I fully acknowledge that the title of this post is overdramatic and extra. But that’s how I’ve been feeling.
Yesterday was my monthly LEMTRADA lab day. The phlebotomist comes to my house to collect them. It’s been the same woman for the past almost 5 years — since the beginning of my LEMTRADA journey. She’s been with me as I transitioned from a cane to a walker and finally to a wheelchair. She’s been with me through multiple hospital stays and two several months-long inpatient rehab stints (she came there to collect the labs). She’s been there through two moves — one from my parents’ to my new apartment, and from my apartment back to my parents’. She’s been with me as I had to stop driving. She’s been with me as I had to file (and get approved, thankfully) for SSDI.
Though she doesn’t know it, she’s represented an oddly comforting consistency over the past 5 years. Maybe it’s the Taurus in me — who knows. The LEMTRADA labs represent a benchmark of sorts. They are a timeline of my sad slow decline, post-LEMTRADA. Everything that happens in my life now is filtered through that lens.
LEMTRADA didn’t work for me. In fact, I had to begin another DMT (Ocrevus) after my final infusion in 2016 (in a perfect world, this shouldn’t have been necessary). That said, the labs are also a bitter reminder of how LEMTRADA failed me.
The drug “rules” require that for four years after our final infusion (mine was February 2016) we are monitored monthly to ensure that LEMTRADA isn’t fucking up our organs, system, etc. (any more so than it already viscerally has for me). I am grateful that my thyroid and kidneys have been spared from the drug’s grips over the past five years — a possibility I was warned about when I signed my life away prior to starting LEMTRADA in 2015. I caught a break, after all, I guess.
So, February 2020 is the end of my four year monitoring period. It’ll be the official end of my LEMTRADA journey. The end of an era. I feel oddly sad.