Thursday, November 19, 2009

Here We Go Again (Round Three Against the EOS)

They're ba-ack.

The eosinophils (EOS), the component of the white blood that fights allergies or parasites, are climbing once again. It makes me think of a little story that the Pasadena Library children's librarian often told when Cynthia was a little grasshopper. "They went up the hill and down the hill and up the hill and down the hill and up the hill and down the hill."

They (the EOS) went up and then they went down with the prednisone. Then they went up when I tapered off the prednisone. Then they went down with prednisone. Then I tapered off the prednisone again, and we're climbing that hill for the third time.

What can I say? I'm tired of climbing the hills. I hate this "in between" stage when I must carefully pace myself if I don't want to collapse. (I'm back to making dates and breaking dates.) I don't like feeling out of breath after climbing two flights of stairs. I'm deathly afraid of becoming as sick as I was during the summer and fall of 2008. I hate the manic, sleepless side effects of the treatment - high dose prednisone. I want off the treadmill.

Now, here comes the tricky part. When I saw the EOS specialist at Stanford last spring, he advised me to see an allergist after I tapered off the prednisone so that we could see if allergies were the driver of the EOS. I saw a very competent allergist last week and learned that I'm allergic to pollen (no surprise), dust mites (no surprise) and pets (BIG surprise). We have two cats and two dogs.

So . . . we know I have allergies. And we know that my EOS are rising. We just don't know if there's a connection between the two. The allergist recommended that I isolate myself from the pets for two weeks and then immediately measure my blood counts. I've decided to take a friend's offer to use her Newport Beach apartment for two weeks. I pack my bags right after Thanksgiving.

Just doing my little bit for science.


Contributors said...

Those stupid eosinophils! Sorry you have to go through this again. At least you'll be in Newport Beach which should be so lovely right now.

susiegb said...

Oh, pooh to those eosos! I hope that the 2 weeks away from your pets may help, but then of course I wonder what that would mean ... sigh! I guess you just have to see what happens! Enjoy Newport Beach anyway - although I guess it's not really 'beach' weather in the US at the moment (unlike here in Australia)!

marinik said...

oh boy... what can i say hang in there...and hope you enjoy at least a little with the time away, hugs

Petrea said...

You can relish the time away, I know. I hope it turns out to be a gain for you. Knowledge is power.

My WV is "curicur." Am I reaching?

pasadenapio said...

Enjoy Newport Beach, Susan, and get your second wind.

The up and down and up and down of it all may get old, but I believe it's worth the trip.

Keep us posted, please!

Ann said...

Enjoy your time in Newport Beach. I'm hopeful that your team is able to conquer the EOS situation. In the mean time, pamper yourself and have many unctuous turkey day treats of the sweet pastry variety.

Trish said...

If it makes you feel better, my EOS have risen as well. We KNOW mine are mostly allergies. We have something else in common, we're both allergic to similar things...and have EOS levels that rise and fall. I have been on mega doses of OTC allergy meds (almost ALL Rx ones have lactose, of which I'm allergic to THAT too) from, I think, the same allergy doc at Stanford. I still sneeze, EOS is still up, but not dangerous.

The big thing that has helped has been either washing pillows and/or changing them out every few months. I sleep with the memory foam pillows from costco, plus smaller ones I've sewn myself. WHAT a difference!

As vigilant as I am about washing hands or using hand sanitizer, I make extra sure that after petting the pets, I wash up and don't touch my face.

Vacuuming and dusting, plus air purifiers and changing out the filters often in the heating/A/C really help too.

But---I do hope that your retreat in Newport gives you some R&R, it is usually a beautiful time of year there now.

and if that doesn't work, Surgere Tentamus---we strive to rise in deed...scare the heck out of those EOS with your strength! hang in there!

Susan C said...

Thanks, everyone for the support.

I do plan on enjoying my R&R in Newport Beach.

Ann, I almost forgot that little library diddy about "up the hill and down the hill" had a very happy ending.

Trish, need to make a run today to replace all the pillows here. We will overcome!

Nelle said...

Sorry to hear you are dealing with this again. I hope you are not allergic to your pets. I had worried about that when I coughed all the time but it turns out they weren't the problem. A nice respite for two weeks can only make you feel better. Enjoy!

Nancy said...

Susan, I'm sorry that those pesky EOS's are still posing a problem. Enjoy Newport Beach and if you need some company for lunch or something, give me a jingle. I'm only 25 minutes from there. Also, you can take your Christmas list, Newport Beach's Fashion Island has fabulous shopping (not to mention dining). South Coast Plaza (my favorite shopping destination) also has fantastic shopping and is only a stone's throw away from Newport Beach.

Enjoy your retreat to NB. You may come back a changed person... a "South County Girl" with a normal EOS count, I hope. I don't know what this means for your pets, so we just won't go there yet.

love ya, n

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry you're going through this again, but it may be getting you closer to the cause of the problem? And then at least you can deal with it.

And as far as a repeat of your illness last year - it seems to me that you know the danger signs now and will know when to check into COH before it gets so bad?

Susan C said...

Nelle, I don't know which would be worse - to find out if I'm allergic to my pets or to find out that the EOS are idiopathic. In any case, I'm sure looking forward to my respite.

Nancy, South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island - two of the dangers of life in Newport Beach. I'm going to try to stay away. We'll see how good my will power is. : )

Janet, You are absolutely right on both counts. I AM getting closer to a resolution.

And I'll stop this "experiment" in a heartbeat and go on prednisone if I find that the symptoms are too devastating. And I won't hesitate to check myself in to the "big house" if I got as sick as last year.