I have not chosen to bore people by whining about every ache and pain of my 62 year old body on my Journal/Blog
, but a major problem has been gradually developing over the course of about the last 3 years that can no longer be ignored, because it has forced a major change in lifestyle on me.
I have developed a gradual nerve deterioration (motor neuropathy) in my legs, which is accompanied by muscular atrophy/spasticity. The first symptoms were general clumsiness and a number of trips/falls. At first I thought this was related to balance issues, but it turns out to be more related to incoordination of my legs, particularly my right leg.
Although the onset of this has been verrrry gradual, it started getting noticeably more severe in the autumn of 2005. I was very grateful to have made it through the run of the Christmas Revels without falling down on stage. Since then the condition has worsened, and I'm now just barely able to walk without assistance.
I haven't been able to ride a bike since early September, 2006 though I can still ride my Greenspeed trike
, very slowly. Getting on and off and getting clipped in to the pedals is a bit of a challenge.
I've been seeing neurologists since October, 2005 (I'm currently on neurologist #4.) I have had 11 MRIs, one CT scan, two needle EMG tests, a nerve conduction test, several different evoked response EEGs, three lumbar punctures (spinal taps), 3 Lyme Disease tests, and a muscle biopsy.
I've been treated with Prednisone (steroid) and IV immunoglobulin. The Prednisone helped a bit, for a while. The immunoglobulin did nothing for me.
The worst for me was February 2006, when I was very much afraid that it was ALS ("Lou Gehrig's Disease".) Fortunately, the needle EMG and the fact that the symptoms are confined to my legs see to have pretty much eliminated that as a possibility.
I finally got a fairly definitive diagnosis in August of 2007. My problem is almost certainly multiple sclerosis, of the fairly uncommon "primary-progressive" variety.
I really don't mean to be gloomy.
In most ways my life is a dream: after 27 years of marriage, my wife and I are still very much in love.
We've got two great kids, both of whom are doing well in graduate school and appear to be on track toward happy, productive, independent lives.
We live in a comfortable house in a safe neighborhood. I have work that I love and a kind, understanding boss who values my contribution, even though it mostly comes over the computer keyboard these days, sometimes at the shop, more often from my home.
My condition is a major inconvenience, but doesn't appear to be life-threatening, and there is no pain involved, so I really consider myself a very fortunate person in general.
MS isn't all that bad, at least not my case. See my Web page on: