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My Rituxan Experience

I want to share a piece of my journey with you, a journey that has been significantly altered by one little bottle of Rituxan. That bottle might not look like much! But it's been my lifeline for the past three years in the ongoing battle against neuromyelitis optica (NMO). Let's talk NMO and starting Rituxan.

Fearing my next relapse

Before I dive into the nitty-gritty of my Rituxan experience, let's rewind to a time when I hadn't even heard of this medication. I was taking immunosuppressant tablets. I was living in fear of the next relapse.

NMO had me in its clutches, and I felt powerless against it. I did eventually have a relapse. It wasn't as bad as I'd imagined it would be, but it was time for a new medication.

NMO and starting Rituxan

That's when my neurologist introduced me to Rituxan. The idea of a new treatment filled me with hope, but I'd be lying if  said I wasn't a bit nervous. I'd heard stories of side effects, but I knew I just had to give Rituxan a go.

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The day of my first infusion was an emotional rollercoaster. As the IV tube slowly dripped the translucent fluid into my veins, I couldn't help but wonder if this was going to be the game-changer I needed.

Rituxan side effects

I'm not going to sugar-coat the side effects. The immediate aftermath of the infusion left me with a pounding headache. It felt as if my head was hosting its personal fireworks show, but without the festive fun. I was told that headaches were a common side effect. That didn't make it any less uncomfortable.

And then there was the relentless cold that seemed to grip my bones. Even though I was bundled up in layers, I shivered and shivered. I was convinced I'd never feel warm again.

But perhaps the most challenging side effect was the overwhelming fatigue. It wasn't just tiredness. It was the kind of weariness that seeped into my very soul. For the first week or so, I felt like a deflated balloon. Simple tasks became monumental challenges. All I could think of was crawling back into bed and giving in to the exhaustion.

Despite these obstacles, the silver lining was the gradual realization that these side effects were temporary. And now that I know what to expect, they don't feel as bad.

Free from NMO relapses

Fast forward to today, three years later, and I'm thrilled to report that Rituxan has been my faithful companion in keeping NMO at bay. Knock on wood, but I haven't experienced a single relapse since I started this treatment.  The emotional and physical burdens of relapses have been lifted. They've been replaced by a sense of hope and optimism.

Rituxan has not only saved me from relapses. It has given me my independence and confidence back. I can now make plans and commitments without that nagging fear in the back of my mind. No more cancelling on friends, no more missing out on life's little adventures – I'm free to live life on my terms.

Gratitude for the right treatment

As I sit here writing this, I can't help but feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Rituxan has not only given me my life back. It has gifted me the chance to dream again. These relapse-free years have allowed me to throw myself into travel blogging. I'm having so much fun!

So, to all my fellow NMO warriors out there who might be thinking about Rituxan – I understand your fear, your reservations, and your hesitations. But I also want to assure you that the journey can be worth it. The side effects may be challenging, but they should be temporary. And the rewards for me have been fantastic. Be sure to speak to your doctor about what is best for you.

Don't let NMO define you. With the right treatment (for you, it might not be Rituxan!) and the support of those around you, you can overcome challenges that come your way.

Here's to many more relapse-free years, and to the little bottle of Rituxan that became my lifeline.

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Treatment results and side effects can vary from person to person. This treatment information is not meant to replace professional medical advice. Talk to your doctor about what to expect before starting and while taking any treatment.
This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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