I remember my daughter telling me one day, “I don’t like that you are always tired and in bed”. At 32 years old, I needed a nap every day. After that came numbness in my limbs, shooting pain in my legs and optic neuritis causing complete loss of vision in my right eye for weeks. I have had a dozen MRIs since my official diagnosis of MS in 2009 and have been on disease modifying therapy (injections) since that time. The first 2 years of giving myself shots, my doctors tried 3 different kinds of medicines and still the lesions on my brain were increasing. Finally, I started on Tysabri, a monthly infusion that works to block inflammatory cells from crossing the blood brain barrier. Tysabri patients are at risk for PML which is basically a potentially fatal brain infection.
And thus begins my struggle and my success. The struggle is in dealing with MS while working full time and trying my best to be a good mother to my three daughters and a good wife. The success is found each day when I have enough energy to enjoy them, each month when I get a welcome infusion of medicine. I am thankful for both the struggle as well as the success.
I say all of this to express to you how grateful I am for the medical research that has led to several different options for MS treatment. I have no doubt that if not for Tysabri my MS would have continued to progress as rapidly as it was at diagnosis and I may not be walking today. But thanks to continued research, there were different medications for my doctor to try until we found one that worked to slow the progression. Regarding the risk of PML, they have also identified a virus in the blood system of those who develop it and a way to test Tysabri patients regularly for the virus. My trust and faith is in God and He continues to put great minds to work in research for finding medications and a cure for MS. Thank you for your contribution to the National MS Society who continues to fund MS research and help MS patients like me.