A New Year, A New Name

Those of you receiving the article in you email box will notice a new name: “French Settlement Disease” with the formal name being Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP).

We are there.

Not much is known about this disease, other than what is released in this article published by LSUHSC.

I spoke to my neuro and he said this was my diagnosis in the beginning and he is reaffirming it. I should do so with my family tree.

I am the genealogist in the family. However, I worked the tree with old tools. My neighbor, sharing much of my family tree, and with modern tools, has accomplished more conclusive research.

We did come from Livingston Parish. This is one of the requirements for HSD. HSD is thought to come from a single German couple that moved to French Settlement in Livingston Parish. Strangely enough, my wife had purchased a genetic test for me, prior to me scouring my medical records.

Within a couple of months, we will see if I have German Ancestry in my DNA. That would fairly well cinch the diagnosis. As I have the symptoms listed in the document and my treatment plan is exact as stated in the document, we will have little more to discuss.

I am a paraplegic.

I broke down yesterday. I was stricken to my bed most of the day. My wheels had to carry me most everywhere. The pain in my back and legs were immense. I would say even with my strong meds the pain level was above eight.

In part, I did it to myself. I enjoyed Christmas, a bit too much. I stressed my muscles. I went to a party and insisted on using my cane as long as I could. This contributed greatly to my physical downfall and current condition. I feel I will be in my chair for a while now, my legs and back still screaming at me.

My internal question is this: Should I forgo walking and just rely on the chair from now on? Or do I continue as I do, walking when I can and then recover for days afterward for exercising my temporary gift of verticality?

In Christ,

Jay C. “Jazzy_J” Theriot