T + 792 Grapefruit and Swimming Pools
I went to the clinic yesterday and finally after 792 days I have been told I can stop taking ciclosporin.
This is quite a symbolic step even though the 10mg once a day dose I was on wasn't doing that much it was enough to partly suppress my immune system and keep any last rumblings of GVHD down. Hopefully the GVHD won't return.
One of the immediate consequences of this is that I can now drink grapefruit juice and eat grapefruits. I was not allowed them whilst I was on ciclosporin as it reacts with it and increases the levels carried in the blood. It's one of the less onerous conditions of my treatment that I have had to bear but even so I may celebrate tomorrow with a glass of chilled grapefruit juice.
I had a nice long chat with my consultant about how you classify the state of my immune system and I also asked him a couple of questions about how antibodies work just for my own curiosity. He explained the key points of the immune system as simply as he could and even then it is still pretty complicated but I won't bore you with the details. Google and wikipedia and a lot of time will enable you to find out more if you want to.
Suffice it to say that when you consider it takes a child getting on for 10 years to develop a mature immune system and mine is only 2 years old and has been suppressed and molly coddled for most of that, my current immune status can best be described as naive. However with the help of vaccinations and the basic process of exposure this will improve over time. The problem will be that exposure may mean me getting sicker for longer than someone with a mature immune system would be when exposed to the same pathogen.
I asked the doc a couple of questions about more steps towards normality. One was being able to take sinus and cold symptom remedies that have decongestants in them ( again previously these interacted with things so I couldn't have them ) this got an ok. Finally the big one, was it ok to go swimming as before treatment this was my favoured form of exercise.
The doc said yes he felt that was ok though he did preface that by saying "well swimming pools are cesspits of disease but at least they are cesspits with chlorine in". On the plus side I have had a bout of verrucas since my transplant so I should be ok on that score. ( Odd co-incidence that it is a year to the day since I blogged about having verrucas).
My next appointment is in two months which I think might be the longest I have been between appointments. Hopefully then I may be able to stop taking the blood pressure medicine amlodipine as it was the ciclosporin that caused the high blood pressure and it wasn't something I suffered from before I went on it.