Sunday, June 20, 2010

Pill Popper

June 15, I went to my weekly clinic appointment with tan team doctors. The top issue on my list was medications. I lined the bottles of medication I am taking on on the counter in examination room 5. Anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial. What medications can we reduce? "You need all of them," I was told. "And, we're giving you a new one today -- Dapsone." I picked up the new drug at the pharmacy and read the print. Dapsone is a drug primarily used for those suffering from leprosy. The drug causes cancer in rats and mice, cautions a "definite but unusual complication of peripheral neuropathy (I don't need any more neuropathy!) and carries a host of other possible complications. Additional adverse reactions include: nausea, vomiting, abdominal pains, pancreatitis, vertigo, blurred vision, tinnitus, insomnia, fever, headache, psychosis, phototoxicity, pulmonary eosinophilia, tachycardia, albuminuria, the nephrotic syndrome, hypoalbuminemia without proteinuria, renal papillary necrosis, male infertility, drug-induced Lupus erythermatosus and an infectious mononucleosis like syndrome. The tan team is prescribing the medication for me because it can ward off a pneumonia that is partial to transplant patients. Dapsone is less likely to reduce blood counts than the Bactrim that has been an on-again, off again prescription I've been been ingesting since diagnosis. When I first arrived in Seattle, Dr. Collins told me "You have to take all the medications we give you." Well, I'm coming back at you. I'm going to make my tan team appointment this coming week and line up all those medications on the counter again and revisit the medications. Too many times I've heard, "Oh, if you read all the fine print of those prescriptions who wouldn't take anything" and "consider the alternative " and the latest encouragement "you'll be taking many of these drugs for six-months to a year following transplant." I want to consider all the alternatives. Hasn't anyone here heard "less is more." I'm seeking safety zones where I can let my body be. I hate being called a patient but in this case, I claim patient fatigue.

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