My rheumatologist called; ‘Rituxan has been approved by your insurance company; so the infusion center will be calling you to schedule.’
‘Wait, not so fast! I have a few questions about Rituxan, basic questions: like why you chose it, what to expect, what the goals are and what side effects there are.’ The doc explained the action of Rituxan (Rituximab™).
It works by supressing B cell activity (remember the B cells and T cells?) which decrease much of the inflammation caused by lupus and Sjogren’s Syndrome. Unfortunately, also decreased would be my body’s ability to fight infections. Good hand-washing would was a must as would be not staying in crowds without a mask.
The symptoms? Never a problem at rest, shortness of breath was always a huge problem when I exerted myself; all I had to do was to walk 10 yards and the shortness of breath was terrible, debilitating. Where had this come from? From left field, I know!
To someone who had been athletic her whole life and relied on her lungs to fuel the heart with enough oxygenated blood to power my muscles in a triathlon, being short of breath with such minimal exertion was quite a lifestyle change.
Stay tuned to this channel for updates on my weekly treatments with Rituxan as I take this journey. For now, infusions are scheduled once a week x 4 weeks.
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