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Big trials update

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Let me start off with a quick update on the dog status.

Stix got posted. She is just too unstable. She has already bitten people lightly if they don’t pay her attention. She was nearly gotten rid of on a previous occasion for biting my mom’s hand. It didn’t break the skin, but there was bruising. I don’t know, maybe with some proper training, and as Katie said, if she was the onlydog, then it might work out. Anyway, my mom took her to the SPCA and answered their questions very honestly. They seem to think they can find her a new owner without a problem. Boerboels are a very popular breed ’round here, plus she’s a young dog, has had all her shots and has been spayed. She is a good watchdog too, so for that purpose she’d be ideal. My mom gave them R100 for food for Stix so that she can stay there longer and have a better chance of being adopted. It is a bit sad, I know. But it had to be done. Everyone is traumatized about the awful dogfight and it can’t happen again. My mom did say she was very impressed with the SPCA. Spotlessly clean, and with very reasonably sized cages. I really hope for the best for Stixie. Maybe she will fit in better with another family. Maybe with a (very) rough little boy or something. Go well, Stixie dog.

As for Sandy, she seems to doing better. For a couple of days she just lay with her muzzle between her paws, in a state of shock. Apparently, she really had to fight for her life. I guess she had the canine version of post-traumatic-stress syndrome. She wouldn’t even wag her tail. My mom said that she’s sure Sandy was dreaming of the fight because she was whimpering in her sleep. Still, she’s nearly back to normal now, thankfully.

On Tuesday, M and I went to Jo’burg for a big check-up for me. Once a year, I have to undergo a whole rigmarole of tests, mainly safety check-ups for the trials. It was a hectic day. We left home at 7am and only staggered in the door again well after 8pm. We were lucky with the traffic, although we did hit rush-hour on the home stretch and it took 3 hours for trip that normally takes 2. Still, by Jo’ies’ standards that is nothing.

We went from appointment to appoitment (there were five in all) so it was quite exhausting. Especially as some of the doctors kept us waiting and I had no idea if we’d be able to fit them all in.

First stop was my neurologist, the trial co-ordinator. Everything went well there. They were visibly impressed when I walked in there and remarked on it. Big change since last time. Then I had to run the gauntlet of the EDSS tests. I’m still a 4 on the scale, as it is not sensitive to small changes. And by small, I mean the difference between walking in a straight line and being able to do cartwheels along the carpet. Ha ha, not really, but I’m sure you get my point.

I was honest with the neuro, and told him I’d been ‘practising’ and he wasn’t fazed at all, except to say, “good”.

Toe-heel went really well. He only needed me to take about four steps and they went fine. Much better than last time. Then I actually managed to hop 10 times! on my left foot, and 4 on the right – huge improvement from when I started on the trials last year and couldn’t even do one on either side.

The best bit of all, though, was when he brought out the tuning-fork-thingie. I felt the vibrations on both hands, but on neither foot. Then I said, “Wait a minute! Try the left foot again.”

He did and I was ecstatic to feel a distinct buzz on my left big toe. This is really exciting for me, because if the feeling can return there, it can return completely in both feet. What a great day that will be. And it probably means the lesion on my brain is shrinking! Yay!!!!!

It was a really nice appointment. I like the doctors and receptionist there immensely. They are so friendly to me, and make me feel special. I really am getting 5-star treatment on these trials.

After that, it was the MRI scan. Not my favourite pastime, it must be said, and they hurt me with the drip for the contrast dye. I told them the neuro had just drawn 4 vials of blood outta that arm, but they insisted on putting the drip in the same arm and it was a bit of a stuff-up. A painful one. Not too bad, though and at least I don’t have to go for another year.

Then on to the pulmonary lung puction tests. They held us up a bit, so I popped on upstairs to see the dermatologist, who (thank heaven) was in the same building and not at a complete different location, as I’d feared.

The dermatologist is a complete sweetie-pie. I like him a lot. Especially after he told me that I’m a ‘good skin specimen’. I appreciated that, lol. He says everything looks good and I don’t have to worry on that score. It was very interesting, actually. I got to see my skin magnified on the computer screen. And I had all my moles checked out. One that I had thought was a bit suspect, but he said not to be concerned, unless it starts changing. Very nice bloke.

They were ready for me at the lung functions test then and that also went well. My ‘scores’ are roughly the same as last time. Which is good news, as the trial medication can influence breathing capacity.

Lastly, the eye doc, and all is looking well, ophthalmologically. No macular oedema, or any other unpronouncable ailment of the eye. I hate that part though, because I have to take those nasty drops that dilate one’s pupils. Apart from the unpleasant light sensitivity, I look like a vampire on the loose till the next morning. It freaks M out, ha ha. I asked him if it’s true that dilated pupils are sexy and he said that he definitely didn’t find it attractive. Mind you, they were dilated to the extreme. My eyes looked like twin black-holes.

  All in all, a good day. I am thrilled with the recovery that I’ve experienced since the last time I was there. The doctors were quite obviously impressed, as well. The neuro told me it is likely that I will be invited on the extension phase of the trials. That is good news.

He also said that they can pick out already who is on the actual medicine, and who is on placebo. Quite a difference.

I feel very priviledged to be on these trials. Small step nothing. Huge step for both myself and medical science. Yay!

Written by Maggie

February 7, 2008 at 4:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

6 Responses

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  1. That’s amazing! How exciting and great that you get to be a part of it.

    Katie Alender

    February 7, 2008 at 5:29 pm

  2. Magdalena The info on the placebo/non placebo effect is stunning. I am convinced you will now go from strength to strength!!


    February 7, 2008 at 7:34 pm

  3. Practicing for a medical test … who’d a thunk such a thing would be ‘good’!?


    February 7, 2008 at 7:43 pm

  4. Awesome update, glad to hear you are doing so well and are improving in or at least maintaining in all areas!!!! 🙂



    February 7, 2008 at 9:17 pm

  5. I feel very sorry for your dog that is at the SPCA I can just pray she finds a good owner. Have you maybe thought of leaving your name at the Vets Maggie? they often know about someone looking for a specific dog. I agree I wouldn’t keep her either if she is causing a fight but still very sorry for her.

    I’m so happy your tests went so well and that you are doing so wellon your trials.



    Mom Archer

    February 8, 2008 at 6:54 pm

  6. “Huge step for both myself and medical science.” Ain’t that the truth, sister! I feel the exact same way, like I’ve gotten in some cool club because I knew the secret knock. Pretty soon Fingolimod will be available to everyone and we can all just walk in the front door — no more secret knock.I can’t wait until the entire MS community gets to share in it. Maybe we can have a massive Syringe Burning Party. 🙂

    Jeri a.k.a. TickledPink

    February 17, 2008 at 11:55 pm

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