Case Study: Marwa’s story
Does it hurt? This is usually the first question I get asked when I tell people that I am on LDL-Apheresis treatment and my answer is always the same NO.
My parents discovered I have cholesterol when I was 4 years old, and straight away the doctor recommended LDL Apheresis treatment to help lower my cholesterol levels, unfortunately at that time we were living in a country that didn’t have the treatment.
By the age of 9 I started my treatment, the first time that I was connected to the machine I was terrified thinking this will hurt, and being 9 years old naturally meant I wanted to play and run around rather than sitting on a chair for 3 hours strapped and in pain. However, I soon after discovered that it was virtually pain-free (Still strapped in) but it just meant I have extra time to do study or do my homework.
I am 24 years old now, and have been on few different LDL-Apheresis machines which all felt the same to me and maybe the only difference between them is just technical rather than physical. Going to the hospital on fortnightly basis (3 hours each time) is part of my routine, I work full-time and my company accommodates my needs with no problem. The treatment has never affected my everyday life activities, and I usually go shopping or just relax after the treatment.
LDL-Apheresis when explained to people does sound complicated, and when a person looks at the machine it can look complex and maybe scary. But being a patient who has been on the treatment for the past 15 years I now understand where each tube gets connected to, and all machines have an audio-visual alarm system alerting the nursing staff, who is with the patient and machine throughout the treatment, to the need to adjust the machine settings or flush the lines.