Cellcept and Moving 700 Miles

During early May 2014, I moved from where I had been living in Illinois, back to Upstate New York. I drove this 700-mile trip, all by myself. The previous February, I had tearfully resigned from my full-time position as a clinical health psychologist.

I made the grueling decision that I would begin the process of applying for social security disability benefits, once I got settled back in my parent’s home in New York. I had spent the previous couple of months selling the overwhelming majority of my earthly possessions, including all of my furniture, collections, etc.

I barely recognized the woman in the mirror I had become, my face being so full and round. After several months of high daily doses of prednisone, I had developed the classic moon face associated with taking steroids.

This can’t really be my life, I thought, over and over again as I prepared to move back in with my parents, at age 49. Just a few months prior, I had received an aggressive, month-long series of chemotherapy infusions. Each Rituxan infusion took six to eight hours to administer. I developed a debilitating headache, for 35 straight days. Essentially, I spent that time bed-bound.

My specialists were treating me for Wegener’s granulomatosis. This was believed to be the disease associated with my development of a highly recurrent subglottic stenosis.

At that point, I had already had a dozen throat dilatation surgeries to address my life-threatening airway inflammation and narrowing. My rheumatologist wanted to tame the fires of rampant inflammation coursing throughout my body.

Consequently, he prescribed Cellcept. This is a powerful anti-rejection medication, usually reserved for those who have received organ transplants. Its side effects were truly horrendous. My days were very busy ones.

I was preparing to move out of the opulent mansion, where I had rented a spectacular apartment. In finalizing my vacancy, I started to develop incapacitating low back pain. My rheumatologist said that, unfortunately, this was a possible side effect of taking Cellcept.

How am I possibly going to drive back to New York in this condition, by myself, I thought? I had developed persistent, stabbing knife-like pain in my lower back. I was intending to attend a previously-scheduled women’s conference, in Northern Illinois, prior to taking my trip back to New York.

I had absolutely no idea how this could ever be a possibility. On sheer faith, I drove to the church-based conference. Attending it was an unbelievable blessing.

In a brief period of time, I had the opportunity to meet so many amazing women! Although we continue to live hundreds of miles apart from each other, we still stay in touch, via Facebook.

Time and time again, I have seen God bless my path, when I stepped out in sheer faith to follow His leading. I was blessed with a safe journey back to New York. Much has changed in my life during the past four years. At that time, I had expressed a strong degree of interest in eventually writing a book about my health experiences. Entering these blogs is the first step of writing such a book.

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