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Life Continues

A couple of years ago I noticed that I was having some troubles walking. It wasn't anything really serious, just that my legs felt a little weak, stiff and I had no stamina. I started having some back problems, nothing really bad, just every now and then the base of my back would feel stiff.

Then this late spring when I was seeing my doctor for my yearly check-up I told him how I was having problems walking. I was taking statins at that time because I had high cholesterol. One of the side effects of statins is that can make it difficult to move your legs. I stopped taking the statins and I did start feeling a little better but I still had difficulties.

One day I decided to ride my bike to work. The ride is about seven miles along the Platte River. I live in the Denver Metro Area and the engineering company for which I work is located on the north side of Mile High Stadium. The stadium used to be Sports Authority Field at Mile High but Sports Authority went bankrupt and nobody else has tried to buy the naming rights. It wasn't a long ride but my legs felt like cooked spaghetti when I got to the office and I had to ask a friend of mine to give me a ride home.

The tiredness felt really strange. My legs were tired but my lungs felt fine. Usually, when I exercise and get tired my lungs are burning, like I can't draw enough oxygen into my blood and I can't expel enough carbon dioxide but my lungs didn't feel that way at all and I could barely stand on me feet.

I had a follow-up appointment with my doctor, and I let him know that I was still having problems with my legs. The doctor told me he would give me a referral to see a neurologist and when I was leaving his office my doctor asked me "Does your family have a history of multiple sclerosis?"

My parents are both health professionals. My dad is a retired dentist and my mom is a retired nursing professor. In fact, had my mother been born ten years later she probably would have gone to medical school and become a doctor. She got her RN in the mid-1950's and when she took her state board exam, she scored the highest that anybody had ever scored up until that time. I tell you all of this so you understand that I know enough about medicine to be really dangerous and I could make a really good hypochondriac, so being asked about a possibility of multiple sclerosis was enough to put my imagination into overdrive. Luckily my better sense prevailed and I stayed away from the internet.

I made an appointment with the recommended neurologist as soon as I possibly could but I still had to wait three weeks before I could see him. When I did see him, after he examined me, he told me that the problems I had with my legs were neurological in nature and I needed to have MRI's of my spine and brain stem to be properly diagnosed. I told the neurologist about my doctor's question about multiple-sclerosis. The neurologist' reaction was rather sympathetic, but then he asked me,"So do you have a family history of multiple sclerosis?"

By the way, the answer to that question is "No." I don't know of any family members that have had multiple sclerosis, past or present, but there is approximately one-quarter of my relatives that I know nothing about them.

I was able to get the MRI's scheduled about a week and a half after I saw the neurologist and then I was able to see the neurologist for my diagnosis. I had fears of things like tumors on my spinal column or brain stem. When I was leaving the office to see my neurologist one of my coworkers hoped that I would get good news from the neurologist. I had to say that was I wasn't going to get any good news, I knew the problem was neurological in nature, and the best that could happen was going to be bad news (something with which I couldn't change but could live my life) and the worst that could happen could be something fatal in nature.

When I got to my appointment with the neurologist, he told me that I had multiple sclerosis. That wasn't as bad as I feared, but it still wasn't good. I was started on a muscle relaxer right away, and I am going to see a multiple sclerosis specialist that will prescribe medications specifically for me.

Now you might think that with this diagnosis that I was having one of the worst days of my life but the truth is that this day didn't even come close to being in my top ten worst days of my life. I am not going to give you a list of those days, but I will say that the very worst day of my life was also a very bad day for several people here on Stories Space.

Several years ago a very good friend of mine had bone-marrow cancer. He had to have his immune system burnt-out and live in a bubble for his chemotherapy. When he started his chemotherapy, I would say to myself everyday "I could be dead in ten minutes but it is a beautiful day and I will enjoy it."

Life is too short not to enjoy your life. I am not going to waist my precious and limited time feeling sorry for myself. I have what I consider a little inconvenience and my life continues.

Life is beautiful, live for the moment and appreciate what you do have.

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