Dr. Sanjay Gupta: “Your Body on Weed”

I felt, first-hand, the impact of marijuana during my initial major M.S. episode: a four month adventure with Trigeminal “somebody fucking shoot me” Neuralgia (faithfully nicknamed the Suicide Disease). I myself, a frequent consumer of the herb in my younger years, already knew of its general “calming” effect… or, what I came to know as, blindly staring at inanimate objects for hours and being completely amused by them, but this video goes into finer detail on why the medical kind (like normal weed, sans the “fun gene”) works for MSers and others with chronic pain.

Fortunately, my TN has not relapsed in 3yrs+, but I’d obviously rather have (access to) marijuana and not need it, than need it and not have it – especially since the drugs they prescribed me at the time were worthless prayers basically akin to pissing on a forest fire. Plus, now I won’t have to buy it off that banger with the gargantuan Presa Canario in Pilsen anymore. Illinois made the right call when they legalized it earlier this year.


A slow day at the office

Eat it!

1. Frank Zappa
2. George Harrison
3. Slash
4. Jimi Hendrix
5. Keith Richards
6. Jimmy Paige
7. SRV
8. Eric Clapton
9. Mark Knopfler
10. Brian May
11. Johnny Ramone
12. ?
13. the Edge
14. Chuck Berry
15. Angus Young
16. Pete Townsend
17. Tony Iommi
18. Eddie Van Halen
19. David Gilmour
20. Ace Frehley
21. ?
22. Duane Allman?
23. Kirk Hammett?
24. Santana
25. John Frusciante?
26. Yngwie Malmsteen
27. Kurt Kobain
28. Mike Bloomfield?
29. Jerry Garcia
30. ?
31. Bo Diddley
32. Jeff Beck
33. Tom Morello
34. Brian Setzer
35. ?

(Pt. 1) Brain Map (Q-EEG),Cognitive impairment and Mumford & Sons

Ha Ha


I had a Q-EEG done Thursday, July 19th, at Cognitive Solutions Learning Center in Lincoln Park. I’ll talk about this more in the future after I get my test results back in a couple of weeks, but a Quantitative Electroencephalographic is basically a method for evaluating brain function based on your brain’s electrical activity. From what I understand, wave-forms of varying frequency, shape, location and amplitude are measured against what is considered “normal” and could possibly help pinpoint areas of weakness for use in targeted cognition therapy.

I’m not expecting any smoking guns or “A-Ha!!!” moments with regard to M.S. (after all, there was no “before” EEG taken, for comparison), but considering that a majority of my present and most debilitating symptoms are not physical, but cognitive; i’m curious as to what this could reveal.

I first read about EEGs in Facing the Cognitive Challenges of Multiple Sclerosis by Jeffrey Gingold; a book I recommend if you suffer from problems with cognition. But it was actually my personal trainer that introduced me to another client of his – a clinical psychologist – that happens to administer Q-EEGs and actually has a couple of other multiple sclerosis patients undergoing identical therapy. I’m not positive of what my therapy will entail, but i’m assuming that it will be similar to the therapy I received after being diagnosed with dyslexia as a child: cookies, Tang and completely demoralizing brain teasers.

More about my Cognition Issues:

From unusual at the start to just a downright fucking catastrphe in early 2012. They began to surface around early 2009 but were tremendously magnified after my Jun/2011 relapse. Before D/X, I naturally just blamed it on lack of sleep, exercise, stress, diet… the typical catalysts. After D/X, I’m stuck contemplating what exactly it is that I’m going to do with the rest of my life…


First heat test of 2012 & “Sleeping in the Aviary”

I easily survived an awful summer precursor after following & photographing the NATO protests in mostly 80+ degree heat for three straight days/nights and for about 20 miles total, according to my Garmin pedometer. But the true test was a sunny & sweaty 98-degree BBQ yesterday, where the only heat that troubled me was radiated from the overzealous carnivores; for bogarting the fire with my vegetable and fruit skewers. Hell with ’em. They knew they wanted one.

If yesterday’s atypical near-100 degree sunbath was an indication, then this summer is going to be a nightmare for anyone suffering from M.S. Though my symptoms seem to get more randy in high humidity (thankfully, it was pretty dry yesterday), I did notice some sensitivity to the sunlight reminiscent of the month or two following my last relapse. That’s nothing that a hat couldn’t handle and I’ll take it over the persistent nausea, exhaustion and vertigo I felt last summer, any day.

I lucked out and sprained (or possibly broke) something in my foot a couple weekends ago playing soccer, and missed out on the 5K I was supposed to run last Thursday. But considering how i’ve handled the heat of the past two weekends, i’m curious of how well I would have held up had I decided to run it (or even walk it). It was a hot 85-degree night and quite humid; last I recall.

I had to meet with my personal trainer that night and he agreed it was the right decision not to run it, even though I feel no pain right now unless my foot contorts in an odd manner. Apart from the M.S., he reminds me that I can’t ignore the fact that I’ve had three tibial fractures and now a foot injury within the past 10 months. Marcus had been going relatively easy on my lower body in the gym in light of my recent injury history and to injure/re-injure something would set me back even further, so I guess it was for the best.

I do want to start running and hiking again soon though. Getting antsy and impatient. My bone density tests came back fine a couple of months ago and I consume a lot of calcium in supplement form (to counteract the general lack of it in my diet), so I’m not sure why I keep fucking up my legs. The soccer incident was a freak accident with an inebriated fucktard, but the fractured tibias (and shin splints) were something new to me. Thinking about getting my gait tested.

Unless my boss, goes grinch, I’m heading out to Madison, Wis. to see Sleeping in the Aviary this Thursday night. Good band, good venue — excited as fuck. Nothing rids your memory of lingering verses and choruses from a mistake Gipsy Kings concert better than a good, loud, lo-fi, independent rock band.


Personal trainer

So I bit the bullet and hired a personal trainer to meet with twice per week; tuesday and thursday nights at a gym just a half-mile from my office. I just got back from my second session with him. Every time I worked out on my own in the recent past, I felt like each exercise was being performed for the first time… as if I hadn’t just exercised 2-3 days earlier. My muscles had no memory of it and it resulted in more post-workout pain and soreness and depression. You’re supposed to feel electric after a workout and I was clearly miserable.

My trainer had no prior experience with an M.S. patient, but had worked with the terminally ill and physically disabled in the past and after doing a little research on M.S. to get a feel for what he and I were up against; structured a basic workout for me to start with. Though the workout certainly wasn’t a cakewalk, there was no guttural grunting and I wasn’t gushing “dude-sweat” after it was over, but my muscles were tweaked, my chest and upper back were bulging and my entire body felt alive for the first time since I was an avid soccer player in H.S./college. I walked 1.5 miles home, in the rain, with a smile on my face – a rarity these days.

It’ll get more difficult as we pick up the intensity, but I know I’ll be better conditioned for it by then. Is it expensive? Certainly. But something tells me that this is money well spent, if not for the fitness alone, then the state of mind I’m left with afterwards.