Monday, November 15, 2010

New Drug Appears To Overcome Resistance In Ovarian Cancer

New Drug Appears To Overcome Resistance In Ovarian Cancer

This is AWESOME news! I hope that clinical trials end up confirming that Gilenya / Fingolimod / FTY720 can fight ovarian cancer better than chemo. How many lives may be saved!

Apparently it was just MS fatigue

I've been back on the Estradiol for several days now with no issues. No fatigue like I felt those first few days where keeping my eyes open nearly required toothpicks.

I feel much better now -- back to my old self. That must have just been a blast of severe MS fatigue.

I have been fortunate enough to have been relapse-free for over 3 years now while in this TRANSFORMS clinical trial for FTY720 / Fingolimod / Gilenya and it's extension phase that I sometimes forget how bad my prior symptoms were. When I overdo it and symptoms like fatigue rear their ugly head, I am reminded that I do still indeed have MS.

Sometimes, but not too often because I don't like to dwell on the negative, I allow myself to wonder where I'd be disease-wise if I hadn't had the good fortune of this trial working out for me so well.

Anyhow, fear not the Estradiol. It, nor it's inert ingredients, caused the fatigue after all. Rather old age or MS must have done it.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Update on the Estradiol experiment

Today was inconclusive. I took a 2 hour nap, true, but I am not positive what caused the fatigue.

Today was Mom's birthday and my sister came over and took us all out to a local ice cream shop for hot fudge sundaes at noon. I'm not used that that kind of sugar overload midday. Typically that kind of sugar or carb intake will have me zonked within an hour.

So, I'm scrapping today as any kind of definitive test of the Wal-mart generic version of Estradiol and the possible fatigue inducing qualities of the inert ingredients.

Tomorrow I'll take the medicine again and try to make it a normal day as far as all the constants (like a NORMAL diet) go.

I'll report back when I've had another day to evaluate.

The Estradiol Experiment Continues

Since I last left you, I haven't taken my newly filled Rx of Estradiol any more after suspecting it was causing me extreme fatigue.

I spoke to a pharmacist who pointed out that although the Rx I had from Walgreens (that didn't make me tired) has the same active ingredient as the Rx from Wal-mart (which may as well be sleeping pills), the inactive ingredients may be what's bothering me.

I had too much stuff to do the past couple of days to risk zonking out in mid-chore for a 4 hour nap.

Today, however, I started back on the medicine at 9am to see what happens now. I was either a) MS fatigued, b) tired from having company, or c) adversely affected by the steroids inert ingredients**. We shall see if it was the medicine as that will be the only difference between yesterday and today. Yesterday I was not overly exhausted.

I wish that I had taken time to consider that today is Mom's birthday BEFORE I tried experimenting again. Family is coming over and I wanted to fix her a nice dinner. Hopefully the medicine wasn't the issue and I will be fine.

If not, I have already sung Happy Birthday to her and she'll be surprised with a nice Digiorno pizza tonight.

**PLEASE NOTE: I have no idea what possessed me to write "steroids". I haven't done any of those since 2007 and you probably are wondering where the heck that came from. I left it in place and struck it out, with the correct words coming after it so you won't think you were seeing things if you come back to read again. What was I thinking??

Changing with the times

Since starting my blog at to document my clinical trial experience on the blog named "Fingolimod and Me", the times they have a-changed.

The drug got approval and was given an even wankier name than Fingolimod -- it's now known as Gilenya. Hence the spiffy new url for blogging.

I will no doubt keep the old blog going and just double post to reach more folks in a less confusing manner. For now, tho, this is my test site for trying new templates or gadgets, so if you don't see much new going on here, please visit me over there:

Monday, November 8, 2010

Blood Pressure Medicine and MS

How could this be a year old and I never saw it?

A drug commonly used to treat high blood pressure may also double as a multiple sclerosis treatment.

