September 30, 2013:
Last week I had a visit with my neurologist at The Ohio State University Medical Center. This would be the first time we have seen each other in almost a year. I was quite nervous for this visit. She has been my neurologist since I was 12 years-old. We have had our ups and downs, but I am so thankful that she was able to diagnose rather quickly. I read so many horror stories from individuals who bounced from neurologist to neurologist with no answers.
The morning of my appointment, I gathered up my discharge summary and my trusty cane and out the door I went. Ann took the day off work since I still need a chauffeur for long trips. As Ann and I navigated our way to the big city of Columbus, Ohio it was obvious that we were both a little nervous. Ann and I had a rather quiet ride. She was busy chewing on her finger nails and I was lost in thought of how my doctor might react. Before I knew it we were pulling into the parking lot.
After about a 30 minute wait it was finally time to see my neurologist. I must say that while I was sitting in the room my stomach was full of butterflies. It felt like an eternity. Finally the door swung open and there she was. She always barges into the room with a huge smile which is followed by the "How are things going." Before I could really answer she followed up with, "So did you go to Chicago?" Once those pleasantries were out of the way it was down to business. So she put me through the usual examination.
Her first command was for me to take off my shoes and walk across the room. I was all too happy to oblige her. I even did it without my cane. Watching me walk, she said "Wow!" Then she had me sit on the examination table so we could begin the neurological evaluation. I followed her finger, puffed out my cheeks, closed my eyes while she poked and prodded me. All the time while she was performing the examination she was checking the results against my prior visit with the nurse practitioner in March. At the conclusion of the exam she state that I had made a "marked improvement" and that she would share my experience with her colleagues.
The day I was discharged from Northwestern, one of Dr. Burt's patients referred to us as "trailblazers". I could not agree with her more. As days fly by and my health continues to improve I feel it is important for me to share these experiences. It is our progress that will bring light to the positive effects of the stem cell transplant for autoimmune diseases. So with each passing day I am pleased to be part of something so powerful.