After a busy summer of traveling weeks at a time, I was enjoying spending time at home with my wife, Elin, and our dog, Kona. My event schedule for most of October through March was empty. With the exception of managing the 10th annual MS5000 motorcycle mileage contest, I was left with raking leaves, fixing things around the house and going for rides on our new Yamaha e-bikes.
Of course, being home for a bit slowed me enough to address some of the non-MS related aches and pains I had been experiencing including persistent sciatica and some stubborn swelling in one ankle, one knee and one middle finger. My corneal transplant from a few years ago was the real issue I was worried about facing because my left eye was becoming cloudy early in the day and by afternoon, I was looking through wax paper. I guessed the donor tissue was failing and I was not looking forward to a second operation, especially after my experiences the first time around. It took a full year after the transplant before I was fitted with a special scleral lens that I since have had to wear daily in addition to my glasses for distance and reading. Even with both prescriptions, I was still unable to see as well as I did the day before getting the operation. The lens has created it’s own set of issues with swelling and irritation; not ideal when riding in the wind for dozens of hours at a time. Without the specialty lens in my left eye however, my vision is 20/400.
Sure enough, the eye doctor said the donor graph was failing and I would need a second transplant to solve the cloudiness issue. A second transplant was no guarantee however that my vision would get any better, so there’s that to look forward to.
As I was leaving my eye appointment, I received a message from Yamaha’s Service Director asking if I would be willing to speak at their National Service Meeting in Marietta Georgia the second week in December. It was just what I needed at just the right moment. A few days away, a coupe thousand miles on the bike to finish out the year and a way to get my mind off the impending eye operation. I would just have to plan around riding in the dark!
A day or two later, a completely different Yamaha department invited me to take part in a press launch they were having for a new motorcycle. The event was in southern California the first full week in December. It was going to be close, but my mapping program said I could make both events. My last ride of the season was now almost 7,000 miles and would entail riding coast to coast twice with a stop in Atlanta!
A few days after accepting both events, while getting the bike and my winter gear ready for the long cold trip, I realized my aches and pains had disappeared! Just the act of planning and getting ready to do what I love was helping me heal! The trip will add more miles towards my million mile goal for Multiple Sclerosis and more of what I call Motomedicine!
I wonder how far I need to ride my motorcycle to get my vision back?