November 24, 2020

How the hell did I get this old?

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:02 pm by Aleksan

There were times when Penny thought I would not last through my late twenties, I never expected to get to more than mid 50s – I had been given a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and as a young doctor, I often saw people with MS near the ends of their lives in middle age.

I wrote two books on MS attended several International Conferences, and continued my career part time in Psychiatry. Then years later I referred myself to a Professor of Neurology at Oxford – we had met before at Conferences, he was Canadian.

No you have not got MS you are quite right – you have what might be called Devic’s Disease Relapsing Remitting type – sometimes in the past wrongly called Optico-Spinal MS. Another old colleague from Conference days, Professor of Neurology at Cambridge was excited by these findings – and postulated in his book on Neurology that I had a “Transitional” disease linking an early form of Devic’s with a disease that in historical times developed into MS

So I have had this condition now since I was a medical student aged 20, and the constant attacks on my optic nerves, and spinal cord have been quite a challenge, leading to increasing disability. I shall be 76 in less than two weeks time, weakened by frequent urinary infections, a poor posture and severe back aches, and so much more. Because, since the Summer I have lost so much weight and have a very poor appetite, I am being fast tracked for Cancer investigations.

Yes I am worn out in many parts of my body, but my mind is alert and I enjoy my life, in a quieter sort of way. Being a patient for longer than I have been a doctor has given me many insights, helped me to mature, and I hope helped me to be a better person and doctor than perhaps I would have been.

Well supported by Penny, we married as medical students before my neurological disease began, I coast along, not attached to longevity – but wondering how the hell I got this old!

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