As you can tell from the title, this post isn't so much about bipolar. It's more about MS -- Multiple Sclerosis.
MS is a progressive disease of the central nervous system that has no known cause and no known cure. MS attacks the myelin sheath of the neurons in the central nervous system (CNS). This then causes any number of problems, depending on the part of the CNS attacked. Some folks with MS have mobility problems. Some have cognitive issues. Others may go to bed with perfect eyesight only to awaken blind in one or both eyes because the MS has attacked the optic nerves. MS is not usually fatal but statistically it does shorten the life span of the individual by approximately 17%.
MS is believed to be an autoimmune disease in which T cells cross the blood brain barrier and attack the myelin. In response, the medical community has developed a variety of immunosuppressive treatments that, although they cannot cure, slow the progression of the disease. The idea is to bring that 17% figure down and make life more tolerable for the MS individual.
But, as you might imagine, these drugs have side effects. Some not such a big deal. Some life threatening.
The first MS treatment I was on 15 years ago was a weekly intramuscular injection that brought on flu like symptoms. I would inject myself at bedtime on Friday and wake up in the wee hours Saturday with fever, chills, and severe body aches. Sometimes these lasted only a few hours. Sometimes they wrecked the entire weekend.
The second treatment was easier but was a 3 times per week subcutaneous injection. I don't like needles. And the flu like symptoms were present in this one too, just not as severe.
Later there was a daily injection.
Finally, an oral medication! Yeah, no more needles!!! This one makes me feel like my head is a flame thrower, sometimes. And, it has lowered my white blood cell count to a level that concerns my neurologist. There is an often fatal brain disease that can result from this.... So, we're talking about a change in meds. But, I have to have a negative TB test before I can switch.