Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Severity of my MS is Helping the Economy.

My mom homeschools the three youngest brothers who are at home (although they particpate in a lot of public school activities...they have the best of both worlds...said from the girl who went to public high school).

Each day one of the brothers picks a "word of the day" from a SAT Word Book and it is then written on a board on the wall.  Each time a person uses the new word in a sentence gets to put a nickle in the "Chick-fi-la" bucket, which will eventually be used for a dinner out on the town.  #wesofancy

Severity is one of the first words I saw when I got home from the hospital today.  Nickel for me!

Yes, the severity of my Multiple Sclerosis case is keeping the Multiple Sclerosis Department at UPMC, my Doctors, health insurance and many drug companies in business.  While I'd much rather be keeping businesses like Massage Envy, Clinique, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren (to name a few) in business, I am helping the economy.  #silverlining

As most of you know if you've followed the past couple of posts from The Sparkled Life, the past few weeks have been not fun, at all.  I've been very sick.

What thought was a pseudo-relapse due to stress actually turned into a blood result that came back with anti-bodies showing that my body was rejecting Tysabri.  Tysabri was the infusion that we had so much hope in, especially since it helped with lesions in the brain, my curse.  But, my body decided no.

The problem with this story is the blood result came back just hours after I had my April infusion.  So I've suffered the past however long with a drug in my body I'm allergic to.  No wonder its been ugly.


Remember when I mentioned that one Thursday when I went to the hospital and it was a day that made it on to the Top 5 worst in my MS career?  Well, what made it qualify was an "administrative" problem that occurred between my health insurance and switching to COBRA.  

I was assured that there would be no lapse however, once arriving at the hospital, we quickly discovered this was not the case.  And it was due to an "administrative" problem.  Please excuse me while I have trust issues with insurance companies, brokers and the like.  

This rant comes full circle.  For this "administrative problem" caused a 24 hour delay in all blood-work and testing.  A precious 24 hours that cost me being infused with a drug that I'm allergic to but didnt know because of the hour lapse in the blood-work results.  

Thank you insurance company and brokers, kindly.  

So today.  I first must say, I really appreciate my MS specialist doctor.  He is very smart and he really cares about me.  Before, yes, I might have been just an "interesting" case but now, after all our meetings, I've become a patient he just wants to be "boring" as he puts it.  He wants me to get better.  

And today, as he started his notes, he said "Let's talk MS long-term..." and trailed off in thought.  Coming back, he said in an under the breath kind of a way, "usually we dont have this talk until much later".  Usually, Tysabri is the right answer.  Usually, its a good right answer.  But my body, strongly, said no.

So here's the summary:

My body didnt take to Rebif (thus the entire class of interferons); my body is allergic to Tysabri.  Not many options left.

However, a new and positive drug has JUST come out on the market and is an oral tablet and has promising results.  Further encouragement to share my story, to create MS awareness.  This tablet was only approved a few weeks ago.  And here I am, in need of a new medicine, a stepping stone before I turn to the high risks of such medicines as chemo.  

I dont like that I have MS.  But I can see that God is using the awareness, The Sparkled Life, for good.  Let this be the proof.

So, we will wait the weeks it takes to get a high cost drug approved my health insurances (blah) and then we will have hope that I will eventually go into remission.

In the meantime........

My "I hate steroids and life right now face".  And yes, I wear that sweater a lot.  Its the perfect go-to from Ralph Lauren.

I'm still suffering from pain, tremors, the usual.  Even though I swore of steriods forever, we are giving it "one more shot".  But a short one.  3 days of steroid infusions and then no taper.  After that, depending on how I'm doing, we will discuss Plasma Exchange.  

I have a feeling this route also has to do something to do with health insurances and drug companies.  I wont digress on that.  That and the fact there arent really any other options for relief.

So...beware world.  Steroids make me very.....emotional.  And you gain weight no matter what you try or not try.

My steroid photo-shoot...1, how I really feel face, 2, Mom forcing me to smile, 3, Laughing because we're having a photo shoot in an infusion center, 4, the ugly steroids.

They've already kicked in.  Coming home from the hospital Mom had the pleasure to hear my piece on Pittsburgh drivers.  When stopping at Trader Joe's (for my favorites and roses...gotta love Mom), I even let a person who was staring at me in the old person motor cart, arm bandage and overall "I'm sick" appearance know "its so cool to stare".  I'm pretty sure I saw a smile.  Or at least that's how I'm telling the story.

The many faces of steroids.  Am I being dramatic?  No, they really do make me cray.

The next two days of steriods will actually be done in house (#princesstreatment).  They'll set up an IV infusion center and I'll just chill with the traveling nurse for an hour or so.  And we checked ahead of time, insurance covers this.

Ending words:
  • There is always a silver lining.  You just have to look for it.
  • I havent had steroids since having the disability of dysarthria (my speech disability).  So this should be interesting...how the words come out.
  • Pray for my family...they will need it.
  • Help create MS Awareness and do not give up hope.  
  • Hope.  I believe in such a little word SO hard and only can remain optimistic that it believes in me as well.  I need it to.  

You all are wonderful.  Fellow MS Sparklers, MS Sparkler Supporters, random readers who stumble across....thank you.  Be thankful for your health.  Hope daily for continued sparkle. 

Love always, Eliz

PS: I woke up to bed head silly puppy this morning.  I love him.