A CAD patient’s compendium and Christmas wish list

Having CAD has put my family on the lookout for gifts that keep me warm

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by Mary Lott |

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“Wake up! It’s Christmas morning!” I shook my sister awake and we made our way to the stairs. “Are Mom and Dad up yet?” My sister signaled no and we sat down to wait for their arrival, and for our brothers to join us. We were under strict orders to not enter the family room until everyone was up.

Dad wanted to get pictures of our glee as we removed our stockings from the mantel. All of us children were eager to see what treasures awaited.

That eagerness hasn’t abated one whit since childhood; only the definition of “treasures” has changed. My tastes have become more practical, glittery, and expensive.

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A drawing depicts a gray, quilted, wearable bodysuit that somewhat resembles the shape of an upright manatee.

A “quilted manatee” makes for the latest in bodysuits for CAD patients. (Drawing by Mary Lott)

In 2018, I was diagnosed with cold agglutinin disease (CAD) with accompanying chronic lymphocytic lymphoma. CAD is a rare autoimmune disorder wherein self-reactive antibodies called cold agglutinins bind to red blood cells at cold temperatures, promoting their clumping and destruction.

Having CAD has put my family on the lookout for special gifts for me, primarily to help me stay warm. I have assembled them into “A CAD Christmas Compendium for Consideration,” i.e., a wish list.

One item on my wish list is a jacket with heating coils in it. A friend lent me one so I could attend a football game a few years ago. It kept me so very warm and toasty I hardly noticed that my team had lost. OK, I did notice.

One year, I was shown an image that can best be described as a wearable, quilted manatee. Not only would such a bodysuit have kept me warm, but if I fell down stairs, I would just have bounced. I couldn’t make any sudden moves in such a suit, but it would have kept my fingers and toes the right temperature.

A stocking hangs from a mantel with gifts in it.

Mary Lott’s Christmas stocking with gloves, a warm hat, chemical hand warmers, and mukluks. (Photo by Mary Lott)

My daughters have realized my fingers and toes are the first harbingers of trouble. So a wonderful pair of Mukluks winter boots was under my Christmas tree a few years ago. I treasure them greatly.

Christmas wish lists often neglect the Christmas stocking, so I’ve given my family ideas to help them out. Chemical hand and toe warmers are always welcome. They apply heat to the extremities so the acrocyanosis, or bluish skin discoloration, I experienced some winters ago can be avoided.

I’ve also been gifted with gloves. Mine are very soft, leather ones, lined on the inside with something that feels furry. They’re flexible enough to enable me to drive my car or perform other tasks.

Finally — just a thought — I would greatly appreciate tickets to a tropical island. CADdies are frequently tired as well as cold, so days on a sun-drenched beach or in the water receiving warm salt water therapy always benefit me.

In the Book of Acts, Luke writes: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” But receiving gifts is a whole lot of fun, too. Gifts of warmth and whimsy bring joy to my heart. Happy shopping!

Cold Agglutinin Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Cold Agglutinin Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to cold agglutinin disease.