Little Drugs.


I’ve been saying for the past couple of years that I can’t understand why people are reluctant or unwilling to take drugs to treat multiple sclerosis. In a nutshell: if you can do something to arrest the progression of this disease, why wouldn’t you? I think there a lot to be said for a healthy life style and good eating habits, but MS is sneaky. You don’t know when something’s going to flare up, and for some people, ground lost can’t be regained. I’m in favor of never losing ground.

But here’s a nice piece of personal hypocrisy: I’m fine with what I think of as “big drugs” — the ones that treat the disease. But I really haven’t wanted to take  “little drugs,” the ones that treat individual symptoms. I’ve felt like that would be admitting that MS is not nothing. Can I not stay “well” a little longer?

Cut to this winter, which has been cold cold cold in New England. Cold. And I’m out in the cold far more often, because puppies need fresh air. I can’t say for sure that the cold is the cause, but my legs are aching like I’m 100 years old. Wake-me-up-in-the-night aching.

I saw my neurologist a few weeks ago, and I changed my mind about the little drugs. I got a prescription for something to help my legs feel better and holy smokes: it really works. My legs feel perfect. Such a relief, and as an added benefit, it helps me sleep. I’m a little sorry that I didn’t open this door earlier.

Adjusted view: my version of this disease will be measured by what I need, not by what I take. Admitting need doesn’t mean something worse is happening. And I’m lucky that there are drugs that can help. There’s no saying what I’ll need or what might be able to help in the future. Whatever it is, my mind is open.

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