Tonight I find myself sitting on my parent's couch, here for my fourth visit in 4 months, and I realize that I am here with no commitments - well, no commitments to MS. I am here without syringes or pills that dictate how long I can be here. I am here without having to go home to Winnipeg in time for an appointment for a drug infusion. Just before arriving here for the holiday, I made a big decision on how to manage my disease.
Following an MRI, Jason and I met with my MS neurologist to review the results of the scan. The other priority of the appointment was to discuss my next possible treatment option (also known as the last treatment on the table) - the monthly infusion of Tysabri. It turns out that what showed up on the MRI played a huge role in deciding to go drug free. The other factor in the decision was the risk versus the benefit of being on Tysabri.
Do you want to know what the neuro saw in the images of my brain? He saw nothing - nothing new and nothing "active". For me, this is the second best thing he could have said to me. Obviously, the best thing he could have said was that the radiologists have been wrong all along - I don't have MS.*
*I still feel this way and as I always do, I asked him if this was in fact the case.
I have not had any change in the locations or size of my brain lesions in over a year. Add to that, the belief that I have not had a relapse since January 2008, and everything looks good. This is not to say that I don't have lesions or residual difficulties from past lesions. It just means that I feel pretty darn good.
Being drug free means being diligent and being aware of my body more than usual. Any sign of a relapse, or any new symptoms and my neuro will start me on Tysabri. I will have another MRI in 6 months to have a look at the inside workings and warnings.
*I made my parents a calendar with old family photos. That's me with my
favourite t-shirt "Girls Can Do Anything" and my suspenders.