My rheumatologist schedules Rituxan infusions for every four months. The suggested schedule is every six months but it can be reduced to four months in certain tough RA cases – like mine. A series of two infusions were originally scheduled for late June. But a battle with two serious infections, bacterial meningitis then C diff, put that schedule off by two months. During this time it was found from an expensive test, which had to be done at the local children’s hospital, that my B cell lymphocytes were none existent. This was not unexpected as Rituxan depletes B cells. It’s been quite a while but I darkened the doors of the infusion center last Friday and spent almost six hours for the slow drip – back in the RA treatment saddle. The next few days resulted in quite the post-infusion side effect ride with severe headaches, flu-like achiness, nausea, and fatigue. Now we’ll see if RA can be checked without anymore infections.
Even in the midst of not feeling well, I’m not going to let RA prevent me from the one outdoor activity that brings the most enjoyment – salmon fishing in Puget Sound. The salmon only run from the ocean to freshwater rivers once a year during the late summer-autumn. They hatch in freshwater, swim to the ocean, spend their adult life there feeding and growing, then swim back to the same place they were hatched to spawn. Shortly after spawning, they die as they stop eating after hitting fresh water. It’s an amazing biological process that never ceases to amaze. This year it was estimated that 6 million coho (silver) and 7 million pink salmon would be coming through Puget Sound. Three trips with friends on the water resulted 11 fish. I paid for the activity with pain and fatigue. But it was worth every moment and I’ll keep doing this every year as long as I’m able.