September 2004 and my first relapse of any significance. I already had some loss of sensation in my fingertips, but it was rather surprising to be soaping myself in the shower and discovering I couldn’t feel the sponge pretty much anywhere from my boobs down.
Hmm. Well, it wasn’t anything I hadn’t expected, so I got on with my life as best I could. A week passed, and I got used to feeling superficially numb over the major part of my body. After twelve weeks, the novelty kinda wore off a bit.
My consultant said steroids were the order of the day, so in December 2004 I had three lots of IV methylprednisolone. Ellie’s top tip: make sure you bring plenty of boiled sweets. Methylpred. leaves a *foul* taste in your mouth. Six weeks of a steadily decreasing dose of oral steroids followed, and by April 2005 I was stable enough to begin beta-interferon therapy.
It’s one of the idiosyncrasies of this disease that you can pretty much choose which of the four common DMDs (disease modifying drugs) you take. I opted for Avonex. It was an intramuscular injection, so quite a big needle, but it was only once a week.
Once a week for three years. After the whole “Hey, I’m injecting myself – how cool is that?” wore off, I found myself struggling with the injections. I resented the boxes of syringes in the fridge next to the tomatoes and the milk. I resented having to hurt myself and make myself bleed for the sake of ‘treatment’. I resented the flu-ey side effects that were supposed to fade after about twelve weeks but which continued to make me feel like shit after every injection unless I swallowed a couple of ibuprofen.
Maybe I wasn’t quite as Zen about this as I thought I was, and I was really resenting my MS.