The Bitter

We have a 17 year old female Siamese cat. She rules the house, dictating many of our activities. Age comes with more medical issues and cats experience this too. Arthritis is Gucia’s problem and she has been licking all her joints, in an effort to ease the pain, to the extent most of them are now bald. As she is a cat, painkillers have a negative impact on her kidneys, so pain relief comes with a further physical cost. This is something people living with MS are familiar with.

This morning we brought her to the vet, to get a blood test – to check her kidneys, and to discuss the plan ahead. Fortunately her kidney and liver function is good. We like to think it is because we give her a varied and cat suitable diet. Some raw and cooked meat, along with more traditional cat food. Variety is the key. After talking about all the options we have decided to give daily pain relief, and to monitor her kidneys, just in case there is some damage caused by using this medicine. This will be a holding pattern, as there is a new arthritis medicine, which is being used for dogs, that will be available later this year, we hope.

At least she will not suffer. Her Quality of Life will improve, better sleep, and more enjoyment.

The Sweet

In contrast to this, I will be graduating as an EUPATI Fellow this evening. I started this course, to become a better Patient Advocate, in late 2019. 18 months later, after learning all about the process of developing a new therapy or medicine. It has been very interesting, learning all about things like HTA’s and pharmacovigilance. After starting this course I was fortunate to become part of IPPOSI, sitting on the EUPATI National Platform committee.

This has led me into doing work with HSE on new policies, helping to design new apps which will make the patient experience easier and encouraging me to become a stronger voice for inclusion of patients in research. This learning has, I am sure, contributed to the COB-MS trial winning an award for PPI Excellence and to me giving a keynote speech tomorrow at the 6th Annual PPI Ignite Conference.

That’s Life, I Guess

It just shows you how life is full of contrasts. Good and bad can happen at almost the same time. My choice is to accept the bad, manage it as best I can, and to bask in the sunlight of the good. This works for me. Interestingly, the EUPATI training was hard, learning so many things. It was a challenge, but from this challenge I have emerged to being an EUPATI Fellow. My point is, out of hardship, or adversity, great things can emerge.

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