Ann complained of being "a little short of breath" one day while walking to class last week and those few words have proven to be like a small snow ball rolling down an alpine mountain side. Pressing question was "how tall is the mountain and how big will the snow ball get"?
Well that and the chest x-ray that MDA took last week, which showed a couple more fluffy infiltrates on it that weren't around on a similar one from a year ago. With that MDA went into overdrive looking into what the source of the breathlessness (dyspnea) and fluffy looking wisps are. Principally the cause was one of the following: Lymphoma, Extramedullary ALL, Aspergillosis (or some other equally unattractive fungal variant), Pneumonia, or GvHD.
One open lung lung biopsy, liver biopsy, lots of blood work and 5 trips to Houston later and we have an answer - chronic GvHD of the Lung. This is an add on to the skin, eye, mouth and liver manifestations that have already flared up.
So good news here is that in general GvHD is good. It is much (very much) preferable to Leukemia and Dr. K believes that Ann's new case is relatively mild. The treatment is Steroids, and Ann has had a fast reaction to them in the past. So the steroid pulse may only last a couple of weeks or months.
Unfortunately there is a down side. Puffiness, low immune system, anti-biotics, anti-funguals and a few other things that Ann will probably have lots more to talk about. That’s a subtle way of saying she's going to want to vent...lots and I'm not going to take that away from her.
For my part, I'm just grateful that she's still here for me to love.