Why I Still Ride but in a Recumbent
Multiple Sclerosis started for me in a good way by riding in the M.S. Bike Ride in 1990 from Phoenix to Parker Dam California. It was a great ride for M.S. and to honor my great aunt who had M.S. and was stuck in a wheel chair for 20 years. I rode again in 1991 it was called The Best Dam Bike Get Together and we met the Las Vegas people at Parker Dam. It was fun and I rode all 150 miles.
In February 1993 I was designing the lower F-18EF at Northrop. I got to work Monday Morning February 1 and sat down at my Unigraphics workstation and noticed my toes tingling. Similar to when you sit with your legs crossed on the floor for too long and then get up and the blood flowing back into your feet tingles. My feet tingled all day and it was difficult to concentrate on work. The next day the tingling was replaced with numbness in my toes but my feet tingled. Very weird. On Wednesday my ankles tingled and my feet were numb and toes dead. On Friday it was raining when we got out of the car so we ran to the gate. I could not feel the ground I was stepping on and I could only feel me running by the jarring of my head. I was now officially concerned. I went to my Fiancés doctor and he ran a bunch of test but could not find anything wrong with me. By May the numbness was mostly gone but the bottoms of my feet felt like there were rocks in my shoes behind my toes. The more I walked the larger the rocks grew. I hated going on walks, something my Fiancé and I really enjoyed doing. In July I was married and still working in California but my feet had not improved. I had an MRI on my spine and was diagnosed with a pinched nerve in my back. Quack! For the next 8 years I stayed away from shopping centers because parking was always a problem and so was all the walking I would have to do in the stores.
In September of 2000 my eye was sore and I went to a optometrist. He suggested tests at a neurologist office. The test came back positive for Multiple Sclerosis. I was happy to finally know what was going on. I was the put on Betaseron and I started on 1-3-01. My family has since accepted the fact that I don’t like to go anywhere after work. While working in Oklahoma I decided to go on another MS Ride. I made it 27 miles before my foot slipped off the peddle and I broke my big toe. That ended the day however I rode 50 more miles the next day. The following year I made 89 miles. I use to work in Altus on C-17 product support. After I had fallen at home picking up socks I dropped I found myself at work standing 23 feet off the ground on the wings leading edge. I crawled out to the edge while everyone stood on the edge and wondered why I was crawling. I loved that job but I changed jobs and went to Indiana to work on helicopters. I rode in Indiana there but was left on the road after my legs gave out so I didn’t ride in Indiana again. I rode again in Oklahoma three more times and made 89 miles 102 miles and 96 miles. I rode in Georgia two years ago and made 69 miles and again the year after but only made 43 miles. My chain broke on my Recumbent so I only got 5 miles and the fixit guy didn’t have a spare part. An all time low. To bad since I had been riding almost 20 miles on the weekends. My miles are dropping as well as my endurance. Yes I am working at Robins AFB so now Georgia is my home.
My basketball has deteriorated in a similar way. It’s what I like to do to stay in shape, play ball. I use to be able to play 8 full court games of basketball. I weighed 180 pounds and was in great shape. By the time I lived in Altus I could barely get 4 games in before I could not walk out of the gym. I weight about 195 pounds by then. Now if I can play one game it would be a miracle.
I would like this not to be the last time I will be able to make this effort and I am inclined to not let any stone go unturned to get some donations. I can’t tell you how much I’d like to play tennis with my kids and basketball. By the end of the day I can barely pick up my feet. I’m beginning to feel like a slug. My wife wants to go on walks all the time, she tends to forget I’ll get a quarter of the way around the block and then I want to turn around. Then she notices things are not getting better. I don’t dream of a cure but my family does so I am obliged to agree even when I have little hope. Next year I have a team Sue, and Jeff and maybe Wendy and Sarah will join us or at least volunteer. We are The Incredibles.
We are ready for a cure so we are just waiting for a cure to be ready for us.