5 Weeks

My beta yesterday was 6786! Based on my previous numbers last week, I was hoping for around 4000. What a sigh of relief it was to have good news! One more goal accomplished on my long list of “one thing at a time.”

Week in Review

I received correspondence back from the doctor in London who graciously offered to liaise with my doctor here in the US. I was able to get my doctor to reach out to him, and they were able to connect quickly. My doctor called Tuesday morning and actually took time to chat with me about the medication protocol, the monitoring, and lab work that was recommended by the doctor in London. I will be switching to prednisolone 10mg daily from prednisone 20mg which I have been taking for a week and a half. I’m not entirely sure of the difference other than it seems that prednisolone is easier on the liver, especially when taking for longer periods of time as I will be. The doctor in London explained that transplant patients receive this medication at 5-10mg daily, which is the theoretical background for this treatment. My doctor also agreed to do blood draws to monitor my tacrolimus trough levels so I can be sure that I’m taking the right dose. We are aiming for the trough level (level right before the next dose) to be between 5-8 ng/ml. This means that every few weeks I will have to go in to get my blood drawn at a specific time in order to get an accurate reading.

I upped my dose of tacrolimus to 3mg twice a day as of Tuesday per my doctor and his discussion with the doctor in London.

As far as my diet, I am sticking to a gluten free, low lactose diet. I’ve been working on this diet since last fall, and I feel pretty decent. I still have dairy such as butter and kefir as the amount of lactose is relatively low. I’ve also opted for lactaid milk rather than buying almond or coconut milk. I obviously don’t know how much effect these choices will have, but I like feeling a sense of control in avoiding potentially inflammatory foods. I have been trying to make a smoothie each morning with spinach, berries, kefir and beet juice. (Kefir because probiotics are good for regulating the immune system, beet juice because it helps increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure, and spinach for iron.) I add in protein to my breakfast with eggs or handful of almonds. Lunch and dinner are not as strict, but I’m doing my best to get enough protein and veggies. I’ve started drinking a cup of pomegranate juice each afternoon as there is a study that has shown pomegranate juice to have positive impacts on the placenta. I also tried making ginger and turmeric tea a couple of times for the anti-inflammatory effects. It’s actually pretty good, and since ginger is supposed to help with morning sickness, I’m sure I’ll be making more use of this tea soon.

I have waves of nausea throughout the day, but nothing terrible yet. I’m mostly just bloated and feel cramp-y from time to time. This is hopefully more psychological than a “real” symptom, but I’ve had itchiness on my arms from time to time, and each time I freak out that I’m getting hives or a rash, and it’s a sign that my immune system is messing up again. I keep layering on lotion and telling myself to chill.

With the immunosuppressants I’m on, I’m incredibly paranoid about catching something like the flu or coronavirus. For a bit of perspective, I had a bit of a germaphobe streak as a kid/teen, and it took me years to work out the quirks and lighten up. In reality, I’m still a work in progress and probably still have too many irrational rituals. Now that there’s a pandemic, I’m doing my best to stay calm while taking steps to limit my exposure. Thankfully I am working from home for the time being, and my husband is obliging my paranoid requests in order to reduce risk.

Up Next!

On to the next step: an early ultrasound to confirm it’s a viable pregnancy. We are scheduled for the 26th when I will be 6 weeks + 4 days. Fingers and toes crossed we will get to see that wonderful flicker of a strong heartbeat on the screen!

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