IVIG 2023

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First post of 2023

Third IVIG

Should have had the procedure on the 18th of January but it snowed and at 7:30am it was -3. I had no choice but to cancel as the hospital is a little under an hour from my home.

Before starting this article 2023 has commenced with a very emotional start. On the 7th of January I got a message from a close friend in Lanzarote that a long term friend of both of ours had suddenly passed away on the 6th. Charlie Chapman an incredible person who I first met in Howth about 1982/3, at the time Charlie was the front man of a band called NiteKap.
Charlie had been a member of The Miami Show Band for about a year but had moved to set up his new band. He also moved to Lanzarote in the mid 80’s and opened Charlie’s Bar. We meet again in 1999 prior to me opening Nancy Spain’s. Over the years our friendship grew and continued after I sold & moved back to Ireland- an incredible entertainer & a lovely guy. Some of my best friends learnt their trade through Charlie. Rest in peace buddy.

The legend Charlie playing at one of the many fundraisers he had organised in Lanzarote

And my Mums 91st our 5th year without her. 19th January. The hardest goodbye I ever faced. My oncologist warned me shortly after she passed that Birthdays, Anniversaries and Christmas can seriously impact a person- and he was 100% spot on. As the years pass now it gets harder particularly with her birthday so close to Christmas.

But back to today. My blood test was excellent and blood pressure was above normal properly due to heavy early morning traffic- what should have taken under an hour took nearly 90 minutes. But by 10:30 it settled and commenced.

Under normal circumstances I find the drive in relaxing but not today. And this treatment can take about 3 to 4 hours. Pre meds done which includes painkillers, steroids (Cortisone) and anti inflammatory drips. Then 30mlg of IVIG followed by 15mlg of IVIG’s. Allowing plenty of time to write this article. 

With the exception of Terrys updates for his ongoing battle against Sarcoma I’ve eased back on my own articles. After multiple attempts to write a mental health article I have finally decided to not write it, it could be down to the fact that I’m not in a good frame of mind since 2021, not been able to secure employment is a major factor for me, after nearly 40 years of employment through multiple recession and even through Chemotherapy it is very difficult. So much for the so called “staff shortages” in Ireland 300 job applications, 3 answers and 1 interview. And the weather since October includes rain, freezing temperatures and snow. But hopefully 2023 will be better…after January

IVIG (Immunoglobulin therapy)

Immunoglobulins are the antibodies produced naturally by the body’s immune system, which help fight infection and disease.

Intravenous immunoglobulin, or IVIg, is a treatment that combines immunoglobulins (im-yoo-no-glob-yoo-lins) donated by different people to treat various conditions. Intravenous means that it is given by a drip.

IVIg and other immunoglobulins are made from plasma.

IVIg is used to reduce the effects of some inflammatory conditions that involve the immune system, also known as autoimmune diseases. It’s also used to increase levels of immunoglobulins if these are low, or have been lowered by treatment with other drugs, such as chemotherapy in particular Rituximab.

Since commencing IVIG last July I have found a massive reduction in infections like pneumonia and chronic chest infections- I’ve had one bad cold shortly before Christmas but that was in. Prior to IVIG I had multiple pneumonia attacks which were progressive. These attacks were a serious concern to my oncologist as my family history particularly on my Mum’s side had died following bilateal pneumonia, the team had an absolute fear of a serious pneumonia attack. Hence the use of IVIG’s and it works.

And my oncologist left a third year medical student with me… he enjoys doing this as I can discuss my 9 years of battling both in medical terminology and as a patient view. I personally love doing these meetings- the progress in medical science even since I was first diagnosed in 2014 has been remarkable. But not just in blood cancer but in many other forms of Cancer. I’ve also found the patients views and attitudes towards cancer has changed, cancer is no longer the scary enemy that brings death to your door. Any one of these students could change approaches, treatments, patient approach or finding better procedures or cures. And this student would be a person I believe will have an incredible future. Her questions were brilliant and her research stunning- I know she walked away with a lot of information but during our discussions she mentioned some new treatments that are just entering trials and something as simple as aspirin has now start to become a major part of cancer prevention. The IVIG’s trials I am on is also a worldwide game changer, both as recurrent cancer and cancer prevention. It is so reassuring for future generations battling cancer.

The effects I have to IVIG’s are mild, about 48 hours of headaches and my old friend fatigue over about 7 to 10 days. All easy to deal with to be honest- just chill out and let the infusion do it’s job.

After completing IVIG the oncologist has decided to continue the treatment, my next infusion will be in April 2023.

Last note. A year ago yesterday our 9 1/2 year old Pomeranian had to be put to sleep. For pet lovers they know this is like loosing a family member. Benji had help us through so much over the years, 3 house moves, my initial diagnosis in 2014, chemo in 2014, terminal diagnosis following radiotherapy in late 2014, relapse in 2017 followed by aggressive chemo & stem cell transplant. He was an absolute comfort to me, after my mum passed in 2018 he was yet again there for me. And in 2020 when Anita was diagnosed with VIN cancer. Where Poms are considered the go to only one person Benji shared his love with both of us. Granted he ignored my 22 year old African Grey parrot Harry. But Harry was also a massive help in both of our recovery. So we decided to not get another dog…. That lasted till February when we met a lady breeding “Double Muscle Short Legged Jack Russell” and we got adopted by Alfie for Anita’s birthday however the breeder agreed to keep him till we moved house in late February. We agreed the following

No human food only a mix of dry & wet dog food ❌

No sitting on couch ❌

Never allowed in bedroom ❌

Etc etc 

“Yeah right”

The no human food lasted a week or two

Not allowed on couch – a day

Not allowed in bedrooms ended in June, we were doing great on that one until Anita’s mum came to visit and babysit when Anita joined me in Lanzarote for my 60th. Now he sleeps with us and I have to drag him out of bed. 

But another dog with a beautiful nature who shares his love & devotion with both of us.

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