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Archive for the month “August, 2011”

A True Red, White, and Blue, American Pacifist

American Pacifist


      I am a born and bred true (red, white, and blue) one hundred percent American Pacifist.  I just can not understand how it is that modern day man has been evolving for some fifty-thousand years and yet we have still not been able to grow out of the, kill or be killed, mentality as a race.  Do we not have enough environmental and health care issues and other drama that surrounds our lives on a daily basis that we feel the need to add even more chaos into the grand mix of life here on planet earth?

     I realize that we have had to adapt to living our lives in an otherwise violent ever changing universe but we were given freedom of choice.  And in my own opinion we could do a whole lot better with those choices from this point forward if we put our hearts and souls into it.  But truthfully speaking I’m kind of tired of it as it stands now, if this is the way that mankind is going to continue to exist, or not, then I for one want to put in for a transfer to a more peaceful world at the conclusion of my current lifetime.  God please feel free to reincarnate me somewhere else, but until then here is my own personal choice.

     I am willing to die for America, but I am not willing to kill for her! 

     End of rant!



A Letter From Mother Earth

Mother Earth


     Every once in a while I have a strange dream that makes me wonder just how far stretching and incredible our universe may actually be.  In one instance I dreamt that a man walked up to me on a crowded sidewalk and handed me a letter while stating that it had been sent from a parallel universe and then just as I started to open it I woke up.  I’m still ticked off about that, I mean, just how often do you get a letter from another universe hand delivered?  And then just a few nights ago I had a dream where our planet seemed to be having a conversation with me.  I don’t exactly remember much of the conversation but it did have something to do with how we as a race were treating her.  I guess I’ll just let the words flow and we’ll see what happens.


Dear Mankind,


     I really need for you all to start showing me some empathy because I am really very sick.  And it should be no real secret as to who is the major cause of this illness.  You were given freedom of choice by Father God and I honestly can not see where you have used your choices wisely. Let’s just look at a few for instances.  You fowl my very breath with the coal fired industry that belches its black soot for miles into my blue spirit and cloud filled skies.  And you senselessly strip the lands of the lush blankets that nature has given you while leveling the hills and mountains for what you call profit.  And then you slowly and painfully poison my veins and clog my arteries which provide the fresh water that flows in my creeks and rivers that all animals depend on daily to drink.  But worst of all is the way you treat the very womb of your birth like it is your own personal cesspool to be dumped in and then forgotten.

     There is a time of reckoning close at hand where karma like a raging tempest wind will take its revenge on all that show such disrespect.  However, it is not too late to start listening to your hearts which is where my soul resides within you.  If you change and learn how to be my partner I promise to once again share my abundant secrets and treasures with you and we will continue this journey to a place called heaven on earth.  But if you do not……………..




My Cancer Story


     It was about a year and a half ago that I noticed a very small spot on my neck just below my ear.  At first, and for a while, I didn’t really think much of it perhaps an ingrown hair or maybe a little mole but certainly not a big deal.  I had other things to worry about and so weeks turned to months and then something started to happen that’s a bit hard to explain.  It was like a whisper that only my subconscious could hear but it seemed intent on telling me that this wasn’t just another little skin lesion that older people often get that I could just forget about.  Even now as I type this I wonder if a Guardian Angel, or a guiding spirit, or maybe even my long since deceased mother, was blowing messages into my soul to not take this lightly.  And it sounds funny but I came to the point one night where I just looked up at the dark sky and said, “alright I promise I’ll get it looked at.”

     After another day or so I made the call to a dermatologist for an appointment and a couple of weeks later off I went to my check up hoping for the best but almost expecting something short of it.  And something short of it is what I got as the Doctor stated that though it didn’t seem to be much of anything he was concerned at what he thought was a blood line leading to this lesion and felt that a biopsy was in order.  I didn’t even hesitate to schedule another appointment I told him to just do it right then and there which he did.  And three days later I got the call that I knew was coming.  I had a small pre-melanoma tumor that needed to come off as soon as possible.

     One week later I was back in the office for out patient surgery and when it was all over the Doctor showed this little lesion that wasn’t nearly as little as I had thought it would end up being.  That little speck was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg, I mean, it wasn’t huge but it had been significant enough to leave quite a little scar.  And I had also learned an important lesson especially for someone like me who has fair skin and had several bad sunburns as a kid when intuition starts to tell you something don’t ignore it.  In my case it could eventually have been a life or death situation!  




