A little bit of MS......A little bit Cancer

A little bit of MS......A little bit Cancer

From Joseph R. Zappia

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My story begins in 1994. I was working as a consultant to Lufthansa Systems in Frankfurt Germany when I started feeling numbness in my hands and face. I went to the hospital where they performed a rudimentary neurological examine and recommend me to see a neurologist. From the hospital I visited a neurologist, who immediately ordered a MRI. Several hours later I was sitting in this device which was a very unnerving contraption in a country where I was a foreigner. Spooky to say the least. The next day or two I was told I had multiple sclerosis, and was treated with IV's of steroids which suppressed the elements of my exacerbation.

For the next 25 years I continued working, with  only minor inconvenience by this disease. My balance was affected...don't ask me the "walk that yellow line", and was fatigued daily, but otherwise this disease was undetectable. I was in fact blessed, still working in an industry (airline) which I loved since a kid when my dad would take me to JFK to watch the planes, and allowed me to travel the world…on their dime!

Now retired, one day I felt something of a potential exacerbation in my left leg. I could not get an appointment with my neurologist for 2 months, so I changed neurologists for one under the Novant umbrella where by GP was also. That gave me an appointment within a week, and meeting with him and before presuming I was in fact having an exacerbation my new neurologist required additional MRI's. I went in for a brain, neck and spine MRI's all done in one lovely 3hr session. The next day my neurologist called and said "good news, your MS has not advanced, but radiology has picked up something on your lung”.

Cat scan, Pet scan, Biopsy resulted in Stage 4 lung cancer. Adrenal glands, along with bone marrow join my lung (10cm) infection. I am just carrying on my "MS inconvenience" to the next stage. There are things I can no longer do, but that's OK. 

I still feel that I am blessed. I have four wonderful children who all grew to be successful adults. And two of those children have given me to joy of being a granddad of 4 wonderful young children. I am married to a wonderful woman whose obsession with gardening provides me with nothing short of a botanical garden in my back yard which I enjoy daily. The amount of love and emotion from friends, family, and strangers I receive almost daily is unparalleled. 

A few weeks ago, my wife Angelika and I investigated the possibility of obtaining an equity loan on our home. Besides making a few household investments, it was also an avenue to address the ever-growing medical bills, and the newly discovered issue of my requiring not one, not two but three root canels. Unfortunately, because of slow payments to the hospital, they enacted a collection process which has disabled the successful acquisition of the equity loan we so desperately desire. 

What I am hoping for are donations which will assist in clearing the collections being levied. The compete payments of $1850 will remove the collection on my credit, and allow us to establish the equity loan.

I'll continue with my Chemo treatments with a smile, and still push forward with that same smile and philosophy, "It's just an inconvenience". And when this ride ends and I begin my next journey, well…I’ll leave that in God’s hands

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