Full authenticity is an important business topic today. For example, prolific blogger and best-selling author Gary Vaynerchuk promotes authenticity constantly in his LinkedIn posts to build your brand.
I want to be authentic to build my brand and my relationships. A lot of my authenticity comes from my medical issues that affect my business. I talked about an important medical discovery recently that gets me closer to a treatment plan. However, in the interests of full authenticity, here’s a timeline of my major medical issues that brought me to where I am today.
- 1977: At age 7, I fell and hit my head on a solid concrete walkway outside my classroom.This happened because I was too eager to go home.
- 1979: At age 9, I fell and hit my head on concrete just as I did when I was 7. Soon after, I fell from about 5 feet up and hit my head on an exposed tree root in the playground.
- 1998: I injured my right hand, arm, and shoulder at my work site and I needed physical therapy.
- 1999: I felt dizzy and collapsed as I worked in my home office one evening. A virus caused the problem and the