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We have a winner!

The winner of the “What’s wrong with Doodle? pool” is: Idiopathic Aplastic Anemia!  Thanks everyone who played along at home, and I hope you all have had fun.  Remember that there are no losers because we all learned something, right?

I for one learned that the passageway between the Duke laboratory section and the food court at the cancer center smells like an original episode of Ultraman must have.  No, really.  It smells just like the boxes we used to get in the 1960s with toys that had shipped from Japan.

I also learned that Chick-Fil-A is the most popular lunchtime attraction at Duke, no matter what Subway, Panda Express, or the salad place want to tell you.  People who are there having blood tests and doctor consultations are not in the mood for “healthy” food.  They’ll be getting plenty of that once they check into the hospital–right at that moment they want some waffle fries!

I’ll soon be checking into Duke Hospital for a week’s infusion of immunosuppression therapy.  That is to say they’re going to hook me up to an IV solution of some goop (sorry if this gets technical) made of human thymus gland that has been injected into some volunteer horses to create a serum–not unlike insulin as I understand it.

(Side note to everyone:  In spite of how this may sound I have neither cancer nor diabetes.  While I am being treated at the Duke Cancer Center with something related to Insulin, my actual diagnosis shows neither of those previously mentioned illnesses.  The term “idiopathic” actually means the doctors don’t know where the illness came from or what caused it.  But they believe they can cure me with this course of treatment.)

Anyway, I’ll be taking this therapy for four days while they monitor me for fever, chills and other sorts of side-effects that might occur.  Turns out these are actually exactly the same sort of things that they have to watch for when they’ve given me blood transfusions, so no big surprises involved here.  So far I’ve had only about four hours straight of blood transfusions, whereas I’ll be going four days straight with the immunosuppression therapy.

Then they’ll send me home with an oral prescription I’ll take for the next few months and they’ll monitor my blood ever so often to see if I’m producing my own hemoglobin properly again.  Should know in the next 3-6 months if all is correct.

The thing is, I was thinking there were two courses of action –either immunosuppression therapy OR bone marrow transplant.  Turns out that if they wanted to do a bone marrow transplant they’d have to do the immunosuppression therapy anyway leading up to it.  So it’s all one course anyway.  The doctors tell me that this course of treatment is about 80% effective.  Figure those are good odds, and I’ll be back to my old self again soon–if not, just another step along the way.

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