Friday, February 15, 2008

Head Cold Germs Under a Microscope

Increased chance of upper respiratory infection

Of all the potential side effects the FTY720 could have had, this is the one that I spent the least time fretting over. Things like going blind worried me worse. Come to find out, maybe I should have just stocked up on vitamin C, Kleenex, and cough drops. This is getting ridiculous.

Before starting the trial I might have had one good head cold a year. I have a kid in grade school, so colds brought home from that seething pool of germs (the school, not my kid -- he's just the carrier) are to be expected.

This, however, is cold #4 since starting the trial 6 months ago. Enough already! I get the point. My important cold fighting part of my immune system is being sequestered in my lymph glands. Held back from fighting the good fight like I'm imagining they want to. I can just see the little tough guy T-cells banging on the lymph gland walls saying "Let me at 'em!! I'd give 'em what for if I could!"

All I know is that it seems like if someone sneezes in the same room I will have a head cold with raw throat, runny nose, fever and aches and pains within 24 hours. Never mind that theirs is only from body doesn't seem to care. It's party central for all head cold germs apparently. "Hey! Party at my place -- my T-Cell parents are gone!"

At least having all these colds has done one good thing for me. With each new cold, my panic over the possibility of a new relapse being triggered has lessened. With the first cold I squinted my eyes shut tight, plugged my ears, and braced myself for the KABOOM! of a new relapse descending on me but, like a dud of a fire cracker...nothing.

I'm almost to the complacent point of thinking my MS attacks are a thing of the past. If I could trade numbness, burning pain, spasticity and loss of balance for a head cold once a month or so, then bring it ON! I'll gladly make one of those candy necklaces out of cough drops and buy some designer hankies if I could make a trade like that.

Of course I know it's just a matter of time and I will slide into an inevitable relapse, but for now denial is sweet. Before Fingolimod I didn't have the luxury of ever going long enough between relapses to build up a believable case of Denial.

So join me in a chorus of sneezes and coughs while we say the pledge of allegiance to Fingolimod. I'm hooked on the stuff as if it were cough medicine. Oh wait, it seems that's just what it is -- medicine that makes you cough! :-)