Around 2005 I was working incredibly hard and keeping odd hours. Just before bedtime I felt a strange numbness in my left foot. Being the middle of winter I decided to sit at the heater and do a Sudoku puzzle. The numbness did not improve so I went to bed anyway. When I woke up my whole left side was “working intermittently”. I went to the GP I had used recently and he said I should go home and take a Disprin in case I had had a stroke, and see what happens the next day. (I had seen him 6 months earlier with optic neuritis and after looking in my ears he diagnosed a sinus allergy.) I see another GP and he sends me to a Physician who then sends me to Christiaan Barnard Memorial where I underwent an MRI and there I met Dr Dion Opperman. I spent the week there and underwent a blood test to rule out HIV and had a lumbar puncture. Dion eventually says it doesn’t seem like a stroke, could almost definitely be MS, but I would need another MRI in 6 months’ time. I never returned… After being discharged I went to recuperate at friends in Johannesburg and recovered almost fully, except there was a little nerve damage to my left leg/foot.
In 2008 I was awoken very early by the phone – it was a colleague who needed help with her computer as she used to get to work at 6. She was horrified as my speech was all slurred and garbled. This was my next major relapse. Another week in Christiaan Barnard Memorial and lots of Solumedrol. This relapse affected speech and swallowing slightly. Eventually I am discharged and I start making plans to join medical aid so that I may start interferon treatment. February 2009 I started doing yoga once (or more times) a week.
Through 2009 I have a number of relatively minor relapses until Jan 2010 when I start Avonex. All had been going well on Avonex and only once or twice did I have little flare ups, usually when under immense stress. I learned from all this that I need to take it easy and also not try to cram 6 to 8 appointments, littered all over the peninsula, into one day.
In January 2013 I was retrenched and went on to work on my own providing IT support to private people and small businesses. This has its own advantages and disadvantages.
I have a good friend, who was a colleague, who drove me to hospital with most of my relapses. In early 2019 I changed from Avonex to Tuvigin.
Fortunately I am still fully mobile after 15 years but I do find that I struggle with certain fine motor movements and I am prone to cramping when I do certain movements, sometimes during yoga too. I have mostly learned to control my impatience and irritability.
Most of my family seem to understand MS but rarely ask about it or ask about my health in terms of MS.
Mario Lanteri 56 years – May 2020