Saturday, December 3, 2016

This Chef Won’t Let His Diagnosis Cripple His Career

Whenever I come across stories of others living with Kennedy’s Disease, I feel compelled to share their stories. Everyone deals with the news in different ways, but everyone goes through many of the same steps that I did forty years ago. This is why my blog is titled, “Living with Kennedy’s Disease.” After the shock, after the ‘no way’ denial, and the first moments of ‘oh my God’, we begin the process of learning to live with this condition.

This is another man’s story. The article, written by Sarah Freeman, is in Muchies, an online service from VICE. A short excerpt is found below.

“The 38-year-old chef’s symptoms started less than a year ago with difficulty walking up and down the stairs. A visit to a physical therapist led to another with his sister-in-law, a neurologist at the University of Chicago. There, he underwent a battery of painful tests, including having needles inserted into every major muscle group on the right side of his body, from his hand to his chef’s knife tattoo-covered calf, and then getting shocked. “Everyone was talking about it in excited voices, but not good excited, and not telling me what the f…’s going on.”
In February, a blood test confirmed a diagnosis of Kennedy’s Disease, an inherited motor neuron disease that disrupts nerve cell transmission signals from the brain to the brain stem and spinal cord. Due to its rarity—about one in 40,000 people have it, according to the Kennedy’s Disease Association—it’s a difficult disease to peg and is often misdiagnosed as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Unlike the latter, there is no treatment for Kennedy’s Disease, aside from pain management for the muscle cramps that are an early and continuous symptom. His brother and niece were tested shortly later and also diagnosed. Women, however, are typically only carriers and rarely symptomatic.

“This sealed the deal on me and my wife not having kids,” Jacobs says.  … ”

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