Thursday, 3 February 2011

The thing with drugs is....

Since being diagnosed in 2001, I have tried 3 different types of MS drugs, and I can honestly say that I didn't notice any benefit with any of them. I totally understand that in many cases, they would have had a positive impact in a sufferers life, but for me personally, I think it was mainly negative.

For starters, I had a real problem with needles....so that's certainly not going to help.
I remember when I started taking Rebif beta-interferon (which is an injection 3 times a week) it used to take me at least half and hour to work up the courage to auto-inject myself. After sticking with it for 3 and a half years, I was told Rebif wasn't doing it for me. I still had regular relapses so there really wasn't anything to show that it was doing anything other than make me extremely nervous every couple of days!

Next I gave Copaxone a go, which is subcutaneous injection every day. "Why go for one that is more frequent?!" I hear you ask. Well, to be honest, I still felt like taking drugs was the only option for me. I put all of my trust in my consultant, and had visions of me taking a huge downward spiral if I ever had to come off them. I think that being diagnosed so young, meant I didn't really have the confidence to question my options and make my own choices. Copaxone or Avonex were the only possibilities for me at that stage, and the thought of having to do Avonex's inter-muscular injection was just too much. As it turned out though, Copaxone wasn't suitable either. I used to get large red bumps at each injection site, which were really painful. It made trying to find a clear space to inject quite hard, and in the end it became screamingly obvious that it wasn't working.

Avonex was my last resort, though actually it ended up being the least painful and problematic. By that point, I had become more afraid of the auto-injector than the actual injections (I realised the noise and abruptness of it was the thing that I hated..rather than the injection itself), so I taught myself how to inject manually. It was much more successful because I felt like I actually had the control over it.

I used disease-modifying drugs pretty much continuously over 7 years, and so the thought of 'going solo' as we tried for a baby, and during pregnancy, was quite frightening. However, once I'd stopped them, I could see that they had no positive impact on my MS. In fact, any improvement to my health came from, I believe, doing a low-saturated fat diet called the Swank Diet.

I felt so much happier in myself not having to deal with the injections, and all of the side-effects that came with it, so even after getting pregnant I had decided that my quality of life would be better without the medication, at least for the time being. It was also a decision my consultant was very much behind, which made me feel much more confident about it.

MS, Avonex, Copaxone, Rebif
Flipping hate these things..