It was 11 years ago but I remember it as clear as day. I was sitting across from a guy named Dan having a networking meeting. All of a sudden I couldn’t speak or move and felt like I’d been shot with a tranquilizer gun. That was my first experience with cognitive dysfunction as a result of having multiple sclerosis. At the time I had no idea I had multiple sclerosis and didn’t even realize there was anything wrong with me. Or did I? Dan just stared at me not knowing what to do. After I escorted him out of the door I began to think about the bouts of fatigue I had been going through. I had just turned 40, purchased a new house and continued to work my 70 plus hour a week job.
I went to see a doctor in Middletown N.J. I hadn’t been to the doctor in years and was completely annoyed that I had to take time out of my day to do this. “You’re 40 now and working a tremendous amount of hours” the doctor said. “You should probably loose some weight and try to reduce your stress.” That was the docs final opinion. As the years progressed I found myself in quite a bit of pain, constantly struggling to stay awake and even clumsily falling at work. These bouts would last for days and weeks at times but then go away for a month.
I had spent my career in the heating and air conditioning business in sales, management and consulting. As the years went on my income declined. I just couldn’t function to get through a day. After a stint in the hospital and two years of being misdiagnosed with Epstein Barr virus and then Lyme disease, I finally found the correct doctor. Dr. Jalbut diagnosed me with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis in September of 2012. At the time he put an asterisk on relapsing remitting because he thought I was already progressing into secondary progressive.
I attempted to continue to work for the next year or so but it got too dangerous. After too much fatigue, many falls, and a car crash in which I totaled my truck I had to stop working. At this point in my life I have secondary progressive MS. My days are spent helping to get my kids set for school, going to physical therapy and the gym. I still strive to keep my muscles strong and stay mobile for my wife Michelle and my children Mikey, Sean and Shannon. I walk with a cane and sometimes use a scooter. Staying as active as I can as a husband and father is important to me. Everyone knows I need to rest a lot and have to pick and choose the moments I do things with my family. My list of symptoms have increased but I continue to stay positive. Part of my new mission is to raise awareness of the reality of living with a progressive form of multiple sclerosis.
I have written a book about my journey: A Dad With MS – Some Superheroes Have a Cape and a Cane http://www.lulu.com/shop/michael-ogrady/a-dad-with-ms-paperback/paperback/product-23423532.html visit my facebook page https://m.facebook.com/superherocane/ for more information.
Written by Mike O’Grady
Editted by Garrett Owen