Life with Mikey, the Rituxan infusion

Quick update:

Rituxan infusion finished Monday evening with no side affects so far. Dr O apt Tuesday continues 60 mg daily prednisone until after next infusion: 13Mar.

Long story:

Monday was long but only moderately eventful.

The first “event” happened after we left home ~11:00. Kathy, having checked the traffic map, remarked that it looked like there was an accident south of downtown, because the I5 express lanes and main lane were “black”. Shortly after we got on I5 SB, the traffic sign read “I5 blocked; take alternate routes.” So we joined the very long queue off the freeway and made our way to UW on surface streets. We still managed to get to the UW Medical Center’s 4 South Special Procedures Clinic a few minutes before our noon appointment.

Our nurse, Kimberly, was fabulous. She’s a native of Hong Kong; came to the States when she was 22. And she’s three weeks older than me. She had read my complete medical history before we arrived, and she asked detailed, clarifying questions. Extremely impressed.

Before starting the infusion, I took one tablet each of Benadryl and Tylenol, standard procedure when using Rituxan for pemphigus.

About an hour later (we waited while the pharmacy mixed the drug), Kimberly started the infusion at a very slow rate. The protocol calls for increasing the rate every 30 minutes, assuming vitals are stable and I don’t feel anything *bad*.

After about 45 minutes, I felt flushed {felt like a hot flash}. Kathy said my whole face matched my rosy cheeks. 😉 So Kimberly stopped the infusion and gave me an IV dose of Benadryl. Some time went by; I felt the flush dissipate but still felt light-headed. Kimberly then gave me another oral dose of Tylenol. After ~30 minutes the combo settled me enough so she could re-start the infusion at the initial dose rate.

So we were there until 7.30 which happens to be when they close the Special Procedures Clinic. Kinda weird walking down empty hospital hallways.

But that was it. I have not experienced any other side effects — the common ones are flu-like symptoms (body aches, fever).

We go back on March 13 for the second infusion. One treatment = two sessions. New math. 😉


About 3 pm, Jay texted that it was hailing in Lynnwood, with thunder. About a half-hour later, the thunder arrived on the UW campus. Three big rumbles. That hail would turn to snow at various places around the region, where traffic was still paralyzed due to the AM overturned tanker (butane) on SB I5 near I90. Kathy was very glad she wasn’t commuting on Monday!

By 7.30 pm, when Kathy drove us home, the roads were pretty clear.

Aside: Monday at 5pm, February 2017 hit the record books as the second wettest February on record, with 8.79 inches. It was 8.84″ at 10 pm. It feels unlikely we’ll pass the 9.11″ record set in 1961 to be number one.


Saw Dr O on Tuesday and he was not concerned about my mouth even when I described how the sores seem to be causing renewed pain. Kathy was a little concerned about three places on my back, but whatever she’s seeing, he says they’re not new blisters. Yeah!

And three more medical students got to learn about pemphigus. 🙂

We’ll see him again on March 14. He plans to reduce the prednisone again, assuming the pemphigus remains in check.

OH. We awoke to snow both Monday and Tuesday mornings. There’s supposed to be a foot of new snow on the passes Tuesday night. It’s the end of February – time for winter to go to sleep!


Thanks for listening

Kathy, Katie & Michael

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