Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Continued Slow Progression

It was another clinic day today, another trek to the deep south of Calgary to visit the team of medical professionals who measure, check and chart the progression of my ALS. The most significant comment of the day came from the neurologist. After interviewing and examining me, he told me something I already know, that I was "progressing slowly". While progression of ALS is inevitable, it's fortunate for me that the word "slowly" is a part of that progression.

There were other things up for discussion at the clinic today, the most significant of which is my weight. I have lost 10 pounds in the last couple of months. While on my multiple road trips during the Great Elevator Escape, I gained 12 pounds. It was suggested that I should lose that weight, as long as I kept my health together. Unfortunately I think the driver behind that weight loss was my ill health, most recently evidenced by my stay in hospital.

It's not that hospital food caused me to lose weight. It was the whole urosepsis thing. Every time I tell one of my doctors about it, they get a grim look on their face and comment on how serious this is, one going so far as to remind me that it could be fatal. No wonder I lost weight; apparently I was really, really sick. In fact I am still not fully recovered. It may take a while yet.

In terms of my general condition, I have lost, or am losing, core and upper body strength. It's measurable, but once again the progression is slow. This increasing weakness shows mostly in my inability to pick up heavy objects along with the persistent shaking in my hands when holding a cup of coffee or a glass of water. Once again, it's not much of a change from last time; it's changing slowly.

My respiration is stable; this, at least, is not changing. My core muscles may be weaker but it has not affected my ability to breath. This is one of the most significant measures for ALS progression; as long as you can breath on your own, you are doing well. Even the smoky conditions here in Calgary have apparently had little effect on my lung capacity.

Over all, I guess it's a good news story, sort of. I have ALS; that's the bad news. It is continuing in its slow progression. It looks like I will be here for a while yet; that's the good news.

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