Friday, June 02, 2006

Fellow Artist Living with MS

I cam across this story by Aaron Solowoniuk, the drummer for Billy Talent, and I thought it interesting enough to share here as his story is strikingly similar to mine.

...It was November of 1997, I had just started a new job at Chrysler building
the new intrepid, Concorde and 300m. I was making more money, and I could take
off more time to play shows with my band Pezz. Days after starting my new job I
got a strange numbness in my legs. I couldn't walk for more than five minutes
without having to sit down because of this pain in my legs. I thought it was
just because this job was a lot more physically demanding then my last job.

After months of tests I was told that I probably had MS but a full
diagnosis couldn't be made until I had another symptom within two years.

In November of 1998 the numbness in my legs was gone but I could make it
come back by bending my neck forward. This would also send a feeling of an
electrical shock to my feet. Just a couple months later in January of 1999, I
suddenly got an awful pain in my left eye. It was like being punched in the eye
by a ghost. I went straight to my eye doctor; he told me I had optic neuritis.

When I told this to my neurologist, I found out that it's very common
for people with MS and the disease was progressing. He wanted me to start a new
type of medicine. I had to self-inject myself three times a week in the arm,
thigh, stomach or butt--and do this for the rest of my life.

practically ran out of the doctor's office and into the stairwell with my
girlfriend close behind me. We cried in the stairwell for a while and then went
right over to my parents' house. Through all of this madness, I was so lucky to
have my girlfriend, who is now my wife and the mother of our amazing daughter,
beside me.

Coming to terms with the fact that I had to start giving
myself needles forever was really hard. A could've of the side effects really
hit me once I started the medication. I feel in to a deep depression and started
seeing a psychiatrist. I really felt like my life was falling apart. I had
always wanted to be a drummer in a rock band but was told I should "take it
ease." I remember saying "ya right" in my head: none of my dreams had come true
and now I had an incurable disease.

It was really rough for the first
year and a half but the new medicine started to work. The MS Society of Canada
helped me get all the information and tools to get my life back on track. My
symptoms were gone, and when they did come back they were just minor set backs.

We changed the name of the band from Pezz to Billy Talent and continued
writing music. We released a four song EP and got a record deal. I quit my job
and started playing drums full time.

I guess the reason I'm telling you
this is because I didn't let something like MS get in the way of me becoming who
I was suppose to become...

Rock on Aaron! Like you, I didn't let MS stop me from becoming who I was suppose to become. NTS awaits my arrival as does the rest of my life as an actor. Maybe one day I'll write up my story and publish it in the MS journal. Kudos for finding the right girl from the start too. I think I just found mine recently (again). Proper support can't be understated in times of need. And it takes a caring, patient, and understanding individual to stay the course. That's for any chronic illness or disease; it's usually a long tough road to recovery and they have to be just as tough as we are. Finding out how tough someone is is difficult without subjecting them to the same conditions (which I would not wish on my enemies), so a lot of guess work can leave us broken hearted at times. Hooray for complex living.

On another note, I've also put together a nice training program. It's very flexible and light and should provide the best results, achieving max effect through min effort. Now I need to get a meal plan together. :) I love food.


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At 10:56 AM, Blogger Jaime said...

I am glad you are feeling better! Haiving a positive attitude is so important...depression is such a part of this illness and so we MUST fight (or it will just sneak up on us)! I am glad to hear you are doing well.

In regards to the meal me (you can contact me through my blog) and I will send you some recipes/suggestions (see a previous comment I left you). It has done wonders for not only me (with my MS, but also other health issues), but also brought my parents cholesterol and blood sugar readings back to normal. Basically...just a balanced diet. I don't believe in doing a diet, diet. LOL Food is too important...why would you limit yourself?

Thanks for the great is always great to hear of people who are doing well! There are always times where it is hard to fight this illness, so it is important to remember there are things we CAN just takes time. Good luck to you at the acting school. I am glad you have found yourself someone to love you and support you! A solid support system is very important.

I wish you the best! Take care.


At 5:43 AM, Blogger Shauna said...

It's a good thing you fell in love with a tough girl ;) I'm just kidding; I love you and plan on staying the course. Noone makes me smile like you do, and I want you by my side. I liked reading this's one more step in my MS education :)


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