What Ever Happened To 'An Apple A Day...'?
Updated: May 23, 2019
Nowadays, just like apps, there is a pill for nearly everything. I was just talking to someone about the old saying "an apple a day keeps the doctor away," but that is far from realistic when you're dealing with chronic illnesses like Multiple Sclerosis. Even though I can function quite fine without medication, I still like to take something to keep the asymptomatic damage from progressing. I started my first medication in July of 2017 after three months of my initial diagnosis. I took Tecfidera for nearly 6 months, one pill twice a day. Overall everything was fine but every 4 weeks or so I was getting very ill and doctors couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. Granted, the emergency rooms finally gave up and referred me back to my neurologist who decided it may be time to call it quits for Tecfidera. We (my neurologist and I) discussed other options of treatment that didn't involve administering shots, and we settled for Ocrevus, an infusion I would receive at an urgent car facility every 6 months. Sounded like cake to me!
Meanwhile, I was still trying to get my insurance to accept my prescription, and while they half-ass accepted it, I had to come out of my pocket nearly $1400 in two weeks. Uh, HELL NO. So I went back to my doctor and explained what was going on.
We called it quits for Ocrevus, since it was going to cost me more than what I could afford, we decided to try Gilenya. This was one of the final choices of pills I could take before it was going have to be injections. Naturally, I decided to try Gilenya as a treatment for my MS. By this time, I had already been off of medication for 6 months. I wasn't having any true symptoms during the time I was off medication and I continued to live my life as normal. Come January 2019, my insurance had accepted my new prescription and I was contacted by a Gilenya representative to schedule my first dose observation. Upon my scheduling there were some prerequisites I had to meet in order to qualify for my first dose, such as making sure I had my current Hep B shots, see a cardiologist to make sure my heart is in good condition and to make sure my white blood cells were in a good place. After all of these checked out positively, I was cleared to attend my 8-hour session with my nurse and my new medication.
I woke up bright and early January 10th and made my way to the nearest urgent care center. I made it early enough to skate around the empty parking lot before the treatment since I wasn't sure if I could skate the rest of the day. where a nurse would watch me take my pill (prison style) and then check my heart rate and blood pressure ever 30 minutes to an hour for the next 6-8 hours. I had a room to myself that was loaded with granola bar snacks, bottles of water and fruits. Granted, I brought my own lunch and snacks to keep me full. I didn't give myself a whole lot to do other than update my Instagram story, manage my skate blog and take naps. The naps definitely made the time go by faster, as I was out of there quicker than I knew it. All of my vitals came back good and I was released within the day. Hopefully it keeps my Multiple Sclerosis under control.
This medication is a single pill taken once a day every single day, and is advised to be taken at the same time each day for best results. I'm not the best at remembering small mundane tasks such as taking pills so I set a reminder on my phone for every single day at 8:30 AM to help me remember to take my medicine. So far I've changed my scheduled time about three times, but it's working out lol. Over a month in and it's been a good experience. No side effects that I can put my finger on, so cheers to that!