M is for Mighty

What are those letters M. S. about?

Sometimes it Isn’t Black and White.

Anyone who has ever dealt with a chronic illness knows that choosing the right treatment path can be time, research, and prayer intensive. As stated in earlier posts, we have definitely had our ups and downs. Since June of 2013, Tecfidera has been a great medication for us. The side effects were quickly managed with diet and supplements, and we were able to celebrate NO relapses! Yay! Success! Right?
The tricky thing about success is that it is ill defined and has so many parameters. Tecfidera has been a great success for us on all fronts except one. It just happens to be the one that has the potential for a life threatening brain disease.

If you are familiar with the world of MS treatments, then you have probably heard of Progressive Multifocal Leukoencephalopathy, better known as PML. Fortunately, there have been only a handful of cases of PML for patients taking Tecfidera, and all have had some shared characteristics.  

One of the most important risk factors is widely believed to be a low lymphocytes count for an extended period of time. As with many things, the definition of “low” and “extended” seems to be a bit vague, fuzzy, and ill defined. We have however found that three different neurologists in two different states agree that we have successfully thrown the numbers that meet those ambiguous measures and can no longer be on Tecfidera. (ALC has been hanging out around 500 since May 2014. It dipped as low as 200 and hasn’t really cleared 600 since then). 

I hope the doc has a plan for gray…

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In the car!?

Let me start by saying that this move has consumed all of my time and it has been over a year since I have made time for writing (NOT because the adventures have ceased). In addition, this post has nothing to do with MS, but may bring a smile to your face.  😊

In The Car!?

Let me preface this story by telling you that my mom and I have a solid two days into organizing, shopping, buying, sorting, and planning for our giving tree project. I am exhausted and may have lost a little bit of perspective. Using that filter, please recognize, that I think this could still be considered a near death experience.

Today, coming home after two hours of planning, six hours of shopping, and another hour of sorting, we had just left my school and were heading back to town. I was in my car, and my parents were in their van somewhere behind me. I was driving down the 60, reflecting on the day, and trying to figure out what I still had left to do tonight. I felt a tickle a sensation on my hand, kind of like a fly walking around on it, gave it a good shake wiped it on my jeans to be sure there was no fly, and kept driving. I was pretty preoccupied. Not two minutes later, I saw a ginormous spider walking down the windshield. It was directly in my line of vision. I thought to myself, “that is really odd that it can hold on and walk that calmly driving at highway speeds.” Then you know how in movies when the person with amnesia all of a sudden gets their memory back and all of these flashes of memories and images of the moments come flying at them all at the same time? Yes, that happens. All in a big WOOSH I realized that I was not looking at the belly of said ginormous spider…. I was looking at its back….. and it was looking at ME! 

Rather that shutting my eyes, taking my hands off of the wheel and leaping from the moving vehicle into traffic (like any rational person would do) I held my breath (I am pretty sure the beast couldn’t see me if I want breathing) and talked myself through the process of “signal right. Okay, now pull over. Nope, not too far. If you bounce on the dirt and rocks, the deadly creature that wants to eat your face will come flying off the window at you and you will surely die. Okay, now put the car in park. Now GET THE HELL OUT!”

After I got that far, I was not entirely sure what to do. I had forgotten my cell phone at home, had no flashlight handy, and was doing the yucky spider dance on the side of the road in the dark in my new Santa Paws kitty Christmas sweater.  

Fortunately before doing anything hasty, I remembered that my most wonderful parents were somewhere behind me. Soon, the chariot carrying those angels pulled over (probably recognizing the Santa Paws sweater and wondering why it was dancing on the side of the highway). My mom hopped out and I immediately started saying “I need a flashlight. I don’t have my phone and I need to see.” (Which in hindsight makes absolutely no sense to someone just arriving on the scene of the spider attack.)  

As she trustingly handed me her cell phone and followed me toward my car, she asked me what was going on. I tried to explain the situation but as soon as it became clear that it was an arachnid incident she started backing away and shouting for my dad. I believe there was a bit of hysteria in her voice and I heard her repeating, “THAT car? The car I was just in. The car I have been in all day!?!?”

My mind was racing as I tried to locate the wayward spider in the dark on the side of the highway. “If I don’t find the spider what should I do? Calling 911 seems a bit extreme. Perhaps animal control? Maybe AAA? Maybe just abandon the car?”

At this point, my dad was on the driver’s side looking for the devious hitchhiker and I (still on the exterior of the vehicle) continued searching from the passenger side (as far as possible from the original sighting.)

I was completely unimpressed when out of nowhere the aforementioned beast materialized right in front of me, again inches from my face but at least this time I had a piece of glass protecting me from its deadly force!

I announced its presence. Even my dad (who reacts to NOTHING) said “Wow! That is a good sized spider!” 

My dad reached over from the driver’s seat with a handful of napkins, made a swipe at the perpetrator, and as the wad was hurtling toward my feet at a great rate of speed, he proclaimed, “I don’t think I killed it.”

WHAT!?

I am pretty sure I didn’t black out, but it gets a little fuzzy. I remember yelling from my mom, lots of traffic, a quick prayer that she didn’t hurl herself in front of a moving vehicle to escape the NOT DEAD arachnid, a blur that I think was my dad coming around to my side of the car and a napkin in my foot that I really didn’t want to move but really wanted OFF OF ME!

In slow motion, I picked up the napkin and there in the dirt and debris NOT on my foot but dangerously close was a maimed spider. My foot reflexively defended itself and did the only humane thing which was, of course, to put the poor creature out of its misery.

I then proceeded to the space between the two vehicles, resumed an encore of the yucky spider dance, thanked my parents for saving my life, and shuddered, itched, tickled, tingled… did I mention shudder? the rest of the way home. I will be sleeping with one eye open tonight, and I may need a new car….

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