New Year & Resolutions

Black-eyed PeasThe New Year and with it the typical planning for a fresher start, or at least the determination to stick with some plans made for the coming year is rapidly approaching. I have, realized over that it has been just over a month since my last post here, so I am first and foremost jumping back into my plan to post on a daily basis. I will say, that for once – aside from the week I took off from the blog after Thanksgiving, I really have been that busy with projects, both work related and personal, over the last thirty or so days. Enough of that though, time to get back to the task at hand, which listing out my ideals that I am determined about for the coming year. So, commence with your pork, corned beef, cabbage, and especially your black-eyed peas, pull up a chair… read my resolutions and comment back with your own.

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Bourbon, Blues, & Horses

Bourbon BlueBourbon, blues – bet you were thinking I was going to say something about New Orleans? Nah, I got the blues tonight and in what is, I am sure, a spiral deeper into such things, I have compounded the matter with a bit of bourbon. Well, okay, a bit is probably in most folks accounting of such things an understatement. So what does any of this have to do with horses? Well, that is what this entry is about and relates to so many things included medieval reenacting and jousting, clearly the horses, and coping with having MS in my life, so read onward… Continue reading “Bourbon, Blues, & Horses”

Life with MS and Mcafeed?

SEOI have these two other blogs (well, actually, there are about five blogs in total) that really just do not have enough volume to be a stand-alone-blog. Specifically I am talking about McAfeed, where generally I am calling out businesses with poor customer service or just dumb things that the business has as a policy for whatever reason, and the recent born My Life with MS. The volume is lacking in both what I have to post and the readership/followers available to both of them.

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Jousting & Horses with MS?

Jousting PassWow, how time flies sometimes. I had been putting off writing this blog entry for a bit because I was not really sure I wanted to write it. Fundamentally, I suppose, by it to words it confirms what I likely already know in my head, if that makes sense to anyone. To explain, I guess I have to back up a little bit for those folks that do not already know me. One of my big hobbies over the last ten or more years has been doing things with horses. That includes anything from light trail riding, breeding some when I had the full farm, lots of training (both them and myself), and of course doing medieval things for show and pleasure. By medieval things I mean anything from a light demo in costume of what squires did to train up to full tilt jousting. The question I have now is can I still do any of this and if so, what parts? Continue reading “Jousting & Horses with MS?”

Gilenya

GilenyaGilenya is the name of the medication I am taking for my MS. It is the only MS medication that is offered in an oral form, as most of the medications are made of proteins and such that require injection to get past the digestive track of our body. It is a relative newcomer to the game, having only been out of clinical trials for a few years. On choosing the medication, well, my neurologists let me do some reading on things and then along with my feedback this is what selected for me. I must note, that this feedback of my input really does make an impact in my mind in regards to what kind of Doctor is best for me.

In considering the medication there was really two that were strongly being considered by the Doctor, the second being one of injections (clearly) called Rebif. My exploration and research into the two drugs indicates a couple of common things. First, at least as far as what I have been able to read, they both are not truly understood in how they work. There is a lot of suggestion and even some science that would tend to back some suggestions, but it is not conclusive. I suppose that is to be expected given that there is not a clear understanding of what causes MS to begin or even a total and complete understanding of how it goes about doing what it does.

A second big commonality is the cost. Let me just say that right now I am very thankful for having pretty good insurance through my employer, even if my amount that I pay into the thing has steadily gone up by double-digit rates over the last several years. I have still not found an actual amount on the Rebif, but based on some numbers I have seen I believe it would be in the $2500-3000 range for a monthly dosage to purchase outright. The Gilenya, if you can believe it, without any kind of support would actually be $4000 monthly. Amazingly that works out to $142.00 per pill.

Now I understand that drug research is expensive and there is a limited time between when a drug is first approved and it can be copied in a generic form. However, this is beyond the ridiculous in expense and markup. It is even more so given that it is not a disease or drug that anyone chooses, but rather something that strikes randomly and is a pain the behind end with which to deal. Keeping in mind that MS does often lead to disability, I think about the mess we call Medicaid and Medicare and it no wonder with these kind of tactics that the system is broke, both not working and in regards to money. Thank about it, to purchase this medication straight out you would have to clear $48000 year above and beyond what your living expenses are. Keep in mind the average annual household in 2006 was just over $50000 and that the average one person in the household was closer to $26000. Basic math says things are totally unsustainable in such a fashion.

It is things like this that make me, against my more general tendencies, think that social healthcare systems might be a better option that what we have currently. Of course that is a rant of a different color and not where I was wanting to go today. I am still not sure at this point how things are working out with my insurance and what amount is being covered. I have gotten several different numbers over the past month while getting everything set up and started. I am sure in the coming few weeks I will have a much more accurate picture, but I know they are covering a large percentage of this drug expense at this time.

That is good at this point, leaves me with the bigger worries right of getting into the regular habit of taking a daily medication. As of this time I have not missed any daily dosages but it has been somewhat a sporadic schedule of when I have taking the things during the day while I am trying to recall and work it into my regular routine. I would not think this would be so hard, having been on penicillin twice a day from the time I was ten until about eighteen, but given over twenty years in between it is a habit that hard to get reformed.

** – Gilenya image from Gilenya website.

*** – Originally published on MyLifeMS.com, July 1, 2011.

Six Hour Dr. Visit

MS SocietyToday I am spending the next six hours in the Doctor’s office. A specialist office at that. That seems like a long time but mostly I am just here for observation as I start a medication to ensure that some noted side effects do not occur. Six hours seem like a long time and to be sure, it is (thankfully I brought the laptop and the iPad to occupy my time). Six hours though is really nothing compared to the time I have spent in the Doctor’s office and especially various labs since early April. It is a bit of a long story, but clearly I have the time and it seems somehow appropriate to start the story here on the blog the day I am starting the medication for my life with MS. Continue reading “Six Hour Dr. Visit”

My Life with MS

I am sitting here in a Doctor’s office for observation as I start a new medication for multiple sclerosis.  I have decided to start a new blog about my experiences and how my life is being affected by have the diagnosis and of course the effects that can manifest in my ability to do some things.  To that end, Friday Tech will not occur and instead there will just be the announcement pointing to the new site.  The site is My Life with MS and the URL is MyLifeMS.com.  If you happen over there, keep in mind the site is mostly built but somethings will continue to change over the next few days to hopefully improve it over all.