Saturday, February 6, 2021

I'm a warrior


In the midst of what I cannot see
I go on, fight again, 
To see another tomorrow 
That which I cannot promise to see. 

As the sun goes up, 
These two eyes opened
These muscles extend
Another blissful breeze that blew
And my ears heard the chirp of birds
Today, I have another day. 

Even with weakened limbs, 
Memories that seem to fade
Quicker than any other
Sadness that seeps in without warning, 
I fight on, 
I move on, 
For I'm a warrior. 

    I'm one of the lucky ones among those with Multiple Sclerosis in Malaysia. I have many options to choose from when it comes to DMD/DMT. At first, I started on Interferon Beta 1a (Rebif) and it worked for 2 years.
Doctor actually wanted to start me on Fingolimod. Just after the anniversary of my hospital discharge, I had another relapse. This time, it happened more than once in a year. What is a relapse, you may ask?

    It is what I call the immune system running amok. From a group of cells doing their duty to protect the body, it attacks its own host. When it attacks its own host, the central nervous system (CNS) is the victim. Afterwards, what is left is inflammation, scarring of the nerves in the brain and spinal cord.

    So after those multiple relapses, my doctor decided to change to Alemtuzumab (Lemtrada) because Rebif stopped working. But then, she said that I'll still use Rebif in the mean time. At least something is better than nothing, as she put it. However, another patient had a relapse even on Lemtrada so she pushed that away and thought of a different treatment. 

    This time, she gave an option of Fingolimod or Cladribine (Mavenclad). If Fingolimod is what I choose, I'll have to take it for a lifetime and have no children while on it. If I want to, I'll need to wait 6 months without treatment just to try to conceive. If I choose Mavenclad, I'll just be hospitalised for 5 days, twice a year for 2 years. After 6 months post final dose, I can try to conceive without risk of relapse, when compared to Fingolimod.

    Where MS patients got lucky is when we're pregnant, the body produces natural steroids. So, relapses are rare when we're pregnant. Which means, we're more likely to experience less relapses or no relapse while pregnant.

    Another thing is, I'm lucky to be able to choose to do it at a private hospital or the government hospital that treats me. The luck came in the form of my husband's company takaful that helped a lot to cover the enormous expenses the new DMD/DMT came with.

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