….where few medical peeps have gone before… 🙂
(Sorry, my dad’s a Trekkie. The trekiness emerges from me unbidden sometimes.)
So, as I sort of hinted at the end of Seven Quick Takes, my lungs are showing some signs of chronic rejection. What this means is that there’s some areas of scarring, which leads to loss of function in those areas. While my areas are small, if it spreads, it can lead to lots of other issues, up to and including needing another transplant. We’re not there. Thankfully.
We don’t know a whole lot about rejection, as a whole. We sort of understand what causes it–the lungs aren’t the same genetic material as the rest of my body, so my immune system sees them as foreign objects which must be attacked. That’s why we’re on so many immunosuppression drugs, to trick our bodies into liking the organs they need to survive. However, we haven’t solved the rejection issue.
There are two types of rejection: acute and chronic. Acute must be dealt with quickly–usually with increased meds. Chronic is a slower-moving type, and is harder to detect. There’s really no “gold standard” for finding it. We aren’t always sure what causes it. We know that several episodes of acute rejection, antibodies in the blood, non-compliance, several acute rejection episodes and reflux are things that can cause it, and the only one of those I have is the last one, and that’s pretty well controlled. (That’s what all the GI testing was for this week–to see if it’s not controlled).
Lung transplants are tricky, because lungs are the only organs that come in contact with “the outside world” on a regular basis. So there is a much higher potential for problems with the organs. We’re still learning a lot about transplant and rejection as a whole.
So–as I hinted, again, in quick takes, this means I just have to be very, very aware of what my body is telling me, always. I have to treat it nicely. I have to listen to it, even when I may not want to.
We’re not in “Danger, Will Robinson!” stage yet, so no panic. But–prudence.