what is it now?

I just recently added two more meds to my regimen, and it’s got me a bit befuddled and concerned. I take three meds for blood pressure (yes, it took three to get the dang thing down!), I take another to quell the leg cramps, what we affectionately call “jimmy leg,” so I can sleep. Then there’s another to deal with fatigue (which I’m not sure it does anything), there’s Welbutrin for depression – again, which I’m not sure really does me anything. I take calcium, also for the jimmy leg, and fish oil (though I can never remember why, but each time I look it up it makes sense to keep taking it.) So there’s all of that. Each time I get a new prescription, I read the dire warnings that come attached to the bag, and try to keep the various warning signs of a bad reaction in mind, but there’s just too much of it, and I’m sure it’s mostly just there for legal reasons – most of this stuff never happens, but it might. (Right?)

So now I’ve further muddied the water by adding two more, with all of their warnings. Taking Fampridine pretty much just seems to keep me from drinking, though I have read of people experiencing (if that’s the right word) grand mal seizures from taking it – though I think at higher doses than I am. It is supposed to help with mobility issues, foot-drop (drag-foot is more like it) but so far I don’t notice any difference. Maybe I’m not one of the 30% that it works for. And now Cellcept, which is the heaviest-duty drug I’m putting into myself these days, with the direst warnings. They suggest contacting your doctor if you “vomit blood that looks like coffee grounds.” As my daughter said, I’d call the doctor if I vomited blood that looked like blood!

Anyway, what was overwhelming me the other night was wondering if how I was feeling overall (mostly fatigue) was MS, or one of these meds? Or MS and one of the meds? Or two of the meds? Two of the meds, and MS? Or being fat and 50? Fat, 50, and MS? It seems there are endless combinations of possibilities to have me feeling depressed, tired, and just basically, toast. Or as my buddy John says, “Done. Just…done.” What I most want is to stop taking everything, stop putting all those pills into my mouth, all those chemicals into my body, seemingly layer upon layer of them, reacting who knows how with each other. I want to stop going to talk to doctors and “specialists,” who all have something else to tell me. I just want to stop it all, lie down and just be quiet for about a week (at least) and see what happens.

As I’ve said (somewhere) I try not to let MS run my life, but sometimes it can overwhelm me. Especially when I don’t know what is causing the symptoms that are overwhelming me. Too many variables. And, in the end? MS is still a progressive disease. It’s more than likely going to continue in the direction it is going (is “downhill” too depressing?) regardless of any of these drugs I take.

But I know I’ll keep taking them. The Fampridine might not pan out, and if so can be dropped. The
Cellcept is scary, and like other MS drugs, there’s no real way to know if it is doing anything at all. I guess the trick is to expect periods of being overwhelmed, and being able to honor that, and find a warm, dark, quiet place to curl up in until it passes.


Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

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