Tysabri is a dream come true for many individuals with Multiple Sclerosis. Personally, I have opted to take Gilenya (for now), but Tysabri was very tempting when I considered my options after it became apparent that Rebif would not work out for me any longer. However, along with Tysabri’s side effects comes one very sinister danger: PML. One patient on Gilenya has been diagnosed with PML, and it can happen to anyone whether or not they have MS. Knowing that medication (especially newer medications) may bring a risk of PML has frightened us all.
“They” say that you are considered newly diagnosed for the first 2 1/2 to 3 years after your Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. It seems like only yesterday that I posted my “Year One” article. It seems like only yesterday that I was diagnosed! Somehow, enough time has passed that I find myself at a point where I have been living with Multiple Sclerosis for four years.
Cog Fog probably started sneaking up on you years before your MS diagnosis. Multiple Sclerosis alone is challenging, but Multiple Sclerosis with Brain Fog involves a totally different set of problems.
“Brain Fog” is a term generally used to describe the confusion, disorientation, general grogginess, and other issues resulting from cognitive dysfunction which commonly occurs with MS.
Depression and Multiple Sclerosis are inherently linked. Depression is not something that solely affects those of us with MS, and it is often underreported or undiagnosed.
While many individuals without MS experience depression and many individuals with MS may never experience it, more than 50% of individuals with MS will experience some form of depression during their lives. At any given time at least 17% of us will be depressed in one way or another. But there is hope, there is treatment, and there is possible prevention.
My one year anniversary of taking Gilenya occurred in May, but my first MRI results and latest blood test since beginning treatment occurred only recently. Multiple Sclerosis can be a very unpredictable disease, but prior to treatment with Gilenya I averaged 2 – 3 relapses per year. My neurologists have told met hat the average gap between relapses is 18 months which I have never achieved. However, I am getting closer every day as this is the longest relapse-free period I have ever had since diagnosis. My Gilenya test results during my last office visit were overwhelmingly positive.
Information is developed and spread so quickly now. When I was first diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis a few years ago, patients were advised to avoid exercise as it could bring on worsened symptoms or new attacks. Now we know that this is mostly a fallacy. An active lifestyle for a person with MS means lessened disease activity in the long term and improved fatigue, strength, flexibility, mobility, cardiovascular fitness, bladder function, and bowel function. Those are some very attractive incentives!
Every summer I am amazed at the heat. Ridiculous – right? I have a virtual 2 degree window of comfort (I’m so annoying). Cold temperatures are made bearable with cardigans and blankets. Warm weather, on the other hand, seems to melt my brain. Heat and Multiple Sclerosis work together like two villains in a comic book.
Individuals with Multiple Sclerosis are notorious for heat intolerance resulting in an endless variety of possible repercussions – this is known as Uhthoff’s phenomenon (or Syndrome). Summers may be beautiful, but they are also difficult for us.