Archive for December, 2007

Take care of Yourself

How often did you hear this? “Take care of yourself!” Everybody should take this saying serious. But people with Multiple Sclerosis should not only listen, but also act accordingly. If you are like every other person you know that you can get sick if you take your child into the sick child waiting room at your pediatrician. But people with MS have other things to look out for that might cause major trouble along the way. This doesn’t mean that attacks might come for no reason. But some attacks or flare-ups might come your way because you invited them to join you for a while.

Here are some examples of things that you should avoid (if you can):
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ABC drugs and your Liver – they are not best friends

You may have heard that medications are either metabolized in the kidneys or in the liver. Avonex is a medication that is metabolized in the liver and therefore it is essential for you to get your liver tested on a regular basis. My doctor is checking my blood every 6 months to see whether my liver is still working or if I need stay away from Avonex for a while. In fact, Avonex Betaseron, Copaxone and Rebif all can cause liver damage.
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My Story of Discovery and Coping

(Actually, I’m cheating a bit… this is also in the ABOUT section… but just in case you don’t go there…)

My name is Andrea.

I’ve been where you are. I’ve been diagnosed. So hang with me a bit. Because what you’re about to read might help you not feel quite so scared. Trust me on this.

Wow. Those first days are the worst. Multiple Sclerosis. How do you even wrap your mind around that?

Just hearing the words for the first time — being recently diagnosed with those words — were horrifying. All I could think about was how I would soon be in a wheelchair… my worst nightmare. My friend told me that there were support groups. So I dutifully went. But that was the wrong thing to do. Even she said that was the wrong thing to do. Why? Because most everyone I met was in a wheelchair. I listened to the speaker — about how the ABC drugs were successful in this many cases, yet they didn’t really know why. Then I went outside and burst into tears. That’s when a man came up and told me, “Honey, it ain’t all that bad. We make do with what we have. In fact, my wife and me were riding down the road the other day and she couldn’t pee — she had to pee real bad — but we didn’t have a catheter, so I just pulled over to the side of the road and whipped out a bic ball point pen and that did the trick. It’s really not a bad disease once you get the hang of it.”
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M.S. Drugs – a bit more in depth

It might take a long time until we will finally read that some clever people finally find a cure for MS. Maybe in our life we won’t be able to read about this. But this doesn’t mean that there is nothing out there that can help us. Today I won’t talk about those medications that help us to control our symptoms. Today I would like to say which medications are out there that can help you and me to make sure that MS will come to us with a reduced speed. These medications are Avonex (interferon beta 1-a), Betaseron (interferon beta 1-b), Copaxone (glatiramer acetate), Rebif (interferon beta-1a), as well as Tysabri (natalizumab). Most of us have heard about the so-called ABC drugs (Avonex, Betaseron and Copaxone). Rebif was the drug of choice in Europe, while in America the ABCs where the big hit. Now Europe sells Avonex and co and we proudly inject Rebif.
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About the ABC Drugs

The Companies:

  • A. Avonex (Biogen Pharmaceuticals)
  • B. Betaseron (Bayer Pharmaceuticals)
  • C. Copaxone (Teva Pharmaceuticals)
  • R. Rebif (Serona and Pfizer Pharmaceuticals)

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Living with Multiple Sclerosis

People who do read this essay either know somebody who has been diagnosed or has been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis himself or herself. I have been there. I have done that. It has been more than 6 years for me since I searched the Internet for answers to my questions and the more I searched, the more I found, and, unfortunately, the more questions came up. I am here to tell you that the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis doesn’t mean that your life has come to an end or will come to an end in the near future. Personally, I saw myself strolling along my German hometown in the wheelchair – knowing that if I would be that disabled I would better go back to Germany where I have good health insurance. But here I am. Still in the United Stated. Still walking on my own feet. And guess what – nobody who knows me would actually think that something is wrong with me. Heck, if I tell my nursing instructors that I have MS for almost 7 years they can’t believe it. Every once in a while I have to pull out my pretty MRI pictures to see that, indeed, I do have MS lesions in my brain and in my spine.

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