Who loves the sun?

May 9th, 2010
by kpickett

I do.

Being from Louisiana, and now living just south of the arctic circle, I need the sun.   But I can’t be out in it.   Sunlight can stimulate my immune system (particularly the immune-boosting helper T-cells), which will lead to that conflict I wrote about in the last post, known as Graft Versus Host Disease in medical circles.   Unlike the case of an organ transplant—where there is risk of Host (the person’s immune system) Versus Graft (the transplanted organ) Disease—Graft Versus Host Disease (GVHD) is the reverse, sort of.   In this case, my new immune system (the graft) attacks my entire body (the host). Scary, eh?

Even scarier, if GVHD happens, the risk of relapse is much lower in my cancer.   So ideally, GVHD will happen a bit, but not too much.   Walking that tightrope is up to my oncologist, and he says he can do it. Again . . . scary.   But if all goes well, GVHD won’t happen for many months, during which the immunosuppressive drugs I’m on are slowly removed.

But direct sunlight could counteract the effect of the immunosuppressives, awaking my sleeping, new immune system.   For now, I’m something of a vampire, coming out of my lair only at dusk, making sure to avoid direct sunlight.   So because of all this, a good friend of ours, Karole Moe, who is an amazing artist and who just happens to live in Boston, dropped off some sunlight for us:

A Pollock-esque joy.  Bright rays fill the foreground, and dusky wisps fade into the background. Few things make me genuinely happy these days.   This does every day.

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Posted in biology, illness journaling | Comments (2)

2 Responses to “Who loves the sun?”

  1. Joan Herbers says:

    Hello Kurt! I tune into your blog regulalrly, and like the mix of health and wasp/ evolution related musings. You have a unique take on your cancer, and I hope others interested in evolutionary medicine discover you as well.

    Thank you for allowing me to be part of your journey.

    • kpickett says:

      Thanks so much, Joan. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog. Apropos of evolutionary medicine, once I’m through this I’m going to start a new course on just that. I’m working the course up now.

      Thanks again for posting and reading.

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