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Here's news and info about three primary blood cancers, Lymphoma, Myeloma and Leukemia with a decided patient's perspective.  I hope this helps whether you're newly diagnosed or veteran survivor.  

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How to stay out of ambulances, not a free ride

I'm devoting an entire chapter in my book on How to Stay Out of an Ambulances or some title acceptable to the publisher. Cancer patients should explore what circumstances or events can cause a ride in an ambulance.  Geeze, it must really be serious.  I've taken only two rides.  

Today was particularly scary for my family, not me as I wasn't conscious or 'with it' for much of the excitement.  As blood cancer patients receive certain chemo and immuno therapies that destroy both good (immunity) cells and bad (cancer) cells, some patients require what's called an IntraVenous Immunoglobulin (IVIg) transfusion from time to time, for me this should have been routine.  Some cancer patients (me) have an overactive immune system producing dangerous levels of IgM (the Macro globulin).  So some physicians believe IVIg sends signals to the immune system in overdrive, to slow down.  Others believe (as mine does), IVIg provides the antibodies present in normal blood (donors) needed to fight infections, viruses and other invaders.  In my case the battle is to beat recurring chronic pneumonitis.

Shortly after leaving the infusion room, I began to shake rattle n' roll, better known as 'the rigors', not uncommon to cancer warriors.  As my wife exited the Dana Farber Cancer Institute parking garage and entered Fenway Park's Red Sox game traffic, I began to shake more.  I should have listened and turned around, but I thought, "This too shall pass". Before long, we came to a dead stop in traffic with no option to turn around, go back.  I could now be making milk shakes, I was freezing cold, sweating, shaking.  Contacted by telephone, nurses at DFCI said, get to the nearest Emergency Room,  Winchester Hospital where I had been a patient before.  This is where I had been diagnosed with this blood cancer, so it seemed like 'home turf' to me.  

Later, when I awoke in the Emergency Room, I could see incredible fear in the faces of my wife and three daughters. Waking up to a team of nurses and physicians finding I was connected to a variety of wires, tubes, probes, beeping monitors. I could see an erratic heartbeat and scary Blood Pressure 70 over 40. Doc, where's my 120/80?     As I was participating in a "clinical trial" my Primary Care Physician associated with this hospital urged me to get back to DFCI/Brigham & Women's Hospital (BWH) where my ongologist and nursing team could gain control.  It's amazing how fast an ambulance can cut through a Red Sox traffic jam.  Before long, I was checked into BWH where I continued to stabilize.  By midnight when most emergency rooms in large hospitals turn into a place where Cinderella and the infectious Lucifer the malevolant cat could be found, the doctors there agreed, let's get you home asap, no place for no immune system.  

The next day, I learned about the serious possible side effects of IVIg.  Rule number 1, be sure you get pre-meds, Rule number 2, take a very slow infusion rate and Rule number 3, don't leave the infusion room in a hurry. 

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