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LEMTRADA is a prescription medicine used to treat adults with relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Because of its risks, LEMTRADA is generally used in people who have tried 2 or more MS medicines that have not worked well enough. It is not known if LEMTRADA is safe and effective for use in children under 17 years of age.

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Infusion Fashion: Looking the Part LEMTRADA patient blogger: Katy By Katy, Wife, Writer, and Yoga Instructor • May 16, 2018

LEMTRADA® (alemtuzumab) patient, Katy, preparing for her infusion

Fashion and cosmetics are probably not the first things that come to mind when your neurologist prescribes LEMTRADA. Consisting of several consecutive days of intravenous infusions, the treatment most likely inspires visions of you curling up make-up free in your most worn-out pair of old sweats. You may even consider finishing off the look with a baseball cap in an effort to hide the hair you don’t have energy to spend time on.

But not sticking to your usual morning routine may actually have an impact that is more than superficial.

If you are in the midst of a very serious exacerbation or are faced with a symptom that refuses to resolve or seems to be progressing, I get it. Discussing cosmetic care and the value of coordinating clothes may sound trite, annoying, or even infuriating.

But one of the first lessons that my mother taught me by example—even as she was in the final years of her own battle with MS—was to try to make things look as easy as possible. And there is a lot of power in putting on a layer of lovely lipstick, a cuddly cashmere sweater, or a bright blazer when you want to appear positive and pulled together. Whatever makes you feel good. Just a few simple things can help you take back an element of control.

Dressing the Part

If you are constantly communicating to others how badly you feel by discounting your appearance, chances are you will begin to believe the narrative. You succumb to the idea that you’re nothing more than a sick person constantly battling the dismal realities of living with a chronic disease. Don’t let that be your story.

I know that’s often easier said than done. Years ago, when a case of optic neuritis stole the vision from my left eye, I had pretty serious trouble putting on my eyeliner—which may sound like a little thing. But when my body was not functioning properly, the idea of my face looking put-together was important to me. My mom’s hand was not quite steady enough to help me apply my makeup on that particular day, so instead she guided dad as he applied my eyeliner for me with surgical precision.

Even though I still had no sight in my left eye that afternoon, I had a sense of confidence and optimism knowing that, thanks to a little bit of love and help from the people who cared about me, I at least looked like the same old “me” to the rest of the world.

When you are preparing for your consecutive days of LEMTRADA infusions, absolutely keep comfort in mind. Stock up on snuggly sweaters. And invest in a few pairs of super soft socks since infusion rooms can get chilly. Set yourself up for success by layering your clothes so you can adjust accordingly.

But in your practicality, also be sure to choose garments that make you feel confident and self-assured. I remember when I had to constantly tote my IV bag with me to the ladies room the week of my infusions, I appreciated that I was at least wearing bright, cheerful clothes that I loved and some fresh mascara.

You know what they say. It’s the little things. Don’t discount them just because you have relapsing MS. 

Those little things—they still matter.

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