Thursday, November 10, 2011

5 Month Biopsy Results (4 Weeks Late) and a Bunch of Other News

5 Month Biopsy (October)
My biopsy last month went very smoothly. I was hydrated and Dr. Goldberg was done before I even knew he started. The biopsy showed that I continue to show no signs of rejection. My blood work however, was a little different. It showed that my Tacrolimus levels were very low and if they didn't increase, they would not be able to lower my prednisone from 7.5mg to 5mg. They increased my daily dose of Tacrolimus and sent me a script to get blood work done the following week to ensure that, if my levels were at an acceptable level, I could decrease my Prednisone two weeks before my next Biopsy. I had the blood work done and my levels were in the acceptable range (between 8 & 15) and they were able to decrease my prednisone to 5mg the following week!

Dentist Appointments
A couple days before my October biopsy, I had my first dentist appointment since my transplant. Once again, I have no cavities (never had one in my life!). My dentist wanted me to look into getting my wisdom teeth removed. He has been asking me to get them out for a couple of years but with everything going on with my heart, it has been put on the back burner. I spoke with my doctors in Philly, and although they preferred that I wait a year after transplant before having a surgery, they agreed to sign off to allow for me to have them taken out when I told them I would like to return to work without any surgeries in my future. I met with the Oral Surgeon this week, Dr. Alberto who is the head of oral surgery at UMDNJ, and after she looked at a more recent panoramic X-ray of my mouth, she determined that the risk of taking the the impacted teeth out way the benefits. My lower wisdom teeth, are very close to the main nerve in my jaw and there is a possibility that I may not get feeling back in my jaw. The upper wisdom teeth are very close to my sinuses and they may have to do some reconstruction to make sure they are not affected. Since I am immunosuppressed, it may take longer to heal and I am at a higher risk of infection. Now, there is also the issue of my "Baby Tooth." As some of you may know, I still have a baby tooth in my mouth that never fell out and the Adult Tooth is now impacted in my bone. She would also take this out and again, reconstruction would be necessary so as of right now, all dental work (on my wisdom teeth anyway) is on hold until they start to cause a problem, which so far, they haven't.

Returning to Work
I was scheduled to return to work on Monday November 21st, depending on what the oral surgeon said. Since the wisdom teeth will not removed I was planning on returning on this date. However, last week my boss Lauren called me and informed me that Smiths Detection's Morristown office will be closing and all employees will be getting laid off by the end of the fiscal year (July 30th, 2012). I spoke with HR and they said that if I was to return to work on the 21st, they would not be able to guarantee that I would be working for the six months needed to be eligible for state unemployment. Since I am already on Federal Social Security Disability, I may be exempt from the six month work period but I have been unable to get in touch with a state disability representative to get a definitive answer. If I am unable to collect state unemployment, my doctors will keep me out on Long term disability so I still have some form of income. If I stay on Long Term Disability, my benefits with Smiths Detection will run out the end of January, 2012 as that will be the twelve month period that the company keeps employees on their benefits. At that time I would either have to get individual insurance or go on COBRA.

I hope to get answers as to where I stand for unemployment soon. Until then, I am once again asking for your help. If you know of any one who is looking for a graphic designer or a company that is hiring one, please email with the information and I will apply or reply with my resume. I thank you all in advance for your help with this and for all of your support throughout the past year.

I had my six month biopsy yesterday and I will update the blog with my results as soon as I get them. Thank you again for everything!