click here), which detailed the American National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s repeated refusals to fund the only current ongoing FDA approved stem cell trial being done on MS patients in the nation, at The Tisch Multiple Sclerosis Research Center of New York. Your response has been a personal inspiration to me, and your comments and sharing of the article on social media have definitely been noticed by the powers that be.
Several readers have forwarded me statements they received from the NMSS in regards to phone calls or emails they sent to the Society in response to that Wheelchair Kamikaze post. The body of each example of the Society’s feedback includes identical text, apparently written by the Society’s communications department. Nothing wrong with that, per se, as any large organization needs to fashion a coordinated response to any issue of concern, but I do feel it necessary to make some points about the reply sent out by the NMSS. Here’s the heart of the text sent by the Society to those who inquired about the organization’s repeated lack of funding for the Tisch Center’s ongoing stem cell research efforts:
“Regarding stem cell research, the Society is currently funding 15 research projects exploring various types of stem cells, including cells derived from bone marrow, fat and skin. We have supported 70 stem cell studies over the past 10 years. We have also convened international meetings on the potential of stem cells to drive new, effective MS treatments.
The Society’s research funding decisions are determined with advice from internationally renowned scientific experts who review the more than 500 research proposals received each year. These volunteers bring a broad range of knowledge in different MS specialties, including stem cell research and clinical trials expertise. They help us determine each proposal’s scientific merit and relevance to MS, assess the originality of the proposed project, and evaluate the experience and scientific track record of the applicants.
The decision to not fund the Tisch MS Center stem cell clinical trial was based on the advice of a review committee comprised of experts with experience in stem cell research and clinical trials as well as perspective from individuals living with MS. The lead investigator, Dr. Saud Sadiq, received written feedback regarding the scientific evaluation of his proposal and was invited to reapply for funding to address the specific concerns. We are pleased to receive proposals from Dr. Sadiq and to work with him. In fact, the Society has collaborated with his research team on an innovative pilot project to understand one of the biological pathways in MS.
There is exciting progress being made through innovative research related to the potential of many types of stem cells for both slowing MS disease activity and for repairing damage to the nervous system. With the urgent need for more effective treatment for MS, especially progressive forms of the disease, we believe that the potential of all types of cell therapies must be explored.
Additional information about Society funded stem cell studies and stem cells research underway internationally can be found on our website http://www.nationalmssociety.org/Research/Research-We-Fund/Restoring-What-s-Been-Lost/Repairing-Damaged-Tissues/Stem-Cells-in-MS”
Although my own professional expertise on any of the matters outlined above is infinitesimally small compared to that of the internationally renowned scientific experts who decide which research efforts the NMSS will fund, I’ll take the liberty of commenting from my position of expertise as a patient being forced to slowly watch himself disappear courtesy a horrendous brain and body eating disease. I've also been a patient at the MS clinic that works hand-in-hand with the Tisch Center since 2004, and being the pain in the ass that I am I’ve become quite familiar to and with many of the doctors and researchers involved.
I’ll start my comments on the statement put out by the NMSS with a short, general critique of the Society : Too Much Pharma!
Now, I know that this criticism may sound simplistic, hyperbolic, and even a bit trite at this point, but the influence of Big Pharma on all aspects of medical research has been terribly corrosive, and not because the pharmaceutical companies are staffed by evil ogres intent on hiding cures from a nettlesome population of sick people. No, I honestly believe that the vast majority of pharmaceutical company employees are good people doing their jobs to the best of their abilities, and therein lies the crux of the problem.
The job of pharmaceutical company executives, who helm what are almost all publicly traded enterprises, is to make as much money as possible to keep their companies’ stock prices on an ever increasing upward trajectory. This creates a confounding conflict of interest; treating chronic diseases in perpetuity with hyper expensive drugs has become a very successful business model; curing them, on the other hand, kills that business model. Combine this dynamic with the fact that we’ve handed almost all of our mid and late stage medical research over to the pharmaceutical companies, and you have a research model that is dysfunctional to its core, and one which leads many to suspect that the pharmaceutical companies would use a variety of tactics to delay or suppress any potential treatments – like, say, stem cells – that might damage their core business model.
The NMSS has consistently stated that less than 5% of their donations come from Pharma. I’m not sure if this figure includes all of the advertising dollars the pharmaceutical companies spend on NMSS publications and events, but even if it does, it’s too much. I am always astounded by the massive amount of advertising contained in the NMSS’s primary publication, the slick quarterly magazine Momentum, which serves as the face of the organization that serves as the face of multiple sclerosis for most of the general population of America. It’s hardly a stretch to say that every other page contains a Madison Avenue type advertisement for one MS drug or another, the total effect of which makes it easy to perceive the NMSS as a mere extension of the pharmaceutical companies.
If indeed Pharma monies make up less than 5% of the Society’s yearly take, my best advice to them would be to divest themselves completely of these monies. The shortfall would in large part, I’m sure, be quickly made up by donations from people who have long held back from giving because of their perception of the NMSS being locked in Big Pharma’s embrace. The Society could continue educating patients about MS disease modifying drugs, and do so without even the slightest hint of being under the sway of the companies who manufacture them.
In contrast, the International Multiple Sclerosis Management Practice (IMSMP), the MS clinic associated with The Tisch Center, doesn’t even allow pharmaceutical company representatives through the front door. The doctors who work there are not allowed to take any pharmaceutical company largess, and the clinic is one of the few medical facilities I’ve ever visited that doesn’t have the name of one pharmaceutical product or another emblazoned on every pen, sticky note, and wall decoration in the place. You’ll find none of these things at the IMSMP, precisely because the physician who runs the facility, Dr. Saud Sadiq, is fiercely independent and refuses to let the influence of Big Pharma, no matter how subtle, cloud the judgments of the staff who works there.
It is true, as the statement put out by the NMSS asserts, that the society has funded research into stem cell therapy in the past, and is currently funding 15 stem cell trials in the US. The problem is, as best I can tell, all of those studies are early-stage studies being conducted in test tubes or on animals, and even if successful the benefits of these trials will not reach MS patients for at least a decade or more.
The study being conducted by the Tisch Center is a human trial, using living, breathing MS patients to test a technologically advanced stem cell therapy which, if successful, could revolutionize the treatment of multiple sclerosis in a relatively few number of years, not decades. The Tisch Center spent over 10 years doing test tube and animal research before getting their FDA approval, so that work has already been successfully completed. Again, this trial is the only FDA approved stem cell study currently being conducted on MS patients. The only other such trial that I know of was completed by the Cleveland Clinic last year.
The NMSS writes that their decision whether to fund a project depends on “each proposal’s scientific merit and relevance to MS”, assessment “of the originality of the proposed project”, and evaluation “of the experience and scientific track record of the applicants”. I spoke to one of my friends who works at the NMSS's headquarters in Denver, but due to confidentiality agreements between the Society and grant applicants they could not divulge whatever issues the NMSS may have had with the research being done by the Tisch Center. I can say that the research proved safe enough and showed enough potential coming out of the laboratory to be only the second MS stem cell trial to win FDA approval, and the Tisch center applied for NMSS grants on three separate occasions, each application addressing the issues the Society had with the last. I'm not sure what "individuals living with MS" the NMSS consulted with, but from where I sit (since I can barely stand) the research is most certainly relevant to MS.
Furthermore, the Tisch trial is using proprietary methods to transform raw stem cells into a type of stem cell specific to the central nervous system, a technique far more sophisticated than any previously used in human stem cell trials, and far more refined than the stem cell treatments being offered, at substantial cost, to patients by most offshore clinics. I’d say that accomplishment should tick the “originality” box on the list of NMSS requirements.
As for the “experience and scientific track record of the applicants”, if I were to list the research published by scientists at The Tisch Center in only the last five years, this post might just break the Internet. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration, but you can check out just some of the research being done by the Center on their website (click here).
The Society’s response to inquiries about their repeated rejections of the Tisch Center’s research proposals further states that “The lead investigator, Dr. Saud Sadiq, received written feedback regarding the scientific evaluation of his proposal and was invited to reapply for funding to address the specific concerns.” This is quite true. What is also quite true is that Dr. Sadiq submitted not one, not two, but three proposals to the NMSS, attempting each time to address their concerns, to no avail.
The first proposal was submitted before the trial received FDA approval, and one of the primary stated reasons for the NMSS’s rejection of that proposal was the fact that the trial wasn’t FDA approved. After the trial received FDA approval, another proposal was made, which was again rejected. Undaunted, and in need of funding to continue this vital research, the Tisch Center submitted a third proposal, which the researchers involved believed addressed the concerns expressed by the Society's most recent rejection. The third proposal was again rejected.
I’m not privy to the precise concerns expressed by the Society that were used to back up their rejection of the third and final grant proposal submitted by the Tisch Center. However, I do know that the trial did win an extremely rare FDA approval, is using state-of-the-art technology and techniques, is testing methodology that if successful will expand the boundaries of the science, and is being conducted by world-class researchers at a world-class facility in the heart of the biggest city in the nation.
Any safety concerns that the NMSS's experts may have had should have been alleviated by the FDA approval, and unless those experts included soothsayers and seers I'm not entirely sure how they could determine the odds of success for a trial the likes of which has never before been attempted. I may be admittedly biased, but I find it hard to imagine that the Society’s concerns were so dire that three rounds of proposals couldn’t result in a solution. Especially since, even as you read this, hundreds if not thousands of MS patients are flocking to medical tourism sites offering unproven stem cell treatments at facilities of widely varying quality at a cost of many tens of thousands of dollars out-of-pocket.
The NMSS further states that it is funding one pilot project currently underway at the Tisch Center, and this is true. The trial in question was funded back in 2011 to the tune of $44,000, which may seem like a substantial amount of money to the average Joe, but in the world of medical research is fairly negligible (keep in mind that the NMSS receives approximately $100 million worth of donations every year). I spoke with the head of fundraising at the Tisch Center, who told me that the NMSS may have funded another Tisch Center study back in 2005, but she’d have to dig through her files to confirm that. I told her not to bother.
So, there you have it, the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s response to inquiries as to why they refused to fund a trial that, in my humble opinion, has at least as much potential to change the lives of MS patients as any currently ongoing study, and my reaction to that response. Perhaps I’m partial since I am a patient of Dr. Sadiq’s, but my passion on the subject comes more from the desperation I feel as a human being whose body is being consumed by a relentlessly vicious disease, and not from my allegiance to any medical professional or facility. I promise.
I would urge those who feel similar passion to have their voices heard. The contact number for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is 800-344-4867. A list of the NMSS senior leadership team, including email links, can be found by (clicking here).
I would also ask that all opinions expressed or inquiries made be done so in as civil a manner as possible, as to a person the NMSS staffers I know personally are truly good people who are fully dedicated to the cause. It’s just the institution they work for that may be misguided…
Keep being a pain in the ass. It might save yours, mine, and others'. And, thank you.ReplyDelete
Judi, you're welcome. And I'm not sure I can really help being a pain in the ass, so I don't think I have a choice in the matter…Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.ReplyDelete
Well done, Marc! ... and thank you! I, too, will send a few polite emails.ReplyDelete
Thanks for helping out. I've been getting word that the NMSS is being flooded with emails…Delete
Proud of you in Canada, too! At least the MS Society in Canada is playing a small role in supporting some Stem Cell research in actual humans!ReplyDelete
Yes, kudos to the MS Society in Canada! I mentioned the study you provide a link to in my first post about this mess. I think it's great that the Canadian MS society has gotten on board…Delete
Has the NIH also declined to fund Dr. Sadiq's research?ReplyDelete
These days the NIH is under such a tight squeeze for funding that many, many projects are left without government assistance. You would think that medical research would be a top priority, but it appears politics trumps all in our current toxic political environment…Delete
I am relieved to hear that you don't think the NIH is in thrall to Big Pharma.Delete
The NMSS has nine committees that review grant proposals. You can see a listing here: http://www.nationalmssociety.org/For-Professionals/Researchers/Scientific-Peer-Reviewers
As far as I can see, all of the members have university affiliations. I think there is a great likelihood they have favor applicants who work in academic settings. Dr. Sadiq, for better or worse, works outside that system.
Thanks for posting that link. It's fine that the members of these committees have University and/or hospital affiliations, but what I'd really like to see are their affiliations with the pharmaceutical companies. I'd bet dollars to donuts that most of the MDs on the lists have accepted payments in one form or another from Big Pharma, and I suspect that many of the PhD researchers probably have as well. That's where the real problem lies, and that even if these folks aren't consciously skewing their decisions because of pharmaceutical company influence, by accepting such payments it's almost impossible that they aren't influenced on some subconscious level, at the least…Delete
Going after a kingmaker is more work than any individual target, but eventually “Refusing to Fund Research” resonates big enough, and the charade collapses. Easy to say, sure, but quoting a 44K figure reeks of arrogant backpedaling. Keep that pressure on as an inside man Marc; you’ve got them scrambling. We can be ‘not worth the publicity’, top research can get properly funded, perhaps a drug company will partner. Good publicity can be a profit maker too. Raise the price of a half dozen depression drugs, the sheets will balance. Meantime I’m going to send a few polite emails. Thanks MarcReplyDelete
Thanks for joining the email brigade, Tom. As for the pharmaceutical companies partnering with any of the stem cell researchers, don't hold your breath. If anything, they are trying their best to get stem cells deemed pharmaceutical products by the FDA so that they can take control. Don't forget, there are billions and billions and billions of dollars being generated by keeping patients on hyper expensive MS drugs indefinitely. There are biotech companies trying to come up with stem cell derived products, in an attempt to cash in on the technology. It's all for the love of money…Delete
Can I donate directly to the Tisch study?ReplyDelete
Check out this page for ways to donate.Delete
Thanks for providing that link, anonymous. Here's a clickable link, just to make it easier:Delete
Donate to Tisch
Dear Marc, I sent a few emails and I received a response from Timothy Coetzee, Ph.D.,Chief Advocacy, Services, and Research Officer of the National MS Society. He said that he believes the trial is fully funded and is looking forward to the results. Is the trial fully funded? Mary BethReplyDelete
I spoke to the Tisch Center today, and was assured that the trial is not fully funded. The Tisch Foundation raised the final $300,000 needed to start the trial through an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, but more funds would mean that the laboratories could be expanded and the trial could proceed at a quicker pace. And, since this is a phase 1 trial whose primary endpoint is safety, in all likelihood there will be a phase 2 trial that needs to be fully funded…Delete
Thanks for the information, Marc. I will respond to Dr. Coetzee reply accordingly.Delete
The problem I have with the reply from the society is the statement "With the urgent need for more effective treatment for MS." I don't want to treat the disease - I want to End It! You know, CURE IT. While I am sure this is the underlying goal of National MS Society, I am disturbed as I see "treatment" options listed everywhere without a clear goal in sight. Heck, Pharma offers "treatment" for the disease, some more effective than others, at a nice profit for themselves. But treatment is only going to be good as long as I can pay for it, or get someone else to pay for it. This is a flawed option, at best. I think it may be time for the many-tentacled beast to review it's arms and aims. I don't question their funding decisions, but the underlying belief of what they can do.ReplyDelete
In all fairness to the Society, I spoke with somebody at their headquarters in Denver about this very issue. I was told that they intentionally don't use the word "cure" on their website because that word means different things to different people. To some, a cure means going back to their normal, pre-MS state. To others, it means simply stopping the disease in its tracks. Yet others might look at a cure as something that will keep people from getting the disease in the future, but not do anything to help those who currently have it. So, the Society decided to go with "treatment". Make of that info whatever you like…Delete
While I am sure that there are many great people on staff at the Society, to me the organization's heavy emphasis on living one's "best" life with MS -- "MS doesn't have me" -- seems like the Emperor's new clothes. MS certainly "has" the lives of patients who are physically, emotionally, and financially devastated by the disease.ReplyDelete
Please, the whole "MS doesn't have me" line makes me want to puke. I think it's great that there are MSers who are running marathons and climbing mountains, but featuring them gives the general public a very one-sided view of the disease. Yes, there are people out there whose MS is "invisible", but there are also patients who are themselves invisible because of MS, housebound or worse. How about shedding a little light on them, and showing the world the ugly side of multiple sclerosis. I always thought it was kind of perverse that the NMSS's major fundraising vehicle are "MS walks", when so many people with MS can't walk.ReplyDelete
Amen! It's deeply disappointing. The very organization that's supposed to advocate for patients is instead encouraging the public to view MS as "not much" of a disease.Delete
Absolutely agree with the dislike of the MS Soc's airy fairy, MS is not that bad approach. What a breath of fresh air to hear someone who echoes my views.Bart's of London ( Prof G et al) came up with a tube map (underground) showing various routes one's MS could take, one of the national MS charities wanted to use it , but wanted to omit the route which was terminal on the grounds it might scare people. Given the majority of dx MSers are in their 30's it's about time people were treated as adults and the need to constantly sugar coat and send out positive messages should be questioned.Delete
For the record, I have done 2 "Walk" MS events in a wheelchair and one after being released from the hospital the night before my 1st "Walk" due to severe complications from my MS. One of my partners struggles from PTSD after having been diagnosed with MS after a tour of duty in Afghanistan serving our country and my other partner lives in a wheelchair with a full time aide. To be surrounded by the multitude of people with MS covering every spectrum of this badass disease was a very life changing moment for me. Before that 1st walk I was fearful and afraid to be a voice of change. My outlook on living with progressive-relapsing MS was PROFOUNDLY CHANGED in that moment. I also happen to be gorgeous and no one knows what my inner life is like. How dare you make such foolish assumptions about fellow MS'ers and an organization that may NOT BE PERFECT, but has the best interests of everyone with MS at heart and supports the ridiculous number of people who struggle with this disease every bloody day. I am tired of being judged because I choose to support the big boys on the block. I also am involved with many smaller organizations and work with individuals because I wish to touch and make a difference in the lives of each person I connect with who has MS, Parkinson's disease or are just struggling with any of the numerous other life changing moments. Quit bitching at the big boys and God bless those who make those individual donations to Tisch center as they are likely people like me who wish to support ALL missions to cure this disease. Thank you for this post as I have been struggling to rediscover my voice of strength after the first post! I think it's back and I am forever grateful.Delete
I'm very happy that I helped you get your voice back, even if it was by inadvertently getting you angry. I'm also glad that the NMSS helped you find yourself by giving you a chance to interact with others who share the disease. I will, though, continue to "dare" to make my assumptions about the Society, based on my knowledge of how the organization operates and where many of its priorities lie. I applaud the NMSS for its efforts at patient outreach and support, however, when it comes to the research side of the equation, they fall far short. I'd advise you look at the last comment on this post (the one by Jennifer Ziegler) and follow the links she provides. The researchers and doctors who make the decisions as to which projects to fund receive large amounts of money from the pharmaceutical companies, as do many doctors in this country, which sets up a huge conflict of interest problems. This fact is unavoidable, and if people want to contribute to organizations that are fully focused on finding a cure to this disease, which are not nearly as married to the MS status quo as the NMSS, I'd politely suggest they direct their monies to the Myelin Repair Foundation (whose president suffers from PPMS), The Accelerated Cure Project, or the Tisch Center. As I've stated, the NMSS has helped many patients, but after decades as the face of multiple sclerosis their research efforts have fallen woefully short. We need a revolution, not evolution, and the Society needs to re-examine its priorities… Thanks for your comment, and keep fighting the good fight…Delete
As you pointed out and as I have mentioned many times to all those say to me, "But my friend has MS and you can hardly tell". Well, when your friend has an episode and is blind or in a wheelchair for two months, I doubt that you see that part of MS. As well, all those who are in nursing homes, or confined to home in bed are the silent, forgotten victims of a camapaign that makes MS look like a very treatable inconvenience. Even those who are years into MS and the progression is slow, have lost jobs, relationships, functionality and social life. There just isn't a good side to MS.ReplyDelete
And, if I see one more tongue with a pill on it, I will puke with you.
Hi Hilda, no, there is no good side to MS, that's for damned sure. The fact that the ugly side of MS is kept from public view outrages me. Will it make some people uncomfortable to see this side of the disease? Surely, and that's the point. As a society we've made every effort to sanitize life, the result of which means that everybody is walking around in a kind of bubble, oblivious to the reality of what's going on "out there". Well, best as I can tell, being lost in oblivion has never solved any problems. That's swirling sound you hear is our society circling the drain…Delete
I recently joined this community after having lost my Mother and Brother to this illness. My Mother had PPMS and brother is destroyed with SPMS, I have tried to join the conversation before now, but never quite managed to hit the publish button. Am now a naturalized New Yorker; here is a story, with some hope, from the old country (for those with inflammatory disease):ReplyDelete
Hi anonymous, so sorry it took me so long to respond to your comment, sometimes life just gets in the way. Congrats on your becoming a New Yorker, but I'm so sorry to hear about the plight of your brother and mother. Such a cruel disease. Thanks for the link you provided, it's news like that which engenders the hope we all cling to. Wishing you the best…Delete
First off let me say how much I love reading your posts. Not only are they very informative, but they are always right on the spot about how we feel no matter what stage of the disease we are in. Now, onto the post about MS Societies funding - I posted your first piece on our local MS Support Group Facebook page and it was removed (by whom I do not know) and I was also contacted by the local MS Society by phone to talk about this post. Apparently you (and myself) hit a nerve. I did not get the call first hand and only had a voicemail. I deleted the message. I did not want to talk to anyone as usually I cannot keep my thoughts precise and I end up feeling depressed that I could not represent myself properly. I am disappointed that the Society looks at this as an attack, instead of using it to improve their connection to those they say they represent. I, myself, do not like the way their business model goes about getting donations. I participated in a walk last year and this year have received an email assuming I was again joining in on the current walk. There was no asking me if I would like to participate, just a notice that they have already signed me up. I was shocked and mad. What ever happened to common sense and respect. Again I realize that this has become the modus operandi of so many charity business practices in their fund raising efforts. Don't ask, just sign them up. So the National MS Society is not one of my favorite organizations lately.ReplyDelete
Unfortunately, the NMSS is, in my opinion, much too entwined with the MS status quo. The organization means well, and the people who work within it are invariably well-intentioned, but the MS status quo sucks. What's needed is disruption, and the NMSS is fastidiously nondisruptive. Once organizations reach a certain size, they develop a momentum of all their own, and I fear the momentum of the national MS society is taking it in the wrong direction…Delete
I sat on the government relations committee for the Lonestar Chapter of the MS society for 3 sessions. I worked with some amazing people who care a lot about those living with MS. The MS society is exceptional with it's programs and services helping those who live with MS do things like pay utility bills, find housing, etc....They are also experts in raising thousands and thousands of $$$'s. I did a bit of checking into why the MS society didn't fund a study like the Tisch MS study. What I suspected to be true was true. If you look at the doctors who sit on the committees who decide where all the $$$ goes, and then look at the open records to see how much money these doc's receive from big pharma yearly, you might start to get the whole picture! One particular doc in my area who sits on the "Clinical and Translational Research Committee" received 80K from Teva and Biogen in 2013! I was shocked! I think it would be safe to say other doc's are similar! So the MS society says it doesn't receive that much from big pharma, but the doctors making the research $$$ decisions do! In my book that is COI galore! Here are the links! See why your neuro took home from big pharm!ReplyDelete
Yes, I've had the same suspicions. Of course, all of these doctors and researchers would deny that any of that Pharma money influences their decision-making processes, but how could it not? The fact that Pharma is allowed to basically pay off for doctors, and has been handed the reins to almost all late stage medical research in this country, is absolutely outrageous. And yet that is the reality that we deal with. As I said in my response to Livy, what's desperately needed is some disruption of the current system, but any such attempt is met with resistance from all sides. The situation is revolting (pun intended).Delete
I am one of those MS patients going offshore to get Stem Cells. It is absolutely galling that the biggest, most prominent organization that is supposed to support us and takes in enormous amounts of money to do so, will not fund this trial. It is so obvious what the issue is. The world is moving forward in the regenerative medicine of Stem Cells and the myriad of obstacles in the US is mimd blowing. The NMSS is seriously compounding this problem. I'm disgusted.ReplyDelete
Judi, the NMSS does do some really good work, but they are simply too much a part of the status quo when it comes to MS research. They do need to change their ways. Thanks for your comment… Good luck with the stem cells!Delete
Hi Marc, I was diagnosed with RRMS in 2001. I have been physically active all of my life and, despite toe drop and crushing fatigue, I am still able to get around physically. What has impacted my life most is the cognitive impairment. I can walk, brush my teeth, put my shoes on, etc. but was unable to connect a paragraph in an article with the one above or follow the story line of a TV documentary up until 2006. It was not until 2011 that I was able to understand how much MS had impacted my life and talk with my physicians about the spectrum of symptoms that are associated with MS, expected disease progression and my treatment options. I started reading your blog two years ago and am deeply grateful for the time and effort you are putting into giving us a voice. It also provides me with a perspective that I would otherwise never have been able to obtain in the thought vacuum I exist in. Best wishes. Michael SpringerReplyDelete
Michael, so sorry to hear of your diagnosis and subsequent struggle with the disease. It seems to affect all of us in very individual ways, which makes things even more maddening. I shouldn't bore you with any platitudes about "hanging tough" or "fighting the good fight", but hang tough and fight the good fight. Glad to hear that my words have been of help to you, I only wish we shared some other, much more pleasant, bond…Delete