Thursday, March 13, 2014

Completely honored

Facing MS has been something I have done head on. Well maybe that isn't entirely true. There have been times when I refused to accept anything is "wrong" with me, I still do to an extent. I know I have limitations, but I refuse to allow those to dictate who I am or what I am capable of. 

This week, as an alumni,  my journey was featured in an article for their magazine . My biggest take away is the honor of representing both my school and the MS community. 

I am here! I didn't crawl into bed and quit! Nope, I'm not done, I've got lots to do... The best is yet to come! Look out!

Friday, March 7, 2014

No Love for the Numbers

Okay... so I completely LOVE My MS treatment. BUT apparently my MS treatment doesn't exactly love me back. I have been taking Gilenya   since being in the Phase III study and then the FDA approval.
Many people ask me- side affects? To which I unknowingly reply- NOPE!

Then I head to my AWESOME (and I do mean that- just read any of my other blogs) Doctor. So in terms of MS and it's ugly head my treatment currently looks like this:

  • new lesions since original diagnosis... NONE
  • current lesion growth- one has actually gotten smaller (now this could have been from Copaxone use  since 2004 diagnosis) the other lesions have NOT grown.
  • Relapses- NONE.
Changes in Issues-  This is where the REAL information lands!

  • Leg spasms- 2004- I really did think I was going insane, but nope- it was just my MS telling me I was working too hard. Sleep was no help cause I'd lay there and want to get up... AH! so what? One of the first  drugs to enter my daily routine Baclofen  10 mg which was increased as needed along with the times of day (morning and night). Now- I'm at 20 mg tablets and I am allowed up to THREE tablets TWICE A DAY! Yeah... But it does help - on a side note- I did try Lyrica- for 6 months when there was a question as to if the Baclofen was just not helping (back around 2007). Let's just say those warnings at the end of the commercial are there for a reason- heed warnings, and don't do any headers off any bridges!
  • Fatigue- 2005- Started with Provigil 100 mg, (yeah ha!) moved to 200 mg- I know you all saw that one coming! Then thanks to the FDA saying HEY WAIT A MINUTE!!! 2010- Nuvigil- 250 mg (cheaper co-payment)- as in first one was $35 a month, the second is $15 a month!
  • White Blood Cells (WBC)- This is where the meat of this "post" lands. I would say I am healthy. Others may argue. I looked back at my actual "sick" days last year and was pretty impressed with myself! Not bad! Since I battle with migraines as well, MS, hasn't really slowed me down. BUT my blood-work and some other issues tell another story. 
My latest white blood cell count was 4. An improvement, but not good enough (for my Doctor who thrives on perfection). Since November I have ridden the WBC roller-coaster.  Nov- 3.5, Dec- 3.7, Jan 3.8, Feb-4. I really do study for that stupid test, but I'm not good at tests I can't cheat, even a little on. Bummer!

So what has been the result of a plummeted WBC you may ask? Well THANKFULLY (since I can't have the flu shot) I haven't gotten "sick". I haven't come down with any crazy illnesses. And as people were passing along all sorts of nastiness at my work-place (please stay home when you are sick), I managed to slide through. BUT not without other issues.

If you have been following me for any length of time, you'll know in 2009 I had a major "female" related surgery. Well, without going in to great details, I am GLAD at 37 I am not going into a "mid-life" menopause just yet... But with my extremely low WBC it has caused all sorts of havoc on my body's ability to just do the things that bodies do on their own.

Fortunately, I have great Doctors! So after a trip to my other Doctor and great discussion, she plotted a long-term course for long-term happiness. (I think I tip-toed through that as best as possible). But of course it did mean two new prescriptions added to my already great list!

When I'm asked "are you taking anything" by "outsiders" for routine tests or anything, I just laugh. "Why, yes, yes I am!" Half the medications they can't spell, and most of them they have no clue what they are or what they do. I love when they pull out the drug book to make sure they aren't about to kill me. Look, my Doctor (who by the way has my complete drug list too) ordered the test the way he (or sometimes she) wants it, so I'm pretty sure you aren't going to find anything that indicates "death".
I hand over a list, with all the details now, I stopped writing all of the information. I mean seriously... That's alot of stuff! And most of the time they don't look at it anyway. Sometimes I sneak silly things in just to see/test them. For instance... Baclofen 20mg 3 tabs 2x times, Topomax 100mg 1 tab 2 times, Hugs 2-3 3x times, Gileyna .5 mg 1 tab, Twix 2 bars 1- Daily, Nuvigil 250 mg- 1 tab, Girl Scout cookies- 1 row, sleeve, box- as needed, Vitamin D- 5000IU, Multi Vitamin- Daily, ProBiotic- Daily

You would be SHOCKED how many times they look over my "medications" and ask-
 "Is this the complete list?"
 -Ah, yep!
"okay, great. What brings you in today?"
-Well it certainly isn't the Hugs, Girl Scout cookies, or the Twix! And they will look at me like I have horns coming out of my head... Till I laugh and say... "never mind...."
So while I continue to fight the numbers- cause I really do enjoy having MS for the few minutes it takes me to take my medication (that's what I always tell myself), I really do need to get my WBC up so I can make Dr. K happy and get him off my back! He may be a little guy (I can still take him!), but he makes sure I feel the weight of his pressure to make sure I am okay (which is a good thing!).  Cause otherwise... who knows... I would just run wild!