I am currently sitting in the infusion center as the needle in my arm slowly dispenses Rituxan. I relish this day; looking forward to it like a child anticipating her birthday. After all, its a gift that keeps giving for six months. So, I guess the child would be looking forward to her half-birthday.

Today is the second dose of the cycle. I faired okay after the first. Mainly, I felt tired and fluish for about a 7-10 days. It’s a small price to pay for stability and consistancy in a disease whose M.O. is instability and inconsistancy. It’s also a MUCH preferred medication to Cytoxan-for me. Two doses to a cycle, one cycle every six months.

Knowing that each disease modifying drug (dmd) change means one less option, I hope to get many years out of Rituxan. Each dmd also means a risk-will the new one be as effective as the last?, what are the new side-effects? how long will this one last? All good questions. All questions of which, given my druthers, I would rather not have to know the answers. But, some I know the answers to and others no one knows the answers.

For me, focusing on the present moment is the only way do deal with atypical chronic multiple sclerosis. Thats not to say I don’t plan for my future-I do. I try to focus on the now so as to enjoy my life, my family, my friends. When living with atypical chronic multiple sclerosis it is imperative to focus on the present moment-it’s all I got.

The biggest risk inherent with Rituxan, from my perspective, is the possibility of PML (Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy.) Yes…the same PML associated with Tysabri. A few things to consider with Rituxan:

  • Are you JC virus positive? If so, it leaves the door open for the possibility of PML.
  • If JC positive-it becomes somewhat murky-not muddy-just murky. Essentially, the question is: it worth the slim risk of PML for a comfortable quality of life for an uncertain amount of time?
  • What are the other options? When I asked my doc this question there was a pause followed by two meds neither of which were very good options and I subsequently erased them from my memory.

I was told that so far, no patient taking Rituxan for MS have been diagnosed with PML. So, thats good news. My doc has been using it for 5-6 years-a good amount of time for me to feel
comfortable with it.

Yes…wonderful…but, does it work? So far so good. I am completing my second cycle. Quite frankly, I couldn’t wait for me veins to soak up the med. I was beginning to feel a small
slide backwards. Apparantly, it can take several cycles before your body has the necessary maintenance levels of Rituxan. I will see in six months I guess.

Well, the nurses have disconnected me and I will head home to reap the rewards of my day.

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