I'm an Alaskan who has made a living at being outdoors. From ski instructing in Alaska, Colorado and Utah to fly fishing guiding in Bristol Bay, AK to Patagonia, Chile. My life has been one long adventure for the last 15 years. In early '07 I got married. Shortly after that my first symptoms set in. So 2007 turned out to be "one of those" years. I've tried to continue my outdoor profession under the recommendation of my doc, but the fatigue turned out to be a little too much. So i've settled down and took a real job, which I am excited about. It means more time with my family.
In October of 08 I started on a clinical trial of an oral drug called FTY720. I had a nasty run in with optic neuritis about two weeks after the trial began, but since then I have been feeling great. That was my second bout with o.n. My first attack was in my right eye and the second attack was in my left. The first attack took half my usable vision. So when the second attack happened, I was pretty bummed and very worried that I would lose more vision. Thanks to the powers that be and a few doses of steroids via IV, my vision fully returned in my left eye.
On another note, here is a little story of inspiration. When I was first diagnosed with rrms, I really wondered how it would affect my active outdoor lifestyle. I continued to be a fishing guide, finishing two more seasons in Alaska and one more in Chile. But after this last summer I have decided to throw in the towel... partly because of this condition but mostly because I needed a year round job. Having guided in Chile the past 8 winters I missed out on alpine skiing. This winter was going to be my chance to get back onto snow. I was really worried though that the fatigue and balance issues I've been dealing with would hold be back on the slopes and maybe stop me from doing one of the things I love most.
In mid December I hit the slopes for the first time with my wife and child. Being very rusty after not skiing for a long time, I had a hard time telling if I was having trouble from the ms. As the days went on and I skied more something became clear. The more I skied the better I felt. It is weird, but when I go skiing, it is like my ms goes away. I've felt better the last month and a half than I have since I got the dx. Skiing has been a much needed escape from ms. When I'm up on the mountain, I feel free. The reason I am sharing this is that I want to help inspire others. MS was getting me down, but now I feel like I really do have a chance at a normal life. Best wishes to all-