I woke up with a sore throat. In the past, a sore throat is a precursor to being sick. I CAN’T get sick. I’m only 2 months post heart transplant. When you’re sick, you’re more prone to infections. If I get an infection, I might contract cancer, and the only treatment is chemotherapy. Or infections could damage my new heart and I’ll need another heart.
Let me explain:
It’s really easy for me to get sick right now. Your immune system fights off colds, but it also fights foreign substances. When I got my heart transplant, the doctors created a black death for my immune system. That way my white blood cells can’t fight against my new heart.
After the black death, I also take immunosuppressants. Immunosuppressants are medications that suppress your immune system. We need to make sure the population of my white blood cells are controlled. With these immunosuppressants, I’m more vulnerable to infections.
I say right now because when you’re fresh out of transplant you’ll be more vulnerable than a year later. As your body gets more adjusted to your new organ, you can decrease your immunosuppressants and allow your immune system to become stronger. As I’m only 2 months post, I’m more vulnerable than I will be 6 months post.
If I get sick right now, I don’t know whether my immune system will be strong enough to fight it. If my immune system isn’t strong enough, I can get an infection. The infection can damage my heart, and worse case scenario make me need another one.
Another possibility is I get lymphoma. When you’re sick, you activate your lymph nodes to fight off infections. Lymphoma comes from those lymph nodes. If you’re to get cancer after heart transplant, it’ll be lymphoma. The only treatment for me is chemotherapy.