When a flu is not just a flu

So, I have been down for the better part of 3 weeks with the flu. Not just your average cold but a full on plague. Having the flu is no fun for anyone but when you have autoimmune disease it becomes a whole different experience.

With any kind of virus our immune systems mount a defence. This is normal and healthy. However, if you have autoimmune disease this can make you very sick. Currently, I take a pretty whopping dose of imuran – a drug used originally for kidney transplant patients to stop rejection. Imuran is now a second-level treatment (along with some other drugs of the same type) for ulcerative colitis. Basically the imuran helps to control the immune system so it is not overactive and it stops attacking the colon. Enter a pretty serious virus and the immune system winds up and sets the whole process of autoimmune off. So, in addition to the plague, I had a pretty severe colitis flare up (urgency, mucous, diarrhea etc), 2 rashes, my asthma kicked up big time (which is also autoimmune but may have been exacerbated by the virus) and I got a fungal infection – all symptoms of a screwed up a immune system.

The good news is that the flare up has subsided. Now I will just deal with the aftermath of the pain for the next couple of weeks. Everything is starting to calm down too. The experience of the flu has actually made me contemplate a flu shot but that would just activate my immune system and then I would be sick anyway.

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Published in: on April 4, 2009 at 11:26 am  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow – that is a plague and a half you’ve had. It sounds like a nightmare…I’m glad you’re on the mend.

    PS. Remember not to purchase any individually foil-wrapped Easter eggs as you recover, OK?

  2. I would only purchase them if they were organic and fair trade.

  3. I hear you,,,,,gone are my days of having ‘just a cold or just the flu’ I totally empathize with you
    btw i have had 2 different specialist advise me against getting the flu shots, even when i was still working in hospitals

  4. Glad you are feeling better. I just read “Strong at the Broken places” It’s great.
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22505869/


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