Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Over the Hump

Doctor J's office is in a neighborhood called Baxter Village in Fort Mill, SC. It is a really cool mix of commercial and residential property. When you enter Baxter Village on Market St. you pass through a couple of blocks of a small downtown type atmosphere. There's a Starbucks with copious patio seating, along with professional offices, art galleries, restaurants and pubs. The next few blocks are residential and similar to row houses that you would see in large American cities. Dr. J's office is in a multi-suite office building about 6 or 7 blocks into the neighborhood. The entire area is sprinkled with common areas, gardens, and parks. The development is relatively new, but it gives you the feeling of an established small town community. It's visually appealing and feels very welcoming.

Lynette's spirits were really down as she finished her last cycle of antibiotics. She felt horrible and full of despair. But as she has started to feel better she is projecting a new sense of fight and optimism and is ready to resume the battle. It's very refreshing.

The results of her visit with Dr. J today did nothing but reinforce those feelings. He performed a few neurological exams on Lynette and was pleased with the results. He was impressed with how far she has come and he proclaimed that he felt she was over the hump. He also had some words of warning though. He described the next two IV drugs that Lynette would be taking as "Game Changers". These drugs he explained, addressed aspects of the illness that had not yet been treated, and that how Lynette responded to these medications was not entirely predictable.

One of these drugs is Levaquin. Lynette had her first dose in Dr. Jemsek's office today. The IV Levaquin is once per day for an hour. Lynette is now infusing Levaquin and Azythromycin. Both are one hour infusions, so she will get one in the morning before I go to work, and the other in the evening after supper. One thing I like about the Levaquin is that there is no mixing. All you have to do is stab the bag with the tubing spike and infuse.

Levaquin's primary target is one of the many co-infections that so often accompany Lyme disease. While Lynette has not had a positive diagnosis for Bartonella, this drug is part of Dr. Jemsek's infusion therapy and most of his IV patients receive it. So many Lyme patients don't improve with treatment because co-infections are not taken into consideration. As with all of the others drugs Levaquin comes with possible side effects, most prominent of which is inflamation of and damage to tendons. Lynette has tolerated all of the IV drugs quite well, and did so this afternoon in Dr. J's office with the Levaquin.

Lynette normally infuses on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, but since today is Tuesday, Dr. J made up Lynette's schedule this week for Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. She'll be back on M, W, F next week, and then we will return to his office on September 4th for the first dose of the final IV drug, tigecycline, another game changer according to Dr. J.

Dr. J hired a new infusion nurse named Lisa Baker shortly after Lynette started seeing him. We really like Lisa because she can dish the grief just has hard as I can. We actually have some fun while we are there picking back and forth at each other. We look forward to seeing her. When she saw us this afternoon she said, "Oh, some of my favorite people!"

Lynette is ready to start pursuing physical therapy to strengthen her legs and try and improve the dexterity in her right hand. Dr. Jemsek encouraged her to seek the help of an occupational therapist to help with her hand. He advised Lynette to visit them a few times to learn what kinds of activities would be helpful, and then to continue the therapy on her own at home.

Lauren and Danielle are headed back to college this week. It's been nice to have their help running errands for Lynette and driving her around. It will be a little tougher to get Lynette to physical therapy and lab appointments when they are gone. Anna will also be going back to school next week. I'll have some busy mornings with Lynette's infusions and getting Anna to school on time. Is summer over already?

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