A Night Out

I left my MS with a sitter and headed to a concert.

The other night my husband and I went on a good old fashion date. We left my MS with a sitter and headed to a concert at a local nightclub. Of course, I was in my ever-present handy wheelchair decked out with mountain bike wheels. I was also in a good mood and ready to take on the winter air.

We arrive at the club. We are early and due to my wheels, they put us first in line. When the doors opened the guards ushered us straight in. Subsequently, we had first row standing room only positions. I was thrilled. I was proud of myself for even going. I left the confines of my laptop and condo. My biggest worry was keeping my bladder in check.

The night began with a local female disc jockey. For some reason I felt a shared feminine connection. She was dong what she loved to do, despite the odds that stack against her. I like to think, I am too.

An hour later, the funk star, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, arrived and nonchalantly passed directly in front of us! For those of you who are unfamiliar with his iconic status, the closest person I can compare him to is the late great Rick James.

Within minutes the house was packed. Still, George Clinton himself managed to greet me in person. It was the highlight of the night. Really, I think his security detail was concerned about a possible stampede.

George Clinton, “The Atomic Dog”, stopped to talk to me.

I’m not claustrophobic, but even the most stoic of us would have been a bit taken aback. Not even the oh so strong smell of marijuana could keep me calm. Since I was sitting, I felt that people were engulfing me. I think my husband saw my level of anxiety rising. He gently grabbed my hand; something he seldom does, in this case it only confirmed we were in a sticky situation.

A little over half way through the show we decided to leave. We received special permission to exit through the artist only door. There was no way we could make it back through the crowd to the normal exit.

After all, an hour and a half was good for me. I was drained. I met George. I was ready to go; besides, I had to go to the restroom!



Just Asking

If everyone in the world had MS would we treat the disease differently?

My only relief from MS is when I sleep. In my dreams I almost never have MS. Everything is “normal” again. During my latest dream something different happened. Not only myself but also everyone I came in contact with had MS. It seemed so real. That dream got me thinking if everyone in the world had MS, would we treat the disease differently?

Would normal workdays be 4 hours instead of 8?
Would there be vending machines selling Avonex and Betaseron?
Would it be acceptable to be tired after only being awake for two hours?

Would everyone sprinkle Gilenya on their food like salt?
Would insurance companies consider MS medication as preventive treatment?
Would Tysabri have a mascot like Mickey Mouse in order to appeal to kids?

Would there be cheap over the counter MS drugs?
Would neurologist and optometrist be seen as more important than cardiologist?
Would the National MS Society receive funding from every country’s national budget?

Would medical marijuana be legal?
Would 20/20 vision be atypical and not the norm?
Would there be IV steroid treatment centers in every neighborhood?

Would every building be handicap accessible?
Would Novantrone be available in convenience stores?
Would we have liquid forms of Copaxone and Rebif instead of injections?

If every billionaire, prince, king and president had MS would we have found a cure by now?

Just asking.

Up In Smoke

Smoking medical marijuana relieves MS symptoms.

My husband and I recently saw a headline in the Canadian Medical Association Journal that read, “Smoking medical marijuana could help relieve some symptoms of multiple sclerosis”. I instantly began dreaming of buying a new house in California next to Montel’s medical marijuana dispensary.

The study found that people with M.S. who smoked cannabis have experienced decreased pain and spasticity. While, thank God, I don’t suffer from any pain, I do endure unbelievable spasticity and clonus in my legs. Sometimes they are stiff like planks of wood. While other times they shake uncontrollably. I currently treat this with muscle relaxers, so I began thinking, “Weed effects can’t be any worse on my body than prescription pills? Lets do this!”

Then reality (i.e. my husband) spoke up as he continued reading and revealed some bad news. People who smoked the study’s cannabis had decreased cognitive functioning and scored low on tests that measured their focus. This result was supported by an earlier study in the journal, Neurology, which also showed Multiple Sclerosis patients who smoked medical marijuana have a doubled risk of developing cognitive impairments. While I would love to improve my spasticity, I can’t afford for my cognition to get any worse. Some of my main issues have been with my inability to track conversations, general confusion and memory.

I suppose I should be happy because this may pave the way for continued studies. Hopefully they will examine whether different doses can result in similar beneficial effects with decreased impact to cognition.

But for now my cannabis cure-all dreams have gone up in smoke.