Jul 4, 2009

The Routine...

Last week was my one year anniversary of taking Copaxone - and it has become part of my morning routine - what I fondly call the 4 S's. You know, Shower, Shave, Shot & S$#@ (I know it doesn't rhyme, but it does roll of the tongue if you say it really fast).

Now to be honest, I really only do 2 of the S's religiously - the Shave and the Shot. If I didn't do so many video conferences, I probably wouldn't shave as often, either. The shower depends on whether I feel I'm up to standing that long, supported by some really strong hand rails - and the last S, well, let's just say things don't seem to work as well - or often - as they used to.

Now it is worth mentioning that I took a weekly shot of Avonex (interferon beta-1a) for NINE years before I switched to Copaxone. For the first 6 years, I could put up with the post shot symptoms. When I started taking the shots in 1998, they had just been approved for prescribing in Europe and was the only choice I had (we lived in Belgium at the time). Fortunately for me, the protocol of Advil 1 hour before the shot, and 3 hours after the shot worked well (please - don't do this without your Doctor's agreement); but I still felt extra stiff and extra groggy in my leg muscles the next day.

The last 3 years I started to loose faith in my meds - especially confusing since my MRI's have not shown any progression in lesions (great news) though my walking has progressively gotten worse over the years (NOT great news). The symptoms of Avonex - for me - became too debilitating as I was losing two to three days a week to being so stiff I couldn't get up or walk at all.

So like a man in charge of my destiny, I went to my neurologist and told him "we" have to switch - that I can't afford to lose two days to work or family time per week. He cautiously agreed - with the caveat of semi-annual MRI's to make sure I stay non-progressive in regards to the lesions.

I couldn't be happier with the results (well, I could be, but that is another story). I have seven days per week of normal living and the subcutaceous shots are better than an intramuscular shot any day. I'm not walking any worse in the last year - and my MRI's look the same as they did a year ago!

Now if I could just get that fourth S moving again...

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The Routine by Nick Marazita is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.