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A Bit, a Piece, and Some Photos…

Posted Aug 30 2011 12:08am
Thermometer Fever

Image via Wikipedia

Sorry about the nearly two-week gap since my last post, but in addition to earthquakes, hurricanes, and my birthday, I've also been dealing with a persistent low-grade fever that seems to be related to the monthly IVIG infusions I've been receiving. My doctors claim that IVIG doesn't cause such long-term fevers, but the fevers do seem to have started when I started IVIG, and have increased in frequency in the five months that I've been on the stuff. As I'm sure most of you know, those of us with damage to our central nervous systems are especially sensitive to increased body temperatures, so these fevers have been draining both mentally and physically.

The real kick in the ass is that IVIG is the first treatment I've been on that has actually shown any benefit, having restored some strength to my extremely weak right side. Frustratingly, it doesn't seem to have stopped the progressing weakness on my left side, which is quite distressing since I use my relatively strong left side to make up for my extremely gimpy right side. Once the left side goes, I'm all out of sides, and thus shit out of luck, since I'm a mere Earthling and don't have the benefit of the additional extremities sported by some of our extraterrestrial friends. Damn, if only I was one of those six armed, six legged bastards from the planet Mu, but then again if I were I'd be forced to exist on a diet made up exclusively of tremendous brussels sprouts, and I absolutely detest brussels sprouts. Karen adores them, though, and it's only due to the magical power of love that our relationship has survived this calamitous obstacle.

Anyway, enough about me. I thought I'd share a couple of interesting MS related news items, and a new batch of photos that I've added to the Wheelchair Kamikaze photo gallery, which can be found on the left side of this blog. It's been a while since I've added any photos, so it's about time. I'll have a bunch more to post sometime soon, so stop needling me, see, stop riding me, or I'll have to reach through the Internet and sock you right on the kisser. Yikes, suddenly I'm writing like a 1930s movie gangster, so before any more such silliness ensues, let's get on with it…

· The first FDA approved stem cell trial involving multiple sclerosis patients is now underway at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio ( click here ). The trial is using mesenchymal stem cells, harvested from a patient's own bone marrow, and then infused intravenously back into the patient after the cells have been cultivated and multiplied in a carefully controlled lab environment. Although this is a very small phase 1 trial, at least one of the initial patients is already reporting some improvements. The mesenchymal stem cells (MSC's) are thought to work by both regulating the body's immune response and initiating the repair of damaged nerve tissues, and offer the extremely exciting prospect of not only stopping the disease but also reversing some of the damage it does to the nervous system. Another small trial, conducted by Dr. Neil Scolding in England, reported encouraging results, finding that patients treated with intravenously infused MSC's showed stability and even some improvement in symptoms after one year ( click here ). Much larger stem cell trials are currently being readied throughout Europe, and are slated to get going later in 2011 ( click here ). Similar stem cell treatments are being offered in various overseas clinics at extremely high prices, but the outcome reports from patients who have traveled for these treatments have been mixed

· Yet more idiocy involving the use of medical marijuana to treat MS in the United States has once again made the news, this time in New Jersey, where an MS patient has been tried, convicted, and sentenced to five years in prison for growing 17 marijuana plants for his own use ( click here ). During his trial, the judge determined that the fact that the defendant has MS and was harvesting the plants as a form of medicine not be allowed to be told to the jury. The convicted man is now appealing the case to the State Supreme Court, and had been out on bail, but as of a few days ago is in prison beginning to serve his sentence. The kicker is that New Jersey now has a law allowing medical marijuana to be used for certain conditions, including MS, but it was passed after this man was first arrested. As I've written about previously ( click here ), the draconian anti-marijuana laws here in the US - enacted in the mid-20th century largely to protect the cotton industry from the growers of hemp - don't even allow for the testing of pharmaceutical products derived from marijuana, such as Sativex, an anti-spasticity spray available throughout Canada and much of Europe. Sheesh…

Okay, now for the photos I know you've all been waiting for with bated breath. These were all taken between within the last 12 months, with a camera mounted on the arm of my wheelchair. Most were shot in either Central Park or Hudson River Park. I hope you like them. Please click on the thumbnails below to view a larger image. I'd love to know if you have any favorites, or even if you happen to despise any of them, so please feel free to leave some comments…

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