Tuesday, April 14, 2015


According to Cancer.Org, "Hepatitis is the most common disease transmitted by blood transfusions."  It's rare, but it happens.  Rudy has full blown Hepatitis B, with antibodies of Hep C.  I don't know much about these, but I'm getting a crash course.

One of the screening tests done before starting Novolumab (immunotherapy) is for Hepatitis.  They got the results today and called us with the bad news.

Rudy has had 2 transfusions.  One of them probably had this little surprise.  Terri said this virus was likely contracted during the last 6 months.   Blood banks try very hard to weed out diseases and viruses.  They do a pretty good job, but it's not perfect.  There is about a 3% chance of having a transfusion with something in it.  Rudy, apparently is in the 3%.

Update: I have been worried ever since this diagnosis.  There was no way to know for sure when and where Rudy got this.  I had transfusions back in the 1980's.  Could I have contracted it and passed it along to Rudy?  Had we both been living with it all this time?  If either of us got it before the cancer diagnosis, it seems probable that we both would have it.  After Rudy died, I stuck my head in the sand.  I did not want to be tested until I knew I could handle the news without wanting to throw myself off a bridge.  I finally reached that point.  I decided that if I had it, I was going to learn everything I could about it and share what I learned with others.  I geared myself up and had the blood drawn yesterday.  I got my results today.  I don't have Hepatitis!!!!  Hurray for me.  But, that means it’s pretty certain that Rudy got it from one of his transfusions while he had cancer.  I have many thoughts and feelings about that, but anger is not one of them.  

This explains many of his current symptoms that have been hanging on - loss of appetite, fatigue, nausea.  It can also explain the grayish tint to his skin that I have been seeing for ages.  I thought that was due to his blood count or the cancer or something.

We will be seeing a specialist soon.  CTCA does not have a Hep. specialist, so we'll have to see someone outside the system.  Typically, the body will fight off the active infection and build antibodies.  Rudy is supposed to rest. He's out on the mower now, so he's not exactly adhering to advice.  He's supposed to drink lots of fluids and eat well.  He's good on the fluids, but the loss of appetite is making good nutrition a challenge.  There is also an antiviral drug that is sometimes used.  We'll know more after we see the specialist. We don't have an appointment yet.  CTCA is going to help us set that up.   It looks like immunotherapy is on hold 'til the Hep battle is won.

I was holding on by a thread emotionally before this news.  I even wrote a sad post about how low I was feeling this morning, but I took the post off this afternoon, because I had decided to fight thru and remain positive. Then came the phone call.  So much for staying positive.  After this news, I was stunned.  Now, I am mad and determined.  That feels better than drowning.  I am not mad at CTCA.  It's certainly not their fault. They get their blood from the blood banks, just like every other hospital.  I am not even mad at the blood banks.  I hope it's not a case of negligence. I'd like to think that everyone does the best they can.  I'm just mad, period, with no place to aim it.

God doesn't give us more than we can handle, right?  Well, God really must think Rudy and I are very, very strong.  My prayers lately, have been pitiful little cries for help.  Today, they are more like, "OK, God.  This is just plain crazy and we really need some help! And by the way, I think this is about all we can handle, so I hope there won't be any more crazy surprises."  I generally don't get sassy when I pray, but I feel sure He understands that I'm feeling pretty nuts right now and will forgive me.

My warped sense of humor is still intact.
I saw this when doing a little research and it made me smile.
Smiles are hard to come by.
As Rudy and I slowly lose our minds, I hope you will continue to pray for us.