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In The Beginning

The adventure began in 1987. I was having a problem with the sight in my left eye. The vision was fine straight ahead but was darker and blured around the edges. I visited an optomotris. He diagnosed the condition as Optic Neuritis and refered me that day to a neurologist.

A number of tests were run and several more scheduled. The neurologist, I call him Dr. PeaBrain, said it could be almost anything but he was looking for a brain tumor. This out-of-the-blue remark was not well received by my wife who happened to be pregnaunt with our daughter.

I had my first MRI and Dr. PeaBrain performed a spinal tap. (He was not very good, getting my fluid on him, the nurse, the floor and even the wall.) After all the test results were complete, my neuro wizard said, 'I think you probably have MS." Our question then was "What do we do now?' His response was, 'Not much. Go home and live your life." To the betterment of mankind, Dr. PeaBrain now herds goats somewhere in Wyoming.

We got conformation of the diagnosis and met some very good neurologists, the best of them I use now. I was classiflied as relapsing-remitting. For 9 years I had occasional exhaserbations which took away a little more each time. In 1996 I was forced to leave the work force on total disability (and that's another story, Leaving Work ).

Email, after leaving work

The following was an Email I sent to a friend just after I had to leave the work force due to progressing problems.

Dear John Doe,

As you can see from my E-mails of the last few days, things they are a changing. It was kinda fast but I couldn't dance anyway.

NOW, it is your turn. How about some details. You can always write a little then come back later to finish it. I should have this account for a few weeks and I am trying to get a freebie by then. If your messages bounces, send it snail mail.

For a little more detail on me, it ain't so bad. For the last few weeks I have really been physically crawling the floor. I haven't been able to work more than 2-3 hours a day. Been keeping up by working long hours at home, at a cost too high to maintain. Thought I was having an exacerbation.

They did another MRI but found no 'major' new activity (Hurrah!). My doc said I was just totally exhausted (Boo!). He said in his official but kindly tone, Gary, you can't keep working two jobs. Are you ready to stop now? I thought, 'what the hell'.

The doc said I should have been on disability five years ago. He said my pace at my disease level would have put most into the hospital. (Bless him.) Becky said she didn't think I would have worked more than 2-3 more years anyway. (Damn, I was the last to know again.)

The life adjustment will be a trick but Becky is starting to tingle with excitement. She has a message pad for me to record her phone calls. She bought me a Healthy Cooking cook book. My automated office To Do List has in a matter of days turned into a 'Chore Chart'. This morning Becky gave me a list of ladies to call and remind them of this weekend's investment club meeting. BUT, I'm getting her back. I called her at work to tell her to sop and get a gallon of milk on her way home, dear.

I don't know about the kids yet. They do like my cooking better but they ain't so sure about Dad's rules of running the house. I think Sean is looking forward to spending more quality time with me (and so am I). Meredith hasn't made up her mind about Dad not working, but she sure has been sweet to me.

I will say that home adventures have already started and I can see many a great tale coming along. For example, Check our cat and Zac our dog seem to have it in for each other. Today Zac ate all the cat food and then Check got one of Meredith's dirty socks and dropped it into Zac's water bowl.

The jury is still out on how I am going to do. Not doing high tech and not being under mountains of pressure (business pressure) is something I have never experienced. Becky is a little worried that I will get depressed, stop bathing & showering and just watch Opra Winfrey. But I really don't feel that way. There are so many things I want to know that have nothing to do with business and I wasn't kidding about spending time with grade school kids. I think the real problem I will have is finding the time to do those household chores. AND if I find a way to keep my ISDN Internet connection, then PaPa's gonna be happy.

Prospects for the future are unknown but we are doing the right things. I am taking all the latest drugs and my doctor is top of the line for MS. By cutting back we have improved my chances of reducing exacerbations. With people who have the relapsing-remitting type of MS, me, the disease 'typically' settles down in the mid to late 40's. I have medical insurance through Becky and my dog loves me. Now, if I can keep Becky away from my kitchen and get Meredith to start picking up her room, we will be cooking with gas.

Well, I am tired now. So I think I will eat a Bon-Bon, pop a jellybean and take a nap (BEFORE Becky gets back from running). The doc man said it would take me a couple of weeks to get my energy back up to a coherent speech level.

Just in case you are interested I am including an article I found on MS fatigue describing it better than any I have read. It depressed Becky but I thought it was great. For me, understanding a problem makes it easier handle. So I saw the article as real positive. It sometimes surprises me how Becky and I can see things so differently. Your thoughts about it would be fun to hear. Anyway, you don't really have to read it. You will not be tested.

I am serious about hearing details from you. See Ya,