It came and went. The two year mark of being in this clinical trial (including the past year that was the extension phase) happened on August 20th.
It came and went without so much as a "hey, today is the day!" comment. And what is so amazing about that is it went by because I was having a BORING normal day. No MS drama, no steroids, no hospitals, no canes, walkers or wheelchairs (although I own them all, just in case).
It was a Thursday and I was enjoying sitting around with my mom and sister for our usual Thursday night get together where we watch Big Brother or Survivor... whatever is in season.
But it is a monumental day in my life that should not go unrecognized. It marks the two year anniversary of the best decision I have ever made in my life. To join this clinical trial has literally given me my life back.
When I look back at where I was two years ago, I realize with some alarm how close I was to cashing in my chips, buying the farm, kicking the bucket, pulling the plug, punching my ticket... whatever you want to call it, I was at the end. I was looking at my future with MS, that drama queen that would steal the show and alter all lives in it's path, even if only for a few weeks at a time, and I just didn't want to do it any more.
I remember reading over the informed consent and weighing my options. "Either I take a chance with this stuff and perhaps die, or just stick with what I have known for several years and want to die."
The choice made itself. And I have not had a single documented MS relapse since starting.
With all the stress, heat and exertion of moving and trying to get the house up to snuff for the insurance company this past month, I know if I hadn't been in this trial and taking my pink power potion, there is NO earthly way I could even have imagined doing all that I have done without having to have a nap from the sheer exhaustion brought on by such an idea.
When I went to my 1 Year Anniversary of the Extension Phase Checkup, the lady neurologist who performed my EDSS test said (and I quote) "I really can't find much wrong with you. You really seem pretty normal to me."
To which I replied "My kids would beg to differ."
I took that other test where they play the recording of the guy saying numbers and you have to add the first 2 together and say the total, while remembering the last one he said and adding it to the next one he's going to say (if it sounds confusing, try having to actually DO it! A new number ever 5 seconds.)
I always get a perfect score on the practice round, get cocky and tell them "I don't need no more steenk-eeng practice rounds!" and then majorly flub the real McCoy.
But this time I ACED IT!! No fooling! I was surprised as you are. Well, probably more because you had to be there for the drama of it and all. The lady giving the test couldn't believe it either.
I also did the peg test, had an EKG, walked the hall 25 times (in 12 minutes) for 500 meters, had a PFT, gave about 6 vials of blood, and peed in a cup. Oh, and I had my eye exam.
Everything was just fine.
I go back on the 14th for my MRI and dermatology visit. Hoping everything is "fine" then too. Being a hypochondriac it would go against my very being not to worry that something was terribly amiss. So, that's what I'll worry about between now and then.
My next real worry is: what am I going to do when this stuff gets approved?? I won't be able to afford it. It sucks to think I might not be able to afford to pay for having even a normal, boring, mundane life. I'm not asking for a million bucks or to be able to travel the world or even a $100 Wal-mart shopping spree. I just want to live a life where my biggest worry is how to pay the electric this month. And not have to worry about "am I going to be able to walk this week?"
Novartis, if you're listening, the humane thing to do for all those of us who are so bravely offering up our very lives in order to further the advancement of this magic Fingolimod pill so that you may reap obscene profits from the suffering of hundreds of thousands of people with MS would be to at least give those of us who allowed you to poke and prod us in the name of Science free meds for life. Would that really be such a dip into the billions you are projected to make off this pill?
And you know I've been plugging this stuff for a couple years now for you. What better hype could you get than word of mouth?? You can't BUY that kind of advertising... but I'd never turn my nose up at free meds for life. Come on, have a heart. I'd be sure to blab all about it and you'd look like a bunch of humanitarians on top of delivering a pill to all those poor MSers sick of sticking themselves.
It's a win-win, don'tcha think?? :D