A new study shows the inexpensive blood pressure drug lisinopril blocked development of multiple sclerosis in laboratory mice bred to develop the disease. And when the drug was given to mice with full-blown symptoms of multiple sclerosis, it reversed their paralysis without affecting their overall immunity.

Of course, big pharma probably was aghast when this news hit the wire. We CAN'T have a cheap alternative to the established DMDs! This would be unacceptable -- especially one that does not alter the immune system and comes in the form of a PILL!

Lisinopril is not without it's drawbacks, however...

SIDE EFFECTS: First doses of lisinopril can cause dizziness due to a drop in blood pressure. Lisinopril can cause nausea, headaches, anxiety, insomnia, drowsiness, nasal congestion and sexual dysfunction. Lisinopril should be stopped if there are symptoms or signs of an allergic reaction including feelings of swelling of the face, lips, tongue or throat. Severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) and hives occasionally occur. Rarely, lisinopril may cause a drop in red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Lisinopril can impair the function of the kidneys, and every person taking this medication should have their kidney function checked.

My first question would be: "That's great! But what does someone with LOW blood pressure do? Are they not a likely candidate for this type of treatment?"

I'm just amazed at all the different things, like LDN, CCSVI and now apparently this blood pressure medication that are being studied and what the ramifications might be for those of us with MS.

This is why it's so urgent that we do our best to help fund research into alternative treatments. Big pharma is not going to do it unless there's a billion dollar reason.

By the way, if you haven't done so, please go vote for the Pepsi Refresh Everything idea to Establish a Non-Mainstream MS Research Institute.

Estradiol update

Yesterday I forwent (is that a word? Okay, how about skipped?) my Estradiol in a little experiment of my own to see if it had any effect on the extreme fatigue I have been suffering for four days.

Turns out I needed no nap yesterday and didn't have that weighted down, someone-pull-me-from-the-deep feeling of oppressive exhaustion I had felt for the previous 3 days.

I had to go to Walgreens to pick up a few things and asked the pharmacist what she thought. I explained that I had been on a Walgreens-filled Rx of generic version of Estradiol for a month and had no issues, but then I went to Wal-mart and got their cheaper refill (it was hard to confess this but I did) and have had the fatigue issues since.

I did mention that I also have MS so I wasn't sure if that was the issue and it was just coincidental that I started having problems on or about the same day as starting my new bottle of pills.

Her response was interesting. She said that while the active ingredient was still the same, different manufacturers use different inert ingredients so there was a possibility that I was experiencing a side effect of one of them somehow.

I think I am going to wait until Wednesday to start taking the Estradiol again. I have an urgent need to be awake and alert for the next two days and don't want to continue my experiment until sleeping all day is an option I can afford.

I am very curious to see if I just had MS fatigue from company overload that required a few days to balance back out, or if it really is the new version of the same old pill causing me issues. If so, that sucks. The pills from Wal-mart are insanely cheaper than those at Walgreens. $17 for 30 days at Walgreens vs. $10 for 90 days at Wal-mart. When you're broke and have no insurance, those kinds of things matter.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vote Now to Help Fund Research for CCSVI and LDN

My friend and former neurologist, Dr. Daniel Kantor has dedicated his life to Multiple Sclerosis. He is the singular most passionate person I know who stands as an advocate for those of us with MS.

His latest venture in pushing toward finding the ultimate Holy Grail of a cure is to try and get funding for a non-mainstream research center that will explore treatment options like LDN and CCSVI.

He is SO passionate about this project that he is willing to donate his own time to see this to fruition. Quote from the project notes:

Budget Notes: The budget will not cover Dr. Kantor's salary, which will be donated pro bono by him to the project. The budget will not cover services that we are applying for from in-kind donations. The budget will not cover administrative costs, which Neurologique will donate pro bono to the project.

I, for one, cannot see a better way for Pepsi to distribute it's Refresh Everything grant money, but you might say I'm a little biased.

Please watch the video below and cast your vote now before it's too late. Funding for research that doesn't necessarily have a goal of padding big pharma's pockets is rare indeed. We MS patients have a chance to take a proactive role and cast our vote to help better our own choices tomorrow.

