Cycling through MS
I am a 62 year old retired geophysicist. I lived and worked overseas with my wife and 3 children. In about 1990, approximately a year after I experienced a severe illness that I chalked up to some form of Flu, I began to notice a slowing of reflexes. Over the next several years, running became more difficult and my runs shorter, a slight foot drop became apparent and I occasionally stumbled over my right leg. I conveniently blamed all of this on the long-term effect of a severe automobile accident I had been involved in in my 20’s.
In about 1993 I began to experience bouts of fatigue which I blamed on third world mega city pollution, but by 1998 I was convinced there was a serious problem and moved back to the US. Within 3 months of returning, I was diagnosed with MS. Within 6 months I was dis-employed and began a consulting business which generally took me back overseas to various developing countries. Working in developing countries has certain advantages but running 3rd world gauntlets can also be quite difficult for someone with MS.
In spite of the recommendations of several neurologists to start a DMD, I found it just wasn’t possible due to the kind of work I did and the places I did it in. Neither did it help that the statistics on the DMD’s available at the time, 1999- 2004, were not overly impressive. I read an article on the disease modifying effects of lipitor for MS so I chose that as my DMD. Between lipitor, amantadine and moderate exercise, I seemed somewhat able to control the MS and its symptoms. In 2005, with my children out of school and on their own, and when I began to notice uncharacteristic omissions in my job performance, I decided it was time to retire.
Upon retirement I began bicycling, 3000 to 5000 miles per year. Although the MS is not gone, as I am aware of a constant underlying deterioration that I do not believe can solely be blamed on the aging process, I have noticed numerous improvements in my condition which have been borne out by recent MRI's. The fatigue has almost completely disappeared and I find that through exercise, frequently strenuous, I am still able to strengthen many formerly weakened physical abilities.
I am still not on any of the DMD's but I do stay abreast of current developments and would not hesitate to get involved in a disease modifying therapy if I was comfortable with the risk/reward ratio. I am becoming increasingly aware that age and MS are a formidable force that will eventually win this battle, however it is my intention to keep doing all that I can as long as humanly possible.
I look forward to watching this site develop. It appears to take an approach to MS information, management and peer involvement which has the potential to add substantially to the living with MS experience and I genuinely appreciate that.
Does your employer provide workplace accommodations due to your MS?