Thursday, October 13, 2011

Immunology: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Previously I blogged about the good news I received from my CD4 test, which measures your T-cell count, which is basically the strength of your immune system. I finally had moved up and out, if you will, from being the equivalent of having AIDS. My number had risen enough that while I was still nowhere near the normal range, I at least did not have the same threat level.

Unfortunately, I have lost half my gain, and am now just a bit above the critical 200mark, at 243. Obviously this was not good news but most important is to learn whether I am trending down or if it was just a one-time loss or perhaps even a fluke. So I repeat the CD4 next week and I am nervous, to say the least, for the results.

My immune system is monitored by an Infectious Disease doctor. He determines what preventative medications I require and how to treat infections, be it bacterial, fungal, or viral, as they arise. When your immune system is compromised, it is so much easier to acquire an infection, thus all the effort to isolate from those that may be contagious. In an immunocompromised patient, the body simply can't fight the infection on its own. Sometimes the infection can even be life-threatening.

Although rather benign on the severity scale, but awful to battle anyways, are the thrush and C diff recurring infections that I have had. I would just assume not have either ever again, but the Infectious Didease doctor designs a plan to both prevent and treat. So it is somehwat routine now, albeit unpleasant.

I hope my layperson explanation of what all these immune sytem topics are and mean has helped answer some of the questions I regularly get. I'll keep you posted when I get my new test results. Pray for no downward trend!

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