3-28-11 Monday  + 5 months

Status:  Feeling better this week (it’s a wonder what prednisone can do).  My mouth, eyes, skin, and GI tract are improving, and my appetite is improving.  Much like my two bouts of chemotherapy, my bone marrow transplant left its mark on my fingernails.  This one looks like a linear scratch across my nails (much thinner and brighter than my two previous marks), and has proceeded about 2/3 up my nail.  Knowing it’s been 5 months since my transplant, I calculate my nails take about 7-8 months to grow from the cuticle to the end.  So soon the scratch will progress and fade away, hopefully with the memories of my experience with all this.

Events: My weekly visit to Hopkins.  Lab values were outstanding, and my platelets are as high as they were before I became ill.  Even my nurse practitioner said I looked good.  Hope we’ll keep seeing improvement on the steroids.  I’m taking two antibiotics, one anti-viral, and one anti-fungal while I’m on them to avoid any opportunistic infection. I’m also seeing a physical therapist twice a week to try to get back in shape.

Comments:  Steroids are amazing substances, which include the anti-inflammatory steroids (cortisone, cortisol, hydrocortisone), and the sex hormones testosterone, estrogen, and progesterone.

 All are made from the basic 4-ringed cholesterol molecule.  Cholesterol is necessary for life and is manufactured in the body from saturated fats.  A little goes a long way, but when too much is produced the body has to store it somewhere.  Of course, it turns out that sticking it into arterial walls is not a good thing.  In the chemical shorthand below, each numbered intersection is a carbon atom with one or two other atoms attached to it.  What those atoms are and where they are placed determine what kind of hormone is produced.

 You can also play chemical games by substituting your own atoms in the laboratory and create designer steroids.  If you are really clever you can make a novel steroid that no laboratory test can detect.  Enter Barry Bonds and BALCO.

  Prednisone and all the topical steroids you can get by prescription and over the counter are manmade creations, or as they used to say, “Better living through chemistry.”

  I’m looking forward to some more better living this week.

 Love,

-Bruce

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10 Responses to “”

  1. Judy and Ken Says:

    Great report! Yahoo!

  2. Bill Israel Says:

    Great to hear you’re feeling better, Bruce. We wish you even better. -Bill & Eileen

  3. Warren Says:

    Sounds wonderful. Keep doing better.
    Warren and Marilyn

  4. Reggie & Fred Says:

    Thrilled to hear your report, Bruce!! We love you! Reg & Fred

  5. mike magee Says:

    Sounds like the RX matches the DX. That’s always good. Onward and upward. Best, Mike

  6. Wendi Says:

    Wonderful to hear about the improvements. I hope they keep coming exponentially…fascinating info about steroids. Wishing you all the best.

  7. Catherine O'Brien Says:

    What happy news!

  8. wendy Says:

    sping is the time for new beginning…looking forward to all your blossoming good news resports

  9. Andy Lemer Says:

    I’m glad to read of good progress; beats the newspapers’ front pages! Rooting for continuation.

    Andy

    P. S., Anti-J-walking campaign posters in the DC Metro make clear that the problem is not uniquely Baltimore’s…. You need to get in-town more!

  10. Chaya Says:

    For the impatient Dan you have certainly gained a bit of that through all the past year, I am supposed to be the patient one, but I don’t like to have to wait a year or so for you to be Brucie Dan again. Love

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