Why is Joel walking with a stick?

Our Atlanta kids recently became empty nesters as both Alex and Louis are now both in college. Alex at University of Georgia in Athens and Louis who is a first year student in Ashville. NC. attending culinary school.

It wasn’t that long ago that they were both sitting on the floor just behind the carpet watching TV and eating breakfast before school.

Alex moved just before school started this fall, so we need to get down there and see where they are living—and Louis is living with his good friend Felix who is also attending culinary school and is also from Atlanta.

We need to get down there and see where they are living these days.

We have found that the best way to communicate with the boys is via text. They usually respond quickly,

I just saw receipts from the two AirBNB places we will be staying in Athens and Ashville. Looking forward to it.

This might be as good of a time as any to let you know what is wrong with me.

This has been going on for about four years already. I was diagnosed with a motor neuron disease in 2017 at the KU Medical Center. The name is Primary Lateral Scler­osis or PLS for short. It is very rare and therefor not much research has been done on this disease to date.

It is in the same family of diseases as Lou Gehrig’s disease ALS but like ALS it probably won’t be the cause of my life ending.

PLS affects your upper motor neurons and ALS affects both your upper and lower motor neurons.

Your upper motor neurons control your core muscles and swallowing muscles which causes problems with balance (muscle weakenss) and swallowing functions and voice control.

If you have seen me with a walking stick it is because of balance issues.

I also have a walker—actually it has big wheels for all terrain with brakes on the back wheels if I get going too fast or am going downhill.

So far I just use it for longer distances and for walking around the block, etc. My cardiologist told me I need to get moving because I basically quit walking about two years ago after walking about two miles a day for ten years. The weight has been creeping on because I have become too sedentary.

Basically my nerves have failed me with the PLS. The brain tells the body what to do but when the signals don’t get where they need to go, the correct response does not happen.

There are other issues with PLS but I don’t have room to go into it all here.

I am not writing this for sympathy, but so that you know why someone who looks somewhat normal uses a walking stick.

If you wish to share your comments or ideas, my e-mail address is joel@
hillsborofreepress.com.