Thursday, February 4, 2010

Like One Too Many Coors Lights

Treatment #4

Today's Ampligen infusion marked the fourth and last treatment at the 200ml "adjustment" or acclimation dosage. I'm now into a quaisi-routine, arriving at the clinic around 9:30AM every Monday and Thursday morning, and the procedure goes amazingly fast. In less than 3 minutes Gwen has me hooked up to the drip bag with "miracle drug" coursing through my pipes, followed by a bag of saline solution. The entire process takes about an hour total. Starting with next Monday's I.V., I'll be ramping up to the full 400ml dose, which they'll infuse a little bit more slowly.

So what does it feel like? I'll break it down by time.

What Ampligen Feels Like the Day of the Treatment - Going into my veins, I feel absolutely nothing. I'm not cold, I'm not flushed, nada. Then, things start feeling pretty good! My appetite starts feeling restored during the treatment. I talk more. I also seem to be smarter! This may change starting next week, (when I double the amount of "juice" my body has to process), but based on the first two weeks, for the first few hours after the Ampligen, I actually get a little boost. Cognitively I feel more aware, I can drive without difficulty and math is easy for me. I talk on the phone with much more lucidity (in my view, and some friend's views as well). These are sort of empirical markers for me, because I can recall times when I would be behind the wheel and get lost in my own neighborhood, so bad would the memory and cognitive problems be. Last night in bed, I wrestled with something that was driving me crazy. Who was that portly actor who played the role of Perry Mason and Ironside on 70's TV? Today after my treatment, it was obvious--- Raymond Burr, of course!

What Ampligen Feels Like the Day After Treatment- By the end of the treatment day, the boost I described above has worn off, and I start to feel tired. By nightfall, my head hurts a little. Upon awakening the next day, I feel like I either am just getting over the flu, or that I went on a bender the night before. Not unlike the feeling many years ago when I was a teenager in college and enjoyed the "buzz" of a few too many Coors Light beers, only to pay for it with a throbbing head the next day, Ampligen the day after makes my body ache a little. Specifically, like with a mild case of the flu, my butt and leg muscles hurt, and I get a little testy. My wife already has "guaged" that it's better to have good conversations with me the day of my treatment, as opposed to the day after, because I will be much less patient the next day. But even with all this symptomology, I can say it's no worse than "crash days", and actually is sort of different. Unlike the disease, and it's horribly unpredictive symptoms, I can sort of "plan" on this headache and muscle pain, and deal with it. It also helps that I am firmly convinced that the Ampligen is actually helping my body.

What Ampligen Feels Like 48 Hours After Treatment- Two days after the infusion, I'm usually back to baseline. I was going to say "normal" but for patients like us, normal has a different meaning, right? (Besides, as Alfred Adler said, "The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well.") So let me put it this way. By the time 2-3 days have past, I'm actually starting to want the drug. My body has already found it to be a cooperative, helping friend, and it misses it. At this point, I'm finding the usual feelings of M.E. returning, my cognitive abilities dimishing, my stamina waning, and all the rest you are more than familiar with. Is it like being addicted to something? No, not at all. I just really, want the Ampligen, because I am convinced it is helping me.

Because today is Thursday, I now have to wait 4 days until my next infusion. But my father-in-law is coming to visit me on Sunday from out of town, specifically to watch the SuperBowl with me, and help me take my mind off my body. It will be fun to see him, fun to watch football with him, and of course, fun to watch him drink one or two too many Coors Lights!

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