Friday 28 October 2022

the crap gap - real or fake?

Hold your horses! I know that for many people with MS who take disease modifying therapies, we can all feel like crap in the period immediately before our next dose. A reminder:

The Crap Gap: the period immediately in the lead up to another round of MS medications, particularly infusions, when the patient begins to feel particularly fatigued and "ready for it." Psychosomatic according to some neurologists, it nonetheless feels particularly real to the patient. 

When I was injecting myself with Rebif three times a week, I'd always felt like crap on my in-between days. I was taking Tecfidera so often that I didn't have time to feel bad but going to Tysabri infusions every four weeks I always felt I was ready for my next dose. 

The fact that this didn't alter when I changed to infusions every six weeks didn't really change my thinking. Neither did the fact that when I mentioned this to my neurologist and he told me categorically that it was all in my head. 


As I write this I'm currently having my first full dose of Ocrevus. I had my initial two half-doses in November of 2021. 

So in total, it has been an eleven months wait.

If the crap gap was real, I'm pretty sure I would've felt dreadful yesterday. 

Now the last year has been so uncertain. I've had no idea when or if I'd be getting my next dose of Ocrevus. So I could well have unwittingly programmed my body to power on through because of the uncertainty. If I didn't know when it would happen, how could I feel crap in advance? 

The only problem is, I've had this date in the calendar for the past five weeks

Please know that I fully understand that this is only my own personal experience. And when I've felt the crap gap in the past, I've known that it was real. 

But looking at my various DMT timetables over the years that doesn't make sense. 

I'm a firm believer in the placebo affect. And just because something isn't physically real, if it feels psychologically real then to all intents and purposes, it is real. 

I just think it might be a little less terrifying for anyone newly diagnosed or just starting a DMT to hear something like, "Some people start to feel like they're a little run down immediately before they go in for treatment. But it's nothing to worry about." 

As opposed to, "Oh god, I feel absolutely awful before I have my infusion." 

Similarly, the second part of that statement is, "But I feel amazing as soon as I've had it." 

What if before my first/second infusion I felt like crap, and then I didn't feel any better afterwards? What would that do for how I feel about my DMT and / or my future with MS? 

I suppose if the idea of the pre-infusion slump followed by the post-infusion boost makes you feel better, then by all means continue to do you, boo

But based on twelve years of research, for me personally, it doesn't exist. And I'm cool with that.

Thursday 6 October 2022

was it something i said?

So last night I went to the pub with my brother. It's been a while since we\ve been able to meet up - and seeing as I am now fully vaxxed up (COVID and Flu), this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

He came over to where I live and because I was feeling a littlebit 'leggy', I decided that I would drive - we are responsible drivers, ok? Don't drink and drive.

Anyway - another reason that I drove was because my electric scooter (yes, there's a story to be told about that) lives in the back of our car. Not for any reason other than it would fill our house and the chances are, when I use it, I'll probably be in the car.

So we parked up nearby, assembled the scooter, and made our way into the pub (actually not the most accesible venue but we made it work). On arriving I saw an old friend from one of my previous freelance marketing jobs, sitting at a table with two people I ddn't know.

After saying hello, he held up his beer and said that he recommended that I try it. Now I'm a bit of a wimp when it comes to beer - I like a nice, light IPA (Indian Pale Ale). What he was recommending looked black and decidedly "heavy." 

Without thinking, I said "I'd better not, I'm driving." 

And as soon as I said it, I regretted it.

The table exploded as if I'd delivered the punchline to end all punchlines.

Because I was driving! But not in a car! I was driving a mobility scooter! You get it? It's funny 'cos it's true!

One person at the table then said the classic line, "Have you got a license for that?!"

It was all I could do to stop myself telling them all to fuck right off.

Look. I know that I'm possibly a little sensitive about this. A mobility scooter is something that I've fought against for a long time. I've only been out on it locally a handful of times, so I'm building my confidence up slowly.

More to the point, I understand that people get a little awkward around mobility aids and the people using them. So if they get a chance to make a weak joke to 'lighten the mood' they're going to grab it - especially if it's gifted to them by the person using said mobility aid.

But people, please!