So What is This Plasma Exchange, and Why Am I Doing It?

Many of you have recently met me and I’m sure you have many questions about my journey. What’s wrong with me? Why am I doing Plasma Exchange? Why am I so sick?


I guess you can say that I have every disease known to man, and quite a few that man has not quite figured out yet. Okay, I know I’m exaggerating, but seriously, how many diseases can one person has?! The list seems infinite. Yes, I’ll get to the point now.

Before I began Plasma Exchange, I was in a wheelchair. I could not walk without my low blood pressure causing severe tachycardia which then induced severe shortness of breath. I could not even walk two feet without struggling. There’s endless chronic nausea, I’m either too hot or too cold, I’m light sensitive. My digestive system is a mess. Either things moved too fast, triggering diarrhea and vomiting, or things simply stopped. 

Let’s just say that my body is kinda self destructing.


Why is This Happening To Me, You Ask?
My immune system is destroying and blocking signals in regards to my autonomic nervous system. Your Autonomic Nervous System is what controls unconscious processes, such as breathing, digestion, pupil dilation, pulse, blood pressure, vasoconstriction, body temperature and more. My immune system is causing my Autonomic Nervous System to malfunction. It’s out of control. My body is unstable.

To be more specific, I have confirmed Autonomic and Peripheral Neuropathy, that are suspect to be autoimmune. I also have suspected Small Fiber Neuropathy and suspected Autoimmune Autonomic Ganglionopathy. The first three Neuropathies are where antibodies are damaging my nerves that affect nerve signals. The latter is where antibodies are blocking receptors. Essentially, the messages my brain sends aren’t being received by the rest of my body. The fact that I respond to autoimmune treatment positively, kind of proves that I have the above conditions. I also have Ulcerative Colitis, POTS, Orthostatic Hypotension, Gastritis, Gastroparesis and more. This Plasma Exchange referral kind of summarizes things up.


So What is This Plasma Exchange, and Why Am I Doing It?
Plasma Exchange is a treatment where the plasma, containing antibodies, is filtered out of your blood. I’m doing this because the root of my conditions like Gastroparesis, POTS, Orthostatic Hypotension, Dysautonomia, Autonomic Neuropathy, Peripheral Neuropathy and suspect Autoimmune Autonomic Ganglionopathy seems to be caused by my malfunctioning immune system. I also have Celiac Disease, Gastritis, chronic migraines, Sjogren’s Syndrome and Ulcerative Colitis. Removing the plasma from my blood means that the evil antibodies that are attacking me are gone! They obviously regenerate again, which is why I need frequent weekly treatment to remove them. I get this done at Princess Margaret’s Aphresis Unit, in Toronto General Hospital. There is more information about Plasma Exchange and how it’s done here.


With this treatment, I went from being in a wheelchair because my blood pressure and heart rate were so bad to WALKING AGAIN! Plasma Exchange isn’t a cure as it doesn’t stop my body from producing the evil antibodies, but it removes them which eases/stops the damage. It’s symptom management, rather than a cure – but I’ll take whatever I can get.


For a detailed account of how I got sick from the very beginning, before the Plasma Exchange began, please visit my About Me page.


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