Today is the last day of August, which means it’s the last day of Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month, the last day I need to feel guilty about consuming pumpkin spice flavored products, and the last day of the eighth month of 2020— the year that seriously NEVER FUCKING ENDS.
As I write this, I’m sipping on a Starbucks pumpkin spice latte that was dropped off at my door by a mask-wearing friend— a drink that I re-heated before consuming with my own straw (because COVID, duh). My guilt about enjoying this autumnal beverage is now at a very low level. I love pumpkin spice and I’m not afraid to admit that considering I’m less than 24 hours away from turning the calendar into a month that ends in “-ber.”
Reflecting back on August, and the summer as a whole, I’m just glad to get this season behind me. It’s been long. It takes a lot of emotional bandwidth to be a very high-risk person during a global pandemic. To have to sequester yourself in your home for months at a time (with no end in sight) because the virus is so tricky, and not enough people in the nation, and in the community, are taking this risk seriously. To know that if you get COVID19, it will probably kill you. To know all of those things, but still try to keep a routine, and stay as safe as you can. It’s a lot to juggle.
Those of us with SMA are often expert jugglers, thankfully. It’s something that Spinal Muscular Atrophy Awareness Month should definitely highlight— which it really doesn’t. We can balance home, school, work, medical, and care attendant schedules so efficiently that often people don’t even see us doing it. We’re like ninjas. Crippled ninjas with great organizational skills. Yet, oddly, society often mistakenly thinks disabled people like me don’t have anything to do. That we sit at home all day watching reality television shows and FoxNews. Which is weird. If I wanted to do that, I’d just be President of the United States.
This August has also been hot. And smoky. Having a disability that impacts your respiratory system isn’t ideal when a giant wildfire is burning just a couple dozen miles from your house. The apocalyptic ash falling from the reddened sky is not a great visual for a year that has already turned into a real-life Hunger Games.
Thankfully, the summer did have some bright spots. I got my 13th Spinraza injection at the end of June— which was the first time I had really ventured out of my house since March. The injection went smoothly and it was comforting to be in a place where people weren’t whining about wearing masks like little assholes.
The summer brought more good news on the SMA front— the FDA approved another treatment for my condition. It’s called Evrysdi, which unfortunately sounds more like the name of a magical elf from Lord of the Rings than it does a medication. I suppose it really doesn’t matter what the name is… just as long as they don’t manufacture it in a tree. Evrysdi is an oral suspension drug taken daily, unlike Spinraza which is administered via intrathecal lumbar injection every 16 weeks.
I’m excited that there is now another option available for our SMA community. Just five years ago, I never would have imagined that this would be the case. I never would have thought that pharmaceutical researchers would have bothered to take the time, or use the resources, to develop one, let alone THREE treatments for SMA. The third being Zolgensma— a gene therapy for infants up to 2. (No offense to the Zolgensma people, but your drug name sounds like a StarTrek villain that wants to destroy the universe with a laser. #SorryNotSorry)
Note: I should probably add at this point that I am available to any pharmaceutical companies out there that need help coming up with names for your future SMA drugs. It might save you considerable headache if you just ask me first. Because I will make fun of the name. I just can’t help myself. Just like I can’t help myself from imagining that Spinraza was the name of a 1920’s showgirl that waved around a 6-foot feather boa.
Anyway, that’s it for now. I think it’s best to wrap this up because I’m getting down to the bottom of my pumpkin spice latte. And it will take all of my concentration to slurp up the last orangey bits of nutmeg swimming at the bottom.
So, with that said… Cheers to all of you. xoxo