Thursday, February 28, 2008

Upset about a possible over-sight in treatment

Dave is seeing his Nephrologist at UCI today, to go over some recent blood tests. There is one thing on my mind that I am hoping to get answered. Why didn’t they perform plasmapheresis on Dave at the initial on set of renal failure? I have been reading that this procedure, while uncommon in the US, is widely used in both Europe and Japan in treating certain types of auto-immune conditions. It works by cleansing the blood of the antibodies that causes tissue necrosis (tissue / organ death).

At the time of Dave’s initial kidney biopsy, his renal function was about 30-40%. While that is not considered stellar by any means, it may have improved if the antibodies had been removed from the bloodstream early on. Could he have regained adequate kidney function? Could dialysis and even the need for transplant have been avoided? I guess we will never know for sure. I doubt the doctors are ever going to admit over-looking any treatment that might have prolonged Dave’s life or the life of his own organs.

I encourage anyone who has a medical condition to become their own expert, quickly. You are your best advocate. I have only a little knowledge, and have been able to at least ask some relevant questions throughout this process. If we had just let the doctors do whatever they initially wanted, we would not have been able to stop the Cytoxan prior to the Rituxan infusions, causing a high probability of a neurological development. Don’t be too trusting when it comes to your own health. Get involved!

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