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Graft s. Host Disease: Chicken Pox?

Hopefully not is the answer, but time will certainly tell. I was at a Christmas gathering on the 24th and may have come in contact with a little girl who later presented with the chicken pox – on Christmas Day. The Pox are most infectious before they present and immediately after, thus there is a chance that I contracted those little devils, and let me tell you they would be devils for me.

The medical lesson for the day involves my immune-system. You see when a Patient like me gets a Transplant from another person like my Dad, my original immune-system gets wiped out. As you may know each time you get sick your body remembers what that sickness looks like and is better able to fight it off should you come in contact with it again. Basically my immune-system is re-born and I loose all the memory that was gained as I got sick and fought viruses growing up. In the case of chicken pox, once you have had them you build up immunity so that you won’t contract them again. But having a Bone Marrow Transplant as I have, that memory or immunity gets wiped out. Essentially your immune-system is the same as a baby, so right now my immune-system is about 80 days old.

The big issue for me is that the chicken pox will most definitely mean the shingles, which is something I can definitely do without. Unlike GVH, the shingles and the many other potential complications that I could run into are not considered a “necessary evil” as there really is no upside of me having them. So once I learned that I had come in contact with the chicken pox, which was minutes before going out the door to Boxing Day dinner, I began the process of exploring my next step.

After a quick call to my medically educated girlfriend to find out about the contagious nature of chicken pox and if those who’ve been in contact are also a danger to me, I then called the ER to get in touch with the Hematologist and find out what my next step was. Fortunately there is something they can do for me – could do for me – so after having some sweet Prime Rib at my Uncle’s I made my way to the hospital for a “quick injection”. After an hour and a half the immuno-gobulin (spelling) I was to have injected showed up and of course they hadn’t sent enough for a full dose for me, so I asked and opted to not wait another hour or two at 9:30 p.m., but instead come back first thing this morning. Back to the hospital I went at 8:30 this morning and I left at 11 after 3 needles, one in each cheek, not the ones in my face, another in my leg and then a short half hour waiting period to make sure that I didn’t have any serious reactions, as what I received is a blood product.

Nothing too involved, the needles felt like freezing fluid as they made my bum go numb, but my nurse was very gentle as muscles are hard to come by on me these days and that’s what was required for the injections. I’ll probably have sore hips/bum for a day or so and hopefully the shots will help me stave off the chicken pox/shingles. Time will tell, and as it does so will I.

All else surrounding Christmas has been great, I’ve been staying out much too late and over extending myself as I have a tendency to do, but it has been great. I’ve been running on fumes and now that the 3 main days are over I’m planning a little rest and relaxation to recover and get myself back to some level of comfort. I do love this time of year.

Hope Santa was good to you all and that you’re having a great Holiday Season. I’ll be back again soon.


Live Life. Love Life.


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