St Croix River Road Ramblings

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Health Update #207

I am quite sure these health posts are getting boring, but I use this blog and Facebook as my journal, my diary, and my memory. When I want to see what we were doing 6 months or 3 years ago, I just look at the blog or Facebook and find out what I was whining about then ;-)
Birch firewood chunk doesn't wait for the splititng maul
long before rotting out.  Many of my birch trees died
last year in the woods at the cabin.  

Margo has 2 more chemo treatments.  She has 14 done.  Things are going better than expected and, other than some tiredness, she is handling things amazingly well.  With surgery to be determined in January and then radiation a month later, she should complete treatments in spring and, we are hopeful she will be completely free of cancer for the future.

She continues to be active and is baking more Christmas cookies, having only done 4 kinds so far, with a few more she wants to try. Scott is working part time at the local ski hill, mostly long weekends, and so helps with the cooking.

I am in prednisone induced Myasthenia Gravis remission.  That means the prednisone has stopped most of the bad antibody production that attacked and destroyed my muscle receptors and they are gradually growing back and I am gradually getting some of my strength back, and feeling much more normal.
Wednesday Morning Dec 4 2012  7:15 AM sunrise was quite pretty.  I took the photo standing in
the little cemetery just east of the house looking SE towards Pine Island, 4 miles away.  It is
underexposed a little to get the colors -- my digital camera otherwise tries to make everything
look like a full day time shot. Have to play with the settings to keep things from being washed out.

Now, the main problems are those of prednisone having lowered my immune system, increased my appetite, created mood swings, keeping me from sleeping, and leaching the calcium from my bones!   So, my neuro and I will, in 2013, look at some of the other long term immune system suppressants that might work OK too.  In the meantime, I am so pleased that I can see, talk, chew, walk, type, and hold up my head normally, I don't get bothered by the prednisone symptoms.    As I do have to take something to keep my immune system in check the rest of my life, and there are choices (all with problems) there is no big rush to pick the poison.

The whole immune system process of targeting enemies and ramping up antibody production to destroy them runs amuck with many folks.  There are dozens of these diseases, and most end up with some kind of immune system suppressing medication to treat, but not cure.

Scientists use the immune system as an example of evolution.  Instead of a "static" created human where things stay the same, we are evolved to meet the challenge of a world that continuously presents new bacteria and viruses to attack our body.  Our immune system responds to each attack and builds some antibodies to try to get rid of the problem.  This ongoing change sometimes runs amuck and an antibody decides part of our own body is the enemy and gears up to the attack. In my case, it destroys the muscle receptors for voluntary muscles leaving MG patients very weak because nerve to muscle communication fails.  The immune system is too often fooled, but in the billions of people on earth, each with their own unique immune system, some will do fine and others won't--natural selection.  However, with modern medicine, those of us selected for oblivion get to stay around even though nature had intended us for the scrap heap!

One of the most fun activities on bad days for Margo and I is watching TV.  Our gift to ourselves this summer as we were both laid up was a 42 inch Vizio Smart TV.  This means it connects to the Internet.  One free channel is YouTube channel.  We search on a topic and then watch a string of home made movies about the topic.   We watched topics Christmas cookies, Myasthenia, Pileated woodpeckers, nature photography and more this week.  What you see is a string of short videos one after the other playing on the TV.  Most are homemade, but amazingly entertaining and beat regular TV by a lot.  And they are free!!!!

Margo and Scott are making pecan ball cookies, the delicate ones that are rolled in powdered sugar that melt in your mouth.  They make 12 dozen at a time of most cookies.

Chemo treatment 14 Dec 4th 2012. Two more!

The old Wolf Creek School Clock is
behind Russ, who shows "prison pallor" as a result of
too little sun!  Actually my laptop webcam got
fooled by the dark room and over whitened me!
Prednisone has robbed me of my sense of humor, so
thus the stern, sober look of a Pious Lutheran.