By Lindsey Rudibugh
I wanted to dislike you. I believe in supporting local economies; you’re made by a giant corporation with filthy-rich executives. I believe in medicinal herbs and food; you’re a heavily engineered pharmaceutical. I believe healthcare should be accessible to everyone and easy to navigate; you’re shockingly expensive and acquiring you required help from FIVE different agencies. You clash with everything I stand for. I wanted to loathe you.
But Dupixent, I love you. I hope this honeymoon phase never ends, but I know romance fades. Sometimes passion transforms from something generous and joyful to something bitter and angry that gives you a disease. You haven’t been around long, so I’m not confident you’re clean. How do I know you’re not going to give me cancer or blindness or some other side effect?
Never mind, forget my usual habit of borrowing trouble. You’ve given me so much. In January 2022 I was using my rescue inhaler several times a week, coughing constantly, avoiding public speaking because I couldn’t trust my mucus-coated vocal cords to make sound. In February, I couldn’t fall asleep at night and I couldn’t wake up in the morning, couldn’t find the right words or the energy to go for a walk. In March, I felt awkward in every social interaction as my foggy brain forgot basic pleasantries and my deadened nose could only wonder if I had halitosis.
But then…April. You entered my life, entered my subcutaneous fat, and I am a changed woman. I can breathe while eating, walking to the car, kissing my husband. My headache is dulled, my cough on hiatus, and my ears only itch a little. I started jogging for fun and chatting up strangers. I hear music, and like in the before times, I can’t help but dance and belt lyrics like I’m auditioning for Broadway. I walk down the stairs and my coordination has effortlessly returned; no more gripping the railing or counting steps until I’m safely down. I get out of bed and I feel 37, suddenly aware that what I thought 37 felt like is probably closer to 60-something. I look in the mirror and see a nearly forgotten familiar face, one with color in her cheeks. The sight of her squeezes my heart a little. “Hey. I’ve missed you.”
My injection site gets welts for a day or two, and my eyelids swell up for 24 hours, but don’t worry, Dupixent. I’m not even mad about it.
I put pen to paper because I want you to know, you’ve changed me – Physically, obviously, and I can’t overstate my gratitude, but you’ve also changed my perspective on a few things. I went from a health-food-loving, Zumba-teaching dromomaniac who never took so much as Tylenol, to someone dependent on daily meds to maintain basic bodily functions.
All this compromising of my values never provided much return in quality of life…until you, Dupixent. Suddenly, I’m grateful that enough talent and resources have been concentrated in one company to foster innovation as grandiose as biologic drugs. The guilt I’ve been carrying over using so many resources to keep my one life going is lighter – if I can live fully, with energy to contribute to causes I care about, maybe my life is a worthwhile return on the investment of all those resources.
Dupixent, you’ve tempered my black and white views with shades of gray, and the world looks more beautiful because of it.
If you need anything, I’d love to return the favor. Maybe I can help bring down your cost so more people experience your benefits? Persuade your company’s executives to make your formula open source or share profits with employees and patients? I’ll think more about it during yoga today.
Lindsey, diagnosis: NSAID-Exacerbated
Lindsey Rudibaugh co-directs Tenderfoot Learning Lab and serves as Executive Director of Experiential Learning at Ohio University.
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