12/22/08 Mayo Results
Yes, I know this is overdue. I got back from Phoenix and Mayo on Thursday and I’ve told a bunch of people how it turned out, but I haven’t updated the blog. I held off writing the latest update because I wanted to digest what I learned at Mayo and see how it settled in.
First, the results. The typical doctor trip is a SOAP evaluation. Subjective, Objective, Assessment, Plan. I’ve written for months on the Subjective…….I feel I’ve been improving and I reported that to Dr. Wingerchuck. No surprise there. Objective was in two parts, the MRI’s and the neurological evaluation. I had two MRI’s, both with contrast (injection of gadolinium to help make lesions leap out on the images). The MRI’s were essentially unchanged and the lesions in both my brain and cervical spine remain very small. The neurological examination, which consisted of walking, standing on heels and toes and various strength tests in the legs, was “definitely improved.” The Assessment is I still have MS, but it is overall improving. No attacks in the past year, improving symptoms, improving neurologically.
And the Plan? “Your approach seems to be working and you have less reason to begin medicinal treatment than you did last year. Keep doing what you are doing.” To hear a world-renowned Mayo Clinic doctor tell me this was the most satisfying thing I’ve heard in a long time. All the effort we’ve put into juicing and improving digestion, reducing intake of inflammatory foods that exacerbate the disease, exercising, and believing I am going to rid myself of the disease was summarized in a few short sentences. Dr. Wingerchuck even said to me as we parted, “You made my day.” I think he made mine.
The drive home to Las Vegas seemed a little smoother, the roads a little straighter. We drove instead of flew because there was a winter storm heading to Las Vegas as we left, and the storm didn’t disappoint. Some parts of town got 6-8 inches of snow and the main airport in Las Vegas was closed as we ate dinner in Scottsdale and sauntered back to our room with barely a light jacket. The snow line was I-40 at Kingman, AZ so we got a bunch of it in that area on the way down, but saw sunny skies most of the trip. The snow was mostly gone by the time we arrive home the next day, making the news reels photos seem phony.
I have tried to describe the feeling several times to people. Words don’t come out as juicy as the feeling, but the feeling is certainly there nonetheless. I don’t feel like I just won the World Series. I don’t even feel like I won a big game. It feels more to me like we are 56 and 25 at the Allstar Break (for non baseball people that’s a 70% winning percentage). It means we’re winning in general, doing better than the odds suggest you should be, but we still have a long way to get where we’re going. I’ve had this feeling before many times during the course of a season, and in my life since. It’s a critical time. Many people feel the urge to let up, to drop their guard, figuring the season is in the bag. The best players don’t do that though. Winning teams realize they have a good thing going and pour it on to make sure the winning attitude is in the clubhouse every day.
I think the biggest thing I learned from this visit was that I confirmed that want to live. There isn’t any other possible explanation for the joy I felt when I got the stamp of approval from the doctor. I think everyone goes through their “what’s the point of trying” analysis from time to time and I am certainly no exception. “Why bother juicing and not drinking when all you need to do is take the shots?” This is certainly a valid question to ask, and I sometimes ask myself. “Why go to all the trouble if we’re all gonna die one day anyway?” Yep, it is a lot of work. I might even go so far as to say it’s a hassle getting up at 5 every morning to swim, get home by 7:30 only to spend the next 90 minutes showering, stretching and juicing. But I reaffirmed I want to live. I like to fly, to visit our cabin, to see friends and make new ones, go to parties, and find solutions to problems. I also like being around to make my family know they are important people…..in their lives and in mine.
And that’s how I feel. It’s Christmas and the parties are flowing, the chocolate and the booze is everywhere. I have had a few drinks this Christmas season and I‘ve had food I don’t normally eat. But now I use enzymes to make sure I process that stuff quickly, and the next day I juice and eat a salad for lunch. Heck, today I had salad for lunch and dinner.
Another year before my next workup. Will there be an attack this year? Will I continue to improve? Was this just a year of remission? I guess time will tell, but my gut tells me I will improve. Maybe I should set up another blog or some kind of offshore betting website……..