In 1975 I was a 41 year old career oriented business man with athletic skills and aggressive personal goals. Until, one Sunday morning following an active day of skiing I awoke with a nagging pain in my left eye and blurred vision. I first attributed these symptoms as effects of the stress of activities the previous day and self prescribed rest and relaxation along with the usuall over the counter medications. Later in the day the symptoms remained eye related and worsened, where upon I got a ride to the Massachusetts Eye & Ear Clinic, Division of the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, MA. Being a Sunday PM the minimum staff on duty were training interns. A young trainee diagnosed my condition as typical Optic Neuritis and prescribed Prednisone suggesting the symptoms are usually temporary and my condition will like improve. Wrong. The next morning the symptoms worsened and I returned to the Clinic. After much ado, I was examined by Dr Shirley Wray, Resident Neurologist and immediately admitted to the Hospital with great concern over the severity of my condition. I spent 5 days under observation while undergoing thereapy with massive doses of intravenous Corticotropin Steroids. The symptoms abated but the sight in my left eye reduced to a 75% broken field of vision with no real light perception. I was discharged with instructions to self administer diminishing doses subcultaneously and diagnosed with having a severe case of Retrobulba Optic Neuritis that was statistically related to MS and that I was considered to have a 75% chance of devleloping more symptoms typical of MS.
I am pleased to report that 37 years later I am happily retired with health that is normal for my age and not complicated with MS. I miss the sight in my left eye but have adapted. I wake every morning first inspecting the vision in my good eye and thankful for it. I know now that Dr. Wray knew my left eye was damaged by what she referred to as a virus that was insidious and her objective was to save the right eye from the same fate.
I read about your Foundation in The Sunday edition of the Charlotte Sun with great interest and hope this story of mine will add to your database and give some consolence to those afficted with this disease. I am glad to hear some one has finally put a name on it. I am better informed by your Foundation and am eager to get involved.
Kenneth R. Clarke