So please take a moment and vote today!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Estradiol and possible fatigue

Honestly, with the many and varied symptoms one can experience due to MS it's so hard to know what might be caused by something else.

My new issue, only to have reared its ugly head over the past 3 days is FATIGUE. OMG kind of debilitating fatigue that I have never had to this degree before. I have to admit that always in the past, when I'd heard of someone complaining of chronic fatigue and the fact that it ruled their life, I just couldn't comprehend. To me it seemed like maybe they should just get another hour or two at night and maybe they'd feel better.

Well, to all of you Chronic Fatigue Syndrome sufferers and anyone else out there battling falling asleep at the drop of a hat, my SINCERE apologies! I have now been indoctrinated in the ways of how the ocean of unconsciousness tries to suck you down and keep you from functioning.

We had family visit last week, but it wasn't like that should have affected me.They didn't stay at the house; they had a motel. They helped with cooking and clean up and even the shopping so the experience should have been a vacation for me rather than any kind of stress inducing event.

The day after they left, however, I took my son to school (the hour long round trip drive to the best school in the county), came home, fed the cats, made the coffee, told Mom I was going to lay down for a bit, and promptly crashed and slept nearly until it was time to go pick him up from school 6 hours later.

Chalking it up to needing to catch up a little on my rest, I just blew it off. That night I worried I'd be up all night, having slept all day, but I got my son in bed at 9:30 and had a hard time staying up long enough to do that. Next day, same scenario.

The weather here in Florida has recently turned cool (I'm freezing my ass off, if you want to know the truth, but I know a  lot of you readers would beg to differ that 45 or 50 degrees is "cold", so I held back). Driving my son to school is now an event that requires the radio to be on and the window to be halfway down. My son thinks I'm torturing him needlessly but once I explained, he was forgiving and understood. I don't want to succumb to the constant drowsiness that threatens to pull me down.

So what does this have to do with Estradiol you ask?

Well, I started on hormones a month or so ago when I found out I have Osteopenia in order to prevent Osteoporosis. I've had a hysterectomy so there's no worry of uterine cancer. I noticed immediately that many of my menopausal symptoms subsided after starting this therapy, among them hot flashes, night sweats, mood swings, etc.

My first batch was purchased at Walgreens and a 30 day supply cost me $17. My GYN told me that I could purchase the same med in 90 day qty at Wal-mart for $10. Sounded like a no-brainer.

I got the new Rx filled 4 days ago. I noticed right away the pills didn't look anything like my old ones. The new one is sort of a football shape with a line down the middle and a different shade of light blue from my old, tiny round pills.

Googling them I see they have different manufacturers but profess to be the same thing at the same dosage. I just tried to call the Wal-mart pharmacy to speak to a pharmacist but the phone rings off the hook, totally ignored, as I expected.

All I can figure is that these new pills have somehow activated my fatigue button. I have had this problem for as many days as I have been on the new refill of Estradiol. Last night I went to bed at 9:30, slept until 8:15am and then after lunch I laid down because I felt groggy and ended up sleeping from noon to 4:30 when John woke me up to ask if I planned on making any dinner.

I drank a glass of caffeinated ice tea and tried to pry my eyes open long enough to shake the grogginess and get some grub going.

I honestly don't know what's going on. I had just chalked it up to having too much excitement this past week, but when my mother suggested maybe it had something to do with my new bottle of pills it made me wonder.

Or maybe it's MS rearing its ugly head? If so, fatigue is the only new symptom I have so I seriously doubt it. I normally don't do single symptom relapses. I have to have big dramatic relapses as befits a hypochondriac.

I remember being a kid and fighting sleep and hating that I had to do it. Sleep seemed like such a waste of time. Now, as I sit here glazing over, all I have to do is think of my soft pillow and fuzzy blanket and I'm so tired I could just...........lay...........down...........nowww zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz