Friday, December 17, 2004

It's official

I went to the gym today, again, having gone four days ago as well. I want to continue going on a regular basis. Some of my muscles still remembered the super-light workout from four days ago (I hesitate to call them 'sore' -- my muscle perception has changed as a result of ALS).

On the way there I jogged for a few blocks, and I must say that it is now official, my jogging is not normal or anything close to it. How odd to think that around the time I began this blog, I went running with my wife, and we ran at a good pace, and once I think she asked me to slow down.

No more. That may have been the last time I had a normal run with my wife. She might jog with me again, but I would simply be unable to keep up on a real run, even a light run.

Details: The left leg is so slow and stiff that the right leg easily outpaces it. I try to slow the right leg down to match the small steps of the left leg. If you saw me jogging, you would definitely perceive me as disabled.

How odd. You know, my lungs and the rest of the body feel strong and fine. I'm sure my cardiopulmonary system is capable of a five-mile run. But my left leg just isn't.

I just realized that today, December 17, is one year since I noticed the symptom that caused me to call the chiropractor, who told me, right away on the phone, to see a neurologist. The problem was that I couldn't imitate the jumping game my son was playing.

One of the differences I noticed back then was that while I could still kick myself in the butt forcefully with the heel of the right leg, the left leg lacked force. I have tried it again today and the left leg can't to it at all (it gets to 90 degrees), and the right leg can still do it, but in the weak way that the left leg did a year ago.

One doesn't usually have photos of their left thumb, especially if you are a person who, like me, rarely appears in photos. But I happen to have two shots that feature my left thumb, one from Christmas 2002, and one from May 2003. When I look at the hand, I don't see that 'skeleton-hand' gap that I now have. I'll send the photo to my neurologist for his opinion. The cramps and twitches in the left forearm did not start until Spring of 2003. I wonder when the motor neurons start dying, and I wonder when it shows up as a skeleton hand.

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