Best Day EVER!
I've been in a funk - a very funky funk. But today, the first genetic therapy drug for my mutation of cystic fibrosis was approved, and I think I've broken free.
Never before have I experienced such nauseating, debilitating anxiety as I have these past two weeks. I cannot name the root of my nerves, and believe me, I wish I could. It feels impossible to fix yourself when you don't know why you're broken. But today, I felt as if I was slapped in the face by the mane of a unicorn made out of gummy bears.
Guys . . . Orkambi is here.
We'll skip over the complicated scientific explanation of what Orkambi will do for roughly 8,500 Americans (those with the double delta F508 mutation who are over the age of 12) and get right to the good stuff. In clinical trials, patients taking Orkambi gained 3% lung function over time. This may not seem like a lot, but it is important to understand that cystic fibrosis is a progressive disease. This means that it only gets worse. Any improvement at all is, quite literally, a contradiction of the disease itself! And while some patients did not see any lung improvement, they saw a significantly slower decline. On top of that, patients in the trial had an easier time keeping weight on, which significantly aids to lung function as well.
Right now, people with CF are skydiving without parachutes - once the disease hits its breaking point (and this happens at a different age for everybody), our plummets are fast and unavoidable. Orkambi is our parachute. Orkambi can slow us down. Orkambi can save us.
Now, I won't pretend that Orkambi has worked/will work for everyone. Different people react differently. But the results are there. The science is there. And where there is hope, there is life. Dum spiro spero.
I just want to take this moment to thank everyone for their support. I want to thank you (yes, you!), the human who is reading this sentence. Together, we bought this drug. When the government refused to help us, we payed the scientists to do their jobs. We gritted our teeth and went door-to-door. We sold t-shirts, baked goods, and purple ribbons. We walked mile after mile, year after year, shouting to anyone who would listen that someday, CF would stand for "Cure Found." And no, this is not a cure. But it's the closest thing to a cure that any of us has ever seen, and that is something worth celebrating.