Multiple Sclerosis: A new chapter

A New Chapter Begins


     After writing my first blog about multiple sclerosis I had intended on writing my experiences with this disease in a chronological order.  And just as I was about to sit down and write the next edition I got a phone call informing me that I had been approved for funding for Copaxone therapy.  And though the idea of taking daily injections does not appeal to me I guess you do what you have to do.  Copaxone was the first FDA approved treatment for (RRMS) Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.  It is considered to be the safest of all the MS drugs on the market at this time, as it has been studied for nearly twenty years, with very few serious side effects.          

     However Copaxone is not the first MS modifying treatment that I have used.  Five years ago I was part of a clinical trial for Betaseron which is an approved drug as well but the clinical trial was trying to determine if a larger dose would be more effective then the already approved dosage.  It was a double blind study where forty percent of the patients got the normal dose, forty percent got the higher dose, and the remaining twenty percent were put on Copaxone as the control group.  I was assigned to a group and began my participation with high hopes.  The study lasted for two years and then I continued using Betaseron for another year after that.  At the conclusion of the study I was informed that I had been in the group using the smaller dose which in the end was fine by me because it was determined that the larger dose was no more effective then the smaller one in the treatment of MS.

     After those three years I asked my Neurologist to remove me from Betaseron all together as I was very unhappy with the overall benefit that I felt that I was getting.  I had been told that I might not see any improvement in my general and overall symptoms but that I should expect a reduction in exacerbations/attacks and their severity.  As far as I was concerned neither of those outcomes happened though I was promised a copy of my personal study results which now two years later I still have not received though I admit to only half heartedly trying to obtain them, perhaps now I will so I can write about those results here. 

     I also should mention that I do a number of other things that are thought to perhaps slow this diseases progression.  I take between five and ten thousand units of vitamin D3 daily along with a fish oil tablet day and night.  When taking large doses of vitamin D always ask your doctor to add a vitamin D blood level whenever you’re getting other blood work.  It’s not a good idea to have a super high amount of vitamin D cruising around your blood stream however most people with MS have very low levels to start with.  Even at the higher dose that I take my blood levels have remained right at normal.  And I take the statin drug Lovastatin which some studies suggest might have a positive effect on MS though I also have a borderline high cholesterol level which is what it’s prescribed to treat in my case. 

     And then finally, I also was put on Lisinopril by my doctor about a year and a half ago for the treatment of borderline high blood pressure.  Lisinopril has also been mentioned in a small study as possibly having a disease modifying effect on multiple sclerosis.  And what I will say here is since being on the Lisinopril my flare ups have been much less severe then they were at any time in the past eleven years since I was diagnosed.  I won’t swear it’s the Lisinopril, it could be that my disease might just be transitioning into a secondary progressive stage which is the next, albeit slower, level of nerve degeneration after RRMS.

     In the weeks and months ahead I’ll see if I can catch you up to speed on how I got here over the past eleven years as well as keep you informed about my progress after I start on the Copaxone therapy.

     Please remember, if you have multiple sclerosis, never give up or give in to this disease.  We will beat it, have faith!




The T. Boone Pickens Energy Plan




     I find it to be a sad state of affairs when China, of all countries, lashes out at America because our priorities are all messed up and our government is locked up in mindless childish nonsense.  And what’s even sadder still is that for all intents and purposes their right.  We face multiple problems on multiple levels and we could solve just about every single one of them if we just stop bickering, pull our heads out of the sand, and get our collective behinds together.  Let’s consider three of the more major problems that confront us currently.  We have an economy that is teetering on the brink of insolvency.  There are more Americans out of work, myself included, then there ever have been since the great depression.  And on the environmental front we are poisoning our planet on a pace that will lead to eventual human extinction if we don’t change our ways.

     Is there a way to combat all three of these pressing problems with one cohesive swing of the bat?  In a word, Yes!  And I know that a lot of people aren’t thrilled with it, but it’s called the T. Boone Pickens plan for complete energy independence from the rest of the world.  And please, before you judge me and this opinion piece at least read it through to the end before delivering your final judgment. 

     Here in America we were blessed with three major sources of raw energy, coal, oil, and natural gas.  Of the three, coal is by far the worst when it comes to carbon emissions when it’s burned.  And whether or not you believe in climate change or not, coal smog and particulate is still not a very healthy thing to have to inhale into your lungs.  The next worst energy provider is oil but we have already almost exhausted that resource anyway so the point is almost mute.  And finally this leaves us with natural gas which here in North America we are sitting on vast quantities of.  And the beauty of this is that there is enough natural gas that if we used it correctly we could completely restructure our entire energy economy until natural gas could be replaced by other forms of none polluting renewable energy like, wind, solar, geothermal, and eventually fuel cells and whatever may come next.  And in the mean time this new natural gas economy could also fuel job growth by providing millions of construction jobs as well as jobs in support services nationwide because gas reserves can be found in almost every geographical location. 

     I do realize that natural gas has its own problems, fracking is a new technology that is far from perfect but I do have faith that our engineers can figure out how to do it more efficiently if given half a chance.  But if I’m going to spend a couple hundred dollars a month to heat and cool my house and another forty dollars a week to drive my car then I want that money to stay right here in this country paying wages to American workers.  And I would much rather see those dollars paying down our fifteen trillion dollar debt then being sent over seas to support ideals that I quite frankly don’t agree with.  I honestly believe that if we as a country made this commitment we could be completely energy independent in ten years.  And I also believe that if we did this we could reduce our pollution output by ninety-five percent in ten years after that.    

     These problems aren’t a liberal problem, a conservative problem, or even an environmentalist’s problem.  We all own these problems together equally and we have to stand as one country if we’re going to see a positive resolution while we build a stronger and lasting future.  It is pretty incredible when you consider that this next generation behind the baby boomers can truly do what no other generation has quite been able to accomplish before.  They can not only change America for the better, they can change the world and perhaps the rest of humanity.  But we’re running out of time, we need to make some serious course adjustments now.  America is an agricultural giant that can feed a starving world but we need to get our own house in order first. 

     We, can do better, the future possibilities are endless if we at least can find some common ground in a few small areas.  What will your choice be?  





My First Attack

     My first attack was about nineteen years ago when I lived in Maryland.  I was working at the Bethesda Marriott and that’s where I started to notice some tightness in both of my legs.  This tightness was irritating but not debilitating so I really didn’t pay it much thought.  As the weeks went by the tightness started moving its way up into my lower back and causing my sciatic nerve to hurt.  Again, I ignored it thinking that what ever it was it would just go away which in fact is exactly what happened about a month and a half later after a few more symptoms.  After sticking around in my back for a few weeks my MS was on the move again this time causing my arms to be a bit weak and my fingers to tingle if and when I raised my hands above my head.  Each time my disease would move upwards, like from my legs into my back, and then my back to my arms, the discomfort in the lower area would fade away.

     The last stop for this first attack was in both of my eyes.  Every time that I would go to lay down at night and right after I would close my eyes it was like having a built in strobe light flashing behind my eyelids.  And this was when I really started to become a little concerned.  I guess it took the thought of not knowing what this was along with my fear that I could lose my eyesight to bring me to the reality that I should go and see a Doctor.  And so I made an appointment.

     By the time that my appointment rolled around most all of my symptoms and discomfort had gone away with perhaps just a minimal amount of residual after effects still present so my concern was fading along with the symptoms.  The Doctor gave me a pretty complete looking over and asked a number of questions but even he didn’t seem all that concerned much to my relief.  In the end he told me that he really wasn’t sure what was wrong but that perhaps I had just pinched a nerve and since it seemed like it was going away he was pretty confident that this experience was over.  And he was right, for the next six or seven years I didn’t have any symptoms that were like what had happened previously accept that on occasion when I moved my head in a certain way I would get this little electrical kind of tingle that would run down my right leg and be gone in a second. 

     Looking back on all of this now I don’t know if I was blessed in not knowing that eventually I would be diagnosed with MS or not.  You see this was back in the late eighties or perhaps around nineteen ninety when this all occurred and there wasn’t really a whole lot they could have done for me even if they had the proper diagnosis.  And sometimes I even wonder if perhaps my Doctor may have had an idea of what it was but decided against telling me, but I guess I’ll never know?

     What I do know is that six or seven years later it all came back with a vengeance, and the real nightmare was about to begin! 



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