About a week before Christmas, Alessandro started experiencing some new symptoms related to his MS. His left hand started to feel numb (his right hand has felt numb for quite sometime now) and he was becoming more clumsy than usual. Some of the "clumsy" things Alessandro has done lately include, but are not limited to: knocking his phone into a bowl of salsa, spilling espresso all over the stove right after he prepared it, dropping the car keys in that annoying spot in the car that is impossible to reach, knocking over a candle and spilling hot wax down the drain (had to call maintenance for that one), and acquiring a huge bruise on his arm, the origin of which is unknown. In addition to literally not being able to get a grip, his walking ability has taken a hit as well.
After a few weeks of us saying, "Maybe it's just because you're sick," or "Let's just see if things get better in the next couple of days," he decided it was time for him to call the doctor.
So, one day last week we headed to the docs. But not before we stopped at Russel Street that morning for breakfast : )
Geez, he's handsome.
After throwing down some pancakes and corned-beef hash, we headed to the DMC.
The doc tested his hand coordination, vision, arm and leg strength and measured his walking time. To sum it up, he was generally weak throughout his arms, hips and legs, and one of his hands got a failing grade when he couldn't feel when the doctor was moving it. (That sure would explain all the dropping of things).
Also, quick note: One thing that I learned at the appointment was that most of Al's symptoms are caused by the lesions that he has on his spine. I was under the impression the symptoms came from his brain lesions, so that was new news to me. Also, we are going to need to consider whether it is time to switch his medication. He has been taking Gilenya for almost 2 years now, and considering that he is worse off right now than he was this time last year, we all think it may be time for a change. There is way too much behind that decision than I can get into here, so I will save that for another write-up if I ever am so inclined.
Here he is in the doctor's office simulating one of his hand-movement exams.
And here he is hanging his head in shame because he failed:
And here he is not at all amused that I am taking pics in the doctor's office:
After a thorough examination, it was decided that he needed a five day steroid treatment to get him up and running again.
The steroid that he gets is called Solu-Medrol, and it is used to treat exacerbations of multiple sclerosis. In my own layman's terms, the steroid is supposed to give him energy, strength, and help him bounce back from his worsening symptoms. While that all sounds great, I would be remiss not to mention Alessandro's point of view that steroid treatments suck. Aless will have to spend the next five days with a line in his arm and will have to eat, sleep, bathe, drive, go to school and walk, all while worried about keeping that line in his arm and not dislodging it and having to start all over again and having it re-inserted. Yeah, I can see how that would suck. But an MS patient's got to do what an MS patient's got to do!
I wanted to write this tonight because tomorrow is day one of his steroid treatment, and I thought it would be cool to document the changes, side-effects, and (pray for us) progress that should come in the next few days and the weeks to follow.
Tomorrow (Monday) a nurse will come to the house and hook him up with an IV and will get him going with his first dose. Over the next five days, he and I will hook him up to his steroid dose, which will take about an hour or so to drip from the bag into his body. We will repeat every day until this Friday (glorious day five) when I will get to take the line out of his arm and he will be free! (And he will no longer have a justification for not doing the dishes!)
Stay tuned this week as I attempt to document the next five days. What should we call them? Steroid Week 2013? Hey, that was the first thing I came up with and I like it! Maybe it's because it's really late and I'm tired. Unless you guys give me something better, we're gonna stick with that.