It has now been three years since I was diagnosed with aplastic anemia, and subsequently released from St. John's Mercy Medical center in St. Louis.
What has changed since last year? Not much. I still take cyclosporine, twice a day. I still have annoying side effects, like increased hair growth and decreased ability to fight infections (that I now get much more often than before I had AA).
I moved to the West Coast and I live in Oregon now. Two weeks ago I met my new hematologist/oncologist for the first time, Dr. Richard Maziarz. He's a nice guy, and our first meeting was very comforting. One of my STL doctors, Dr. DiPersio, referred me to my new doc. Apparently the BMT and Hematologic Malignancy community isn't very big, and the two are friends despite being 2500 miles apart.
The new doctor practices at Oregon Health & Sciences University, which has a beautiful campus on top of a large hill in South Portland. I'm about 2 hours away, but since I'll only see Dr. Maziarz every few months it's not such a big deal.
Are you watching the summer olympics in Beijing? There is an American swimmer named Dara Torres, and she's a big story because of her age and returning to competetive swimming after retiring three times. A sidenote to her story is that her coach, Michael Lohberg, was recently diagnosed with aplastic anemia. Not much information is available about him, but I wonder if his AA is considered (like many) to be idiopathic? I only bring him up because he obviously spends much of his time around a pool and pool chemicals, like I did for many years as a swimmer and lifeguard. I wonder if there could be a connection? That's probably as much a conspiracy theory as anything else, but I doubt anybody could prove that's not the case.
I wish him and his family the best, of course. If any others are reading this that have any sort of AA and swimming/pool connection, please contact me. My email is at the top of this page.