineered to have a wider elbow angle -- resulting in cell death that's 5 to 100 times more effective than Rituxan. It's also less toxic.  I'll let you know as I find out more.
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