Thursday, May 30, 2013

From a wheelchair to running shoes

I'd like to share my journey from disability to what I am today, a happy and energetic person who runs every other day.

My journey started when I was about 13 or 14 years old. I started noticing my body going through changes (other than puberty). I noticed I started getting tired at random times, anywhere from after I woke up to the middle of the day at school. I also noticed my speech was slurred, random body parts feeling numb, and being very forgetful. Every day was a different experience.

Most of the symptoms went away for several years until I was 19. I started having vision problems and experienced the all familiar fatigue again. After the trips to the optometrist, the ophthalmologist, and the neurologist, I learned that I had Multiple Sclerosis

Two years later, I lost feeling from my waist to my feet. I was in a wheelchair for two weeks. I really didn't think I would be able to walk again. Luckily, I was prescribed a high dosage of an aggressive steroid every day for a week and got feeling back in my legs. After that, I was off and on a cane until 2009. I haven't had an issue with my mobility since then.

I started running in the warm winter of December of 2012. I needed a hobby that got me out of the house and wasn't too expensive, running was perfect for me. I would run half a mile twice a week until it got colder in January. My legs started to feel stronger and I felt like I could breath easier and had more energy. When it got warmer outside I started running again. I'm proud to say since March of 2013 I've been consistently running 3-4 times a week with a distance of 1.5 to 5 miles each run. I am grateful to be as healthy as I am, for being an MS patient who has had the disease for almost 17 years. My motivation for running is to run while I still can, and for those who cannot run, or even walk, themselves.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Just checking in.

It's been a while since I last wrote. Life has been crazy these last 5 months. Since then I got a job, had my heat go out, had car problems, had a fire in my home, and got fired from my job. On a good note, my wife graduated from nursing school and is now working at a hospital.

My health has been okay, I've actually never felt better. I took up running as a hobby, I like it. It's one of those hobbies that is cheap since all you really need is a good pair of shoes. I've been consistently running 3-4 times a week. I have a favorite spot I run at in downtown Memphis that is beside the river. Other than the sheer beauty of the Sun setting over the Mississippi River, this park has a lot of other runners that run there too. It also has mothers pushing their children in strollers, people walking their dogs, exercise & yoga groups, as well as the occasional kite flying. I'm actually thinking of running a 5K there next month if I have enough money to attend.

One thing that sucks the most is my air conditioning going out. It has been hot lately in my house, sometimes in the mid 80s. I have a box fan and portable a/c to help cool me and my wife off temporarily until we get our cooling fixed. My face has been becoming numb because of the heat, but other than that I feel okay. As long as my legs don't become numb again I'll be happy.

The job I had was being a copier technician. I learned how copiers worked and also I learned how to put them together and troubleshoot problems. I met some nice people there. The main purpose for working that job was to support my wife long enough until she graduated nursing school, but the more and more I learned how to do my job the more I liked it up until the day I got fired. I was not very dependable due to my car breaking down so much and having to miss work. Every so often it would shut down and not start back up for hours or even days. Each time me and my father worked on that vehicle and replaced parts it would eventually die on me again. I really had no other vehicle I could drive since my wife drove my SUV to school, sometimes she had to drop me off work and pick me up after I was done which used a lot of gas that we didn't have much money for.

Although I truly understood why I was fired, I was not prepared for it. But at least at that time my wife finished school and I was able to attend her graduation. Now that she is working, I can find an easier and less stressful job to do. I won't have to slave away to work a backbreaking, dirty job in order to live the bare minimum for bills, food, and gas only. But I guess I could say that I'm lucky enough to be able bodied to be in the work force compared to most MS patients.

I haven't seen a neurologist in a long time, not that I'm relapsing or anything. My current one is just a doctor to have in my back pocket in case I have a really bad exacerbation. He's one of those doctors that will rush you out if he can unless you have something serious going on. Once my wife gets health insurance from her job, shes going to add me onto it. When that happens I'm going to see a MS specialist I found that practices right here in Memphis. It will be good to have a doctor again that understands or actually gives a crap about me.

Life looks like its going to get better now that the hard parts are over. I think my next goal is to make life happier and easier. I may just find a part time job, so that I have more time to take care of the house and pets, and also have more time to do my favorite hobbies. More free time for being outdoors, going to concerts, and exercise. I may even join a running group to make new friends. The possibilities are endless.