You might have to poison me (now that I'm not doing it myself, I mean)

by Michael S. Kaplan, published on 2008/07/20 19:59 -04:00, original URI:

Starts off with a little that is technical, but like MS it degenerates quickly...

For years when all of the custom culture/custom locale work was happening, there were two big stock scenarios:

Now the second scenario might have been the most compelling to some people working on the project, but to be honest I never really bought into it that much. If a corporation wants to require a 24-hour clock they'll do it with enforced group policy or other methods even more draconian, not with an optional locale choice.

I was always a much bigger fan of the fj-FJ scenario. It was even a fun bit in public presentations about how Microsoft still hasn't approved the funding to send me to Fiji to do the locale research (I'd have to stay a whole year to see how the calendar played out!).

Then after all political unrest like the coup in 2005 followed by another in 2006 and stories in the news around that time, there were two interesting mail threads that went around.

One was about how perhaps we should not use fj-FJ for our custom culture example, in case any Fijian nationals took offense (since none was intended). and people kind of talked about that for a bit.

The other was a thread that someone forwarded to me, some folks who suggested that "Michael ought to try to get approval for that Fiji trip, he might it get if there is political unrest there." It took on a life of its own with one person saying they might be willing to fund the trip if Microsoft wouldn't (provided the ticket were one-way).

That person is not my best friend, obviously. Knowing they felt that wa was not news though knowing they shared their own form of poison was, a little.

The whole thing had that feel of the scene in Good Morning Vietnam when Sergeant Major Dickerson, upon finding that a particular road was consider unsafe and in "enemy hands" chooses to approve a travel pass through the area for Adrian Cronauer. You know -- give the person what they want if doing so gets them out of the way on a less temporary basis.

Maybe we should send some people to Guam? :-)

Anyway I was thinking about this again recently due to an unusually large number of emails I have received via the Contact Link asking about what is going on with me and Novantrone. Like one from Bill:

It has been some time since your last blog entry about Novantrone. Any updates? Any recommendations?

And then some actually go into some really negative details (possibly about the drug) like the one from Casssandra:

I see that you have been researching Novantrone. I am in a really big mess because after taking copaxone for 5 yrs had worsened & took my first dose of Novantrone, while quitting copaxone abruptly. I have a lot of drug sensitivities so it's not always easy for me to take meds. Anyway within less than 1 wk have lost 50% of my leg strength and now after more than 10 days have lost 75% of my leg stength. Extreme fatigue & cannot do hardly anything. Bad leg pain too and flank pain with exacerbation of my ms symptoms. Hospital does not know what to say as no one has had this problem. On all internet articles, blogs, etc. I just see people saying wonderful things about this med. Can you give me a reference for these types of problems? I apologize and rarely surf the net for my ms symptoms but have done so extensively in the last few days because this is just not normal. Had tried to be patient the first week but now can no loger do so. Thanks if you are out there.

Or the one from Sonya:

I realize you don't know me from Adam's house cat, so I appreciate in advance your taking the time to read this.

Please talk extensively to your neurologist about the latest known risks of AML before taking Novantrone. My best friend was diagnosed with AML less than 2 weeks ago and unfortunately passed away of a brain hemorrhage last night. I am grieving and wanting others to know about the risks of AML before taking this drug.

Incidents of AML have become more prevalent recently in MS patients treated with Novantrone according to my friend's most recent treating physician. I am glad that you know to ask your doctor about the risks before taking it. Michael, my friend, was never informed of the risks. He had it administered by a physician, never saw the 2005 warning on any label (since he never saw the label), and was only informed of the heart-related risks. He swore to me before he died (while thinking he had 6 months to live IF he could handle the chemo) that he never would have taken it had he known the risks of AML. He had been a successful anesthesiologist until 2002 before his MS had progressed to the point that he could not work.

I apologize if this seems morbid, shocking, or in any other way less than positive. I just want to send a message to those with MS to understand the risks of AML before taking Novantrone.

I wish you the very best of luck in finding a safe and effective treatment and a cure in the very near future.

This is definitely not a drug to be taken lightly. One is literally poisoning oneself.

I wonder what the Hebrew word is for poison, and what it looks like in the reflexive form -- maybe I could use that word to describe taking Novantrone!

If memory serves, it was Seneca who asked

Could anything be more foolish than to despise death and be afraid of poison?

Though I don't think Novantrone is really the kind of pois ion Seneca had in mind (Novantrone positions itself as a "therapeutic" poison).

Since that first blog on the subject 'Our move. What do you think?' I asked. 'Napalm' she said., several people have been following my usage of Novantrone, up to my decision to put it on hold after using just half of the maximum lifetime doses (as described in Driving myself to a vacation from napalm).

It wasn't that Novantrone wasn't helping  -- it was. It did, clearing out many of my transient symptoms and leaving just the permanent ones due to scar. It was like hitting something of a reset button on my MS, one I doubt that more invasive/involved therapies like those involving stem cell research, could improve upon (what with all of my current symptoms being presumably based on permanent deficits).

It was just that I really didn't see it doing much more good at the moment. And if you are going to take poison then it is best to not take it once you think it isn't going to do as much as good any more.

But I'm doing okay, no new positive or negative turns, no apparent problems related to Novantrone coming up to haunt me.

Which is kind of the main reason there haven't been any MS updates lately -- because there has been no change in the situation.

For the Novantrone question in particular, I'll point out If the Novantrone juice isn't worth the squeeze..., a blog that kind of says it all for the moment.


This post brought to you by  (U+b3c5, a.k.a. HANGUL SYLLABLE TIKEUT OKIYEOK)

# Liron Newman on 21 Jul 2008 4:18 AM:

The Hebrew word for poison is רעל - ra'al (noun) or להרעיל - lehar'il (verb - "to poison").

There is no verb for poisoning oneself but maybe you could make one using the "hitpa'el" structure that's sometimes used for the reflexive form  - להתרעל - lehitra'el, so "He poisioned himself" = "הוא התרעל" (hu hitra'el)

Though IMO most Hebrew speakers wouldn't understand it as "to poison oneself". Sorry. :)

Good luck!

# John Cowan on 21 Jul 2008 8:10 AM:

"Mithridates, he died old."  Best of luck.

geof fbaker on 24 Oct 2008 8:47 PM:

Some very intresting ideas and comments.

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