By Amy Jimenez
Thirteen years ago, after the birth of my second child, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS). I remember coming home from the doctor and at first crying. At a time when the excitement – and some of the stress – of our growing family was top-of-mind, I remember feeling an overwhelming sense of fear and anguish after receiving my diagnosis.
Would I be able to care for my family, let alone myself? I could no longer say with certainty that I would be able to watch my children grow up and share in all of life’s little moments so many of us take for granted.
Today, one million people are living with MS in the United States. While our understanding of the causes of MS is limited, research shows that early diagnosis and novel, new disease modifying therapy options are essential in fighting this disease in its earliest stages.
Over the past decade, as my disease has progressed, the medicines I’ve taken have progressed right alongside it. Today, I’m on a medication that was first meant for leukemia patients, but through research, scientists discovered it could help with MS. Without these vital medications, it would be much harder to keep hope alive in fighting this disease. I believe in the promise of scientific breakthroughs and the potential that one of the 29 medicines in development for treating MS will have for my health.
To me, hope is the most important tool to have when fighting a chronic illness. I am hopeful that my small voice can make a big difference! For myself and millions of others, we need to know that there are ground-breaking treatments to help us fight disease and embrace hope for our future. We must not become complacent. We must continue to fight for innovation in medicine, so that we all can be around for life’s little and big moments.
I agree that we must do something to make medicines more affordable. But as Washington debates changes to health care, I’m worried they may jeopardize future innovations for patients who are counting on future breakthroughs.
It is of the utmost importance that policymakers in Washington always keep in mind the experiences of the patients they represent who, like me, are counting on them to help advance the next generation of treatments and cures.
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