Houston, we have a problem. Tysabri Mission aborted. We've experienced technical difficulties.
Twenty-four hours before I am scheduled to receive my first Tysabri infusion at Dr. She Who Will Not Be Named office, a question arises about my B-cell count (or potential lack of it) secondary to my participation in the RRMS Rituxan Study. The neurologist overseeing this study suggests I get a B-cell count just to make sure my cells are swimming normally in my immune system pool.
So, as I am rushing around to get to work on time, I fire off one of my usual witty emails to Dr. SWWNBN and forward the email I have received moments earlier from the "other" neurologist, while poo pooing her concerns. I receive a not-so-witty email back from Dr. SWWNBN telling me, "bad news. Tysabri infusion is canceled because we don't have the drug yet".
"What?!?", I cry out in vain. "How can this be so? I have prepared myself for this infusion to happen and worked to get it into my schedule with as little disruption as possible. What in Heaven's SNAFU(Situation Normal: All F**ked Up) could be the problem?"
Unfortunately, I don't have the time in my day to investigate this problem at the moment, so I shuffle to my car (my calves are still bothering me) and just accept it for the time being...it's what we highly flexible and adaptive people do. LOL
On my short drive to work, my cell phone rings and it is a case manager from Biogen Idec/MS Active Source (who I shall hence forth refer to as Tysabri Dude) wanting to confirm my consent forms and read me yet more information from the Tysabri "peeps" bible. I'm not one who's keen on driving and gabbing, but I allowed Tysabri Dude to yack in my ear because I know his call is just a formality.
What I hadn't planned on hearing from Tysabri Dude was the fact my insurance company had yet to be CONTACTED by anyone for insurance authorization for this liquid gold!!!
"What?", I yell out to no one in particular. "How can this be so? (anyone else seeing a theme here?) Less than half an hour ago I was scheduled to be infused tomorrow...now you're saying no one really authorized this?"
Tysabri Dude now sounds a bit tense and uncomfortable...perhaps he fears I might now run off the road and die in a car accident, thus causing Biogen Idec and the Touch Registry Program to have to add "death by auto accident" right next to "possibility of developing PML" on their warning label.
Tysabri Dude then tells me this final step of authorization could take days or even weeks to finalize. I flippantly tell him I could be dead or in a wheel chair (even worse) by the time everyone has jumped through the multi-level circus hoops required just to get my hands on a bag of his liquid gold...he continues reading from his pre-scripted lines without flinching.
The ten minute call turned 25 minute nightmare (I originally agreed to listen to Tysabri Dude while driving because he assured me the call would only take "about 10 minutes") ends with me listening to a pre-recorded script of some woman reading the same information I have now reviewed and/or signed off on understanding at least 5 times...OK, I'll admit it. I actually laid the phone down while the recording was spewing, but knew better than to end the call prematurely just in case they could tell if I REALLY didn't stay on the line for the entire broadcast. I'm somewhat compliant...sometimes.
I had initially been told gaining my insurance company's authorization wouldn't be a problem because they would only require me to show I "failed" (Insurance conglomerate wording, not the Tysabri Touch Program requirement...just for clarification) on the other less expensive ABC drugs...and for all practical purposes, I DID "fail" on Copaxone and Avonex. Well actually, those drugs "failed" me in reality...semantics.
So, I'm now stuck waiting on the launch pad. I've been grounded for the time being. I'm awaiting Houston's OK to blast off with Tysabri.
Sure hope my insulating foam hangs tight while I wait...wouldn't want another Challenger incident...don't really want another relapse in the interim either...