Since mid October it has felt like every doctor’s visit was a dread-filled experience. I left each feeling despondent and generally depressed. For the first time, I got good news and I was honestly unsure how to process it.
W and I went for a three month Rituxan follow-up with the MS specialist. I had an MRI that I was quite concerned about since the report showed a lesion at T2 that had not previously been present. The neurologist sat down with us and the MRIs, pulled up the old scans and the new and told us that she didn’t believe there was a lesion at T2. She could see it only on one sequence, so her guess is that it may be an artifact or something else, but if it were a true lesion, it would be more visible that it was.
That alone produced a huge sigh of relief from me. Several weeks of mental anguish turned into nothing with a few words from the doc. As if that wasn’t enough, she went on to say that she believe I didn’t originally have one long lesion as we had understood, but quite possible two smaller lesions and that both were improving. Yep, improving lesions. It was something that had been cautiously mentioned as a possibility early on when I started treatment, but we were warned numerous times that it may not happen. So, in short, the Rituxan is doing its job. It stopped the disease process and allowed my body the chance to begin to heal itself. Kind of amazing if you think about it.
To add icing on the proverbial cake, my CD20 count is still negative. That means that the Rituxan is not only doing its job, but it is lasting in my system meaning that I won’t have to treat again until June.
Of course, the little part in my brain immediately started talking to me and warned that I shouldn’t get too excited or too comfortable as the MS can rear its head anytime, but the doc shared with W & I that in clinical trials 90+% of patients didn’t experience a relapse if their B cells were kept in check.
I did ask about pain & fatigue control and was told “exercise, exercise, exercise.” Per the doc, exercise helps pain control in all cases except traumatic injury. That was new knowledge for me and pushed me back to the Y to take on swimming again.
So at this point I am focusing on staying positive, trying to be healthier, and hoping that my symptoms will begin to improve as my body continues to try to repair the existing damage.