September 19, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Posted in multiple sclerosis tagged , , , at 8:20 pm by melissasummers

Happy Birthday!

Happy Birthday to me,

Happy Birthday to me,

Happy Birthday to me…e…e..e..

Happy Birthday to me!

Today was the perfect day for a birthday, the kind of day that many born in January fantasize about. The sun was shining, a perfect 71 degrees and not a snowflake in sight!

Of course, nothing against my “day” in January, for it marks the origin of my start in this life. Today is another birthday, not an anniversary, holiday or festive occasion created to provide greeting card creators a reason to generate income. Today was the day that I administered to myself interferon shot number 52.

The interferon that I take to help combat Multiple Sclerosis is one that is injected once a week. Since there are 52 weeks in a year….that equals ONE YEAR OF INTERFERON THERAPY!

Honestly, I never dreamed that I would make this milestone. It has been a year of doubts, fears and weaknesses. Interferon therapy is not fun, it’s hard on the body, and it makes me ill for the 24 hours following my shot. There had been more than one occasion in which I seriously considered going off the medication. Thankfully, deep logical thinking and reviews of the medication studies kept me on track.

I do find it odd, the feeling of celebration that is surging through my body. Is it possible for me to celebrate a medication that makes every inch of my body ache? Celebrate waking up at 2am with chills so severe, that my teeth are chattering hard enough to make my jaw hurt? Celebrate that every Friday night I get to sink a needle almost 2 inches in length deep into my leg, knowing that it will bring on these side effects?


Today I celebrate that I was strong enough to continue the interferon therapy. I celebrate that although I had a disease relapse that took my left leg, the strength and control in that leg quickly returned. I celebrate that I have a wonderful and knowledgeable health care team. Finally, I celebrate that I am doing everything that I can possibly do to keep this disease from progressing.




May 17, 2008

Aches and Interferons

Posted in multiple sclerosis tagged , , at 12:30 pm by melissasummers

I am very lucky that I was diagnosed in this decade.  There are many that did not have the benefit of having interferon therapy available to slow down the disease progression.  Interferons do not cure MS, they slow down the disease process, help the nerves heal better after a relapse , however they do not work for everyone.

When dealing with interferons, one must get over any needle phobia. For myself, I had no trouble with the fact that I had to inject myself, what I do have trouble with is that the interferons make me ill.  One of the most common side effects is flu-like symptoms which ease up over time.  Flu like symptoms was a major understatement the first month I began injecting myself! I was very ill with fever, tremors and nausea.  Now, seven months later, I still get ill on occasion with a fever.

So, here I am on a spring Saturday morning, my neck, elbows, hips and ankles aching from a mild fever. I don’t like it.  I don’t have to like it.  So many personal MS stories that I have read early on in the disease were so optimistic, how bright and cheery life can be with this disease.  The negatives are frosted over in these tales with chocolate icing, hiding the fact that there is no sugar in the cake. I am not saying that life cannot be bright and cheery by no means, I am saying that it is perfectly normal to have moments where you can be free to say “I don’t like this!” and “No cake for me, thank you”.  I know how important a tool interferons are to fight this disease. I realize that my injections played a major role in my fast recovery on my last relapse. I harbor no ill feelings towards them..I share my life with them..make accomodating adjustments like a perfect hostess…and it’s okay that I just don’t like it.