A Terrible MS Story

In 1989 I had optic neuritis but didn’t see a doctor and the effects went away in about 7 days. In 1990 a friend at work and I participated in the MS bike ride ‘The Best Dam Bike Get Together’ in AZ. The ride was from Phoenix to California. I went the following year also but died going up the last 3 miles of uphill to the Parker Dam.
Then I moved to Long Beach, CA and in 1993 while working on the F-18E/F at Northrop my toes were tingling. By Friday I could not feel anything below my waist. After about 5 months the feelings returned to normal except the balls of my feet felt like they were swollen and hurt to walk on. Naturally I still did what I loved doing, playing basketball but now I stumbled and my legs felt like lead weight strapped to them. They got heavier and heavier the more I played. Soon I realized that playing 8 or 9 games was out. I would be lucky if I could stand after 4 games.
Finally in 2000 I got optic neuritis again and went to a doctor this time. He sent me to a neurologist and the discovered I had MS. Thank God I thought now I know what’s wrong with me. But I was wrong, now I realize what a curse. I am screwed. No more basketball, I’m fortunate if I can even play one game and worst of all I now suck at it and I am from Indiana. I can’t work up a sweat in anything I do because I can’t run and do it. I hit a wall and I am spent.
In 2003 while working at Altus AFB I was coerced into going on the OK MS Bike ride. After 27 miles I couldn’t feel my feet and while going down a hill I was approaching 45 mph I pushed on my peddle to go even faster; however, my numb foot was half out of my toe clip and immediately struck the ground breaking my big toe. Fortunately I had MS and couldn’t feel my feet anyway so I still managed 87 miles that weekend.
I am going on my 15 MS bike ride this year. My last ride I made an all time low of 47 miles but my Son had to push me up the big hills. I now have a recumbent so I am sitting while ridding and I don’t have to get up until I am ready. I found out before leaving Oklahoma that my riding made volunteers and other riders want to participate, I was so pathetic I guess. I figured if that’s what it takes to get MS noticed then so be it. I have a walking stick attached to my bike so when I get off my bike I have help holding myself up at the rest stops. One thing is good about bike riding when one foot goes around the other follows. That helps since one foot goes dead before the other I just never know which one is first.
I did find out one thing about exercising, when you are in shape your muscles don’t give out as easily. It’s always best to be in shape and continue to stay that way because it’s almost impossible to get back in shape when you can’t get there anymore to start with. One reason I left C-17 maintenance was because I fell getting dress in the morning and later that day I was on the wing looking at the leading edge and I was remembering falling and I was actually scared. So I got on my hands and knees and crawled to the edge. Everyone was standing around wondering what was I doing? Well it was 27 feet off the ground I guess.

Now my problems have grown. I am on Abagio and I have more lesions and I can’t run without falling. In fact I can barely walk without tripping. I have a chance to get stem cell therapy but I don’t have $14,900. So close to getting a cure and miles away. I don’t know how long I can still work but my neurologist had two patients get stem cells and she doesn’t see them much anymore, the are cured. I want so bad to be cured after 23 years. MS hasn’t beaten me but it has so worn me down by taking everything I enjoyed away from me including my wife after 23 years. I pray I win the Lottery.

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