Monday, October 31, 2016

First Semester College Days--- Quiet Eyes, Remicade, Labs, and Possible Changes

Anna is about halfway through her first full semester of college, enjoying some of the fun activities (Homecoming, trip to Longwood Gardens for a class, attending a national conference in Minneapolis), persevering through the times of stress (papers and exams and projects), exploring all of the opportunities (volunteering with the Student Activities Board and some other groups, and possible semesters or service projects abroad), and occasionally taking time away from her classes and work study job to travel to Hershey for doctor's appointments and Remicade infusions.

One doctor's appointment was today--with the Retina specialist.  Such a relief and sense of gratitude to God that her eyes have been quiet--no inflammation at all!--for the past few months, since that ocular injection.  (So many of you pray for Anna, we know---thank you!).  Dr. N. did mention last month that she saw maybe the very beginnings of a cataract in the left eye.  Not surprising at all, really, since Anna has been taking Pred Forte drops in that left eye for years.  I'm actually surprised (and grateful!) that we've gone this long without any side effects.  Anna asked about this "beginning of a cataract" today, and Dr. Neely said that it's almost not even there---just a very faint tiny haze in one spot as she shines the light over the surface of Anna's eye.  Dr. N. is not overly concerned right now, but she does want to lower the dose of drops, especially since Anna's eye has stayed so quite and clear for several months.

We don't know what will happen with the Remicade.  The rheumatologist encouraged Anna to make an earlier appointment to discuss the dose and Anna's lab results.  We will see her next Monday instead of waiting until December.  Dr. S. has been concerned about Anna's current dose of Remicade.  Her initial plan had been to lower the dose. Now she would like to talk to Anna about taking her off Remicade and changing to another medication (I have no idea which one).  Dr. S. says that Anna's labs indicate a lupus-like disease, which high doses of Remicade have been known to cause.  The good news is that Anna is not feeling badly, or feeling like she may have lupus or a similar disease.  I looked at Anna's lab results, and the abnormalities were very slight---not significant.  I had been concerned about abnormal liver enzymes in previous months, but those numbers have now stabilized.

I can almost feel the prayers of everyone.  I have felt peace instead of worry and alarm as we face some changes and have no idea how these changes will affect Anna's eye and/or her joints.  I am learning over the years to focus on the now instead of worrying about what might happen in the future (still a work in progress, but I think I'm getting a lot better!).  As you can tell from Anna's pictures, she is experiencing joy in the journey!

No song for this post, but some verses from Philippians 4:

 "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus."

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