9-16-10 Thursday            

Status: 9.0/10.  

Events:  A good day to be away from Baltimore.  I was safe and sound in Bethesda.

Comments:  Onto Lisa’s other suggestion.  Your skin (and its contiguous mucous membrane, the GI tract) may be the most important part of your immune system.  It’s your outer armor, a Maginot line protecting you from attacks coming from the big outdoors.

  The outer layer, the epidermis, is a living organ.  It goes through a life cycle with new cells being born at the bottom and dying by the time they migrate to the top.  So the outermost layer is composed of dead skin cells (called squamous cells), which slough off.  You normally don’t notice them unless you get a sunburn when they all slough off in sheets or have the excessive flaking of scalp cells we call dandruff.  But we are all turning over our skin day by day, minute by minute.  And although you may not notice it, you are leaving a trail behind wherever you go.

  These dead cells make a nutritious meal for mites, which is why mites like to inhabit your pillowcases and bedding.  Those flakes also are covered with all the bacteria from the outside world that your skin protected you against.  So a number of hospital operating rooms have special air flow systems setup to keep the floating, bug-laden debris out of the air.  Computer chip manufacturers do the same thing in their “clean rooms.”

The chemotherapy I received not only was an acute injury that affected my fingernails, but my skin as well.  Like a reptile, I have shed my skin.  Not in one huge piece on one day, but in billions of flaking squamous cells from head to toe (body dandruff) over several weeks now.  All my clothes have been subject to a fine dusting, enough so that any CSI agent with a DNA kit would know it was me.  

Tomorrow – the cost of health care.




2 Responses to “”

  1. wendy Says:

    timing is everything.. glad this was a week at home..

  2. Michael & Greta Says:

    So glad to hear you’re in the nines – and were away from John Hopkins yesterday! Though we are miles away, you are close in our hearts and thoughts. Much love to you, Lisa, Rachel & Ethan.

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