For those of you following the continuing saga of my pursuit of relief from my urticaria:

  1. Part One
  2. Part Two
  3. Part Three

The latest update is that I finally got in to see a specialist at Vanderbilt ASAP who has some experience in treating hypereosinophilia (a much more serious condition than mine) with a drug called Gleevec (Imatinib Mesylate) that inhibits tyrosine kinase, an enzyme that aids in the production, growth, degranulation etc, of eosinophils. Eosinophils, in turn, are white blood cells that contain granules of cationic proteins that, when released, stimulate mast cells to degranulate and release histamine and other crap into the tissue, causing inflammation and release of mucus and all kinds of other good stuff. I think I got that mostly right.

Anyways, they took a blood sample and found my eosinophil levels to be around 0.4 x 10^9 cells/mL. (Compare to >1.5 x 10^9 cells/mL to qualify as “hypereosinophilic). The idea is that maybe the high levels of eosinophils are responsible for my perpetually inflamed sinuses, and hence, my chronic sinusitis. And, also, maybe (an even greater maybe), this is also causing my urticaria.

I get the impression that it’s sortof a chicken-and-the-egg type thing. Are the sinus infections causing the high levels of eosinophils or are the eosinophils causing the sinus infections? Well, I think it’s safe to say that despite massive sinus surgery and too many rounds of steroids and antibiotics to count, that it’s not the former. So, maybe it’s the latter.

Well, I’ll find out – that is, if the pharmacy ever manages to order Gleevec for me.