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    You are here : Home » Get Involved » MSRC Interactive » Tysabri® User Diaries » Chris Dawson's Tysabri Diary

    Chris Dawson's Tysabri Diary

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    Chris Dawson

    Name: Chris Dawson
    Age: 44
    Diagnosed: Sept 2011 (RRMS)
    Relapses: Just the one, although my MRI results tell their own story...
    First Infusion: March 8th 2012.
    Previous Meds: None.
    Hi Everyone,
    I've just embarked on the Tysabri journey and took a lot of comfort & inspiration from your diaries & blogs in the run up to my first infusion, so thought I'd pass it on & get my four penn'orth in.
    As a healthy man in his mid forties (going on 30), it came as a bit of a blow to discover that the cause of the few weeks' of mysterious symptoms I encountered last summer was 'very likely' to be RRMS; an opinion which was subsequently reinforced after the standard treadmill of MRI, LP, Evoked Response, follow up MRI etc.  I won't dwell on the minutiae, you've all been there or are going through it now, my best wishes to you all.  
    So there it is I thought, I've got MS, now what to do next...?  After just one relapse and an almost complete recovery, I guess the temptation was to file the experience firmly under 'denial' and carry on as before; but a very particular constellation of circumstance, coupled with a brilliant consultant, has led me to the place where I'm typing at my PC with 100ml of nice fresh Tysabri coursing around my body here in March 2012.
    If I sound blasé about all this then I apologise unreservedly; only you see this isn't the first time my life has been changed by MS.  My Dad was diagnosed back in 1980 at a roughly similar age as I am now, although it's likely he'd had it, undiagnosed, for a couple of years prior to that.  My Dad's treatment options were very much of their day - a veritable casserole of quackery at the top of the list, backed up with one or two emerging 'try this it might work' medical technologies.  A manifestly ineffective list of drugs, diets and procedures all mixed together and appraised periodically via functional examination, blood tests and interview.  Ah, the 1980s..  
    So together with my Mum & Sister I sat in a ringside seat for the next decade & a half and watched exactly what unchecked and aggressive MS can do - did do - to an educated, proud, active and funny man who did nothing to hurt anyone.  Again I shan't dwell on the detail, but suffice it to say I'm a different person as a result.  The change hasn't necessarily been what you might think, I'm no haunted soul, in fact I'd like to think I've become a more rounded, upbeat & pragmatic adult as a result of what Dad went through.
    We are all children of our experiences, so that pragmatism moved into centre stage when it transpired the old enemy had returned to our family, making me one of the unfortunate 3% of direct inheritors, but making an ostensibly difficult decision comparatively easy for me.
    I have an open & honest consultant, for which I'm very grateful, so have been able to have grown up conversations about the past & future (and Newcastle United!).  As an experienced Neurologist he's seen all flavours & outcomes of MS in his clinic, and pulled no punches that I tick a lot of the 'high risk' boxes for the likely course it'll take with me; for my part I've glimpsed what that could mean.  Thank you Dad.  Which led us to discuss Tysabri & decide to get to the MS before it gets to me.
    I'm very lucky that I've had my route to diagnosis and Tysabri treatment fast tracked because of my family history.  I was as worried about embarking on the treatment as the next person but I have to say the experience has been, so far, an entirely positive one, no tangible negative effect whatever; I can only wish it to be the same for everybody.  Looking at the threads in these diaries (and others) it seems that PML gets a great deal of attention.  Rightly so, it's a real risk, but it's a numbers risk.  While I stood at the crossroads of Tysabri Y/N, some specific observations by my consultant stuck in my mind and ultimately made my decision easy, so I'll share them with you:
    Overall Tysabri population risk of PML after 2 years = 1/1000 (0.1%)
    JCV+ Tysabri population risk of PML after 2 years = 1/350 (0.29%) - [I'm JCV+ so fall into this one.]
    Risk of me still having MS after 2 years = 100%.

    'Tysabri is an amazing drug, it can all but halt progression in its tracks, but it won't reverse what you've lost.  Once you're down that road there's no coming back.'
    So yes, I might be taking a numbers risk with Tysabri, but thanks to my consultant and my Dad, I'm not forgetting to look down the correct end of the telescope; for my money PML isn't the bogeyman, MS is, and I'm just relieved as hell that Tysabri & regular MRIs are both options for me.  We're standing on the shoulders of giants.
    Love & Regards,

    © Multiple Sclerosis Resource Centre

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