Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Beginning The New Year, With A New Treatment Regimen

It's truly amazing what a few months can do for one's health and wellness, in a wonderful way of course. Since my previous post from July, I have now been established at a different Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC), and have been under the care of an all new physician team. Having a fresh set of eyes on my treatment plans have been the breath of fresh air this patient has been longing and praying for quite some time.

Adynovate Hemophilia Factor VIII Therapy
For starters, I am now on a brand new drug to treat my hemophilia called Adynovate, a longer-lasting factor VIII infusion that requires only 2 infusions a week for prophylactic therapy. That's right, I've gone from 3 infusions a week, to only two! So far, after being on the drug for 2 weeks, it's still too early to document the side effects, improvements and overall benefits of a long lasting anti-hemophiliac drug, but the initial reactions are good, and I'm finding myself just a tad more active than usual. Not sure if it's the Holiday season, or the fact I'm just feeling better, but I will certainly keep all my faithful bleeding disorder community readers up to date on my progress. It is also worth mentioning that it was determined that my previous dosing was far under the limit needed for prophy-infusions. I was taking 2000IU 3x-weekly; whereas now I take 3200IU on Wednesday and Saturday. Physicians measure your overall weight ratio to determine the proper dosing for factor VIII. My dosing had not been re-evaluated in over 10 years. So having a new physician on my team who is proactive in the community and constantly being updated on the latest treatment methods is a huge leap forward going into 2017.

I also broke an all time personal record in a single week of walking, proving to myself that age, chronic illness and stereotypes aren't necessarily accurate when it comes to internal will power. This past autumn, my wife and I were in New York City for some special events before Thanksgiving, and when my totals were calculated on my Apple Watch for the week, the results blew me away. I had walked a total distance of 41.42 miles in just Manhattan alone. Let this be an encouragement to those with joint damage, bad knees and ankles like myself, that you can do it! There were many blocks of walking, many steps down into the Subway, but I did it! Sure I was sore at night, but the overall benefits of walking and being active truly outweigh not doing anything at all. The human body is truly a remarkable creation, and it's very resilient, so I encourage all of you to get the proper exercise. Just walking a couple times a week will benefit you immensely.

Tomorrow morning, I start a brand new HIV medication and I'm really excited and anxious to be on the drug. For over 12 years, I've been on the same HIV regimen. As a matter of fact, it was when I was still living in Kentucky in 2004 that my HIV regimen was "concocted, and I've been on these 5 pills every day since then. Well, effective tomorrow, all of that is about to change with the new anti-viral called Triumeq. It contains Abacavir / dolutegravir / lamivudine, two of the drugs I am already taking from the tablet Epzicom. So dropping Reyataz (a protease inhibitor) and Nevirapine, I will now be on just one single tablet a day. I have to admit, I'm a little nervous about dropping three medications cold turkey and starting a brand new one. I am sure my digestive tract is going to be wonky for the next few days, but the benefits of being on this new drug are hopefully improved numbers for lipids and overall increased CD4 counts; my last few have hovered around the 400 mark. Triumeq is a combination class drug including an all new integrase inhibitor dolutegravir. I am eager to blog my overall progress on the new medication, and just really happy to go from 5 pills a day, to now only 1. We've come so far in the advancement of HIV treatment regimens, it simply astonishes me the improvements we're making. Hoping one day, a true cure for HIV will be available like there was for my HCV back in 2014.

So, 2017 is shaping up to be a year of change, refresh and progress. My hemophilia is now well maintained, with no current break out bleeds, and the new Adynovate seems to be doing exactly what it's meant to. With my HIV regimen change, there are some concerns about possible new side effects, lab work, CD4 counts etc... But that is all going to be monitored pretty frequently over the upcoming weeks/months on the new Triumeq drug. Overall, I am pleased with my decision to move my treatment and care from one facility to another. I encourage each of you who read this, if you're not happy with your current HTC and have the option to change, it could prove beneficial, especially if you aren't getting the results you're wanting or hoping for. Already, in just two months, I've had more tests, progress and treatments prescribed to me than ever before, and that's a great thing. I'm thrilled to see what accomplishments and doors will be open in 2017. Stay tuned!