A Moment to Remember: Choosing LEMTRADA By Katy, Wife, Writer, and Yoga Instructor • January 9, 2017
When I was diagnosed with relapsing multiple sclerosis at 19 years old, I was terrified, to say the least. But I was also determined to do everything possible to fight this disease. I didn’t hesitate to start an injectable medication, just weeks after my diagnosis, and I got into a groove of pre-medicating before sticking myself with a needle. The habit was no picnic, but I knew that it was one that I had to embrace if I was going to have a fighting chance.
I became a pro at self-injections, and my best friend and college roommate got into a rhythm as well, administering my injections when I didn’t have it in me. It wasn’t so bad, really.
But about a year later, all of the injections proved to be virtually ineffective. I was experiencing various symptoms as a result of several new lesions on my brain and spinal cord—clear indications that my medication was not working. So we tried something new—a different injectable.
The injections were not, by any means, helping with my relapsing MS. I still experienced relapses. There was itching, numbness, and limping when I walked for extended periods of time. But my healthcare providers felt confident that my disease was at least progressing more slowly than it would have had I not been taking the medication. And I learned to accept the discomfort that had become my constant companion.
Life was challenging in a way I could never have anticipated, but I lived it anyway. I studied in France, traveled to Greece, lived in Italy, and established a byline in local publications. I married the love of my life, and I developed a yoga practice that flourishes still today, providing support when I need it most and challenging me on days when I feel particularly strong. I felt a sense of relief that my relapsing MS wasn’t in the spotlight anymore.
But years later, a relapse I had while vacationing in Prague was a wake-up call—a reminder that we really don’t have much control over our lives, but instead are called to make the best of every situation. Whether or not it looks like a dream or a painful vision we would rather ignore, we are forced to manage the reality of each situation.
I made the three-hour drive to Alabama a day and a half after I arrived back in the United States, anxious to hear my neurologist’s take on the most recent relapse. And after we had a long talk about my disease state, we concluded that my current treatment was no longer working.
My neurologist and I discussed several options, but the one that sounded the most appealing to me was LEMTRADA. I trusted my doctor’s advice, and I felt that taking LEMTRADA was the right choice for me.
I knew that there were risks associated with the medication, including autoimmune problems and infections. But I also trusted that my doctor and nurses would monitor me regularly and take every possible precaution to ensure that any side effects of the medication would be managed accordingly. So I made the decision to start LEMTRADA.
After my first round of treatment, I was exhausted. But I was not surprised. I had been well informed about possible side effects and had planned to take time off from work to recover from the infusions. I experienced some slight swelling and tenderness of my gums for a few days after I got home. My solution was to finally give myself a break and drink milkshakes while I rested on the couch.
Though it took some time before I felt completely recovered from the infusion reactions with regard to my energy levels, I felt better with each passing day.
My mother always told me that there would be a cure for RMS by the time I was 30. Even though I’m a little older than that, and we haven’t found the antidote for relapsing MS, I believe this is the best time in history to live with this disease because of all the possible treatment options available. I really encourage you to have a discussion with your doctor and explore your treatment options until you find the one that’s right for you.
- CLINICAL TRIALS
- THE DECISION
My Infusion Encounters
By Katy, Wife, Writer, and Yoga Instructor, December 14, 2016
Over the years I had grown accustomed to the injection drill. Premedicate by taking an anti-inflammatory medication
Tackling My Relapsing MS Head-On
By Donnie, Father, Husband, Project Leader, Former Athlete, December 7, 2016
I remember when it happened—when relapsing MS showed up uninvited, but I processed the news, and I approached my diagnosis
Attend a live event or watch one online to learn more about LEMTRADA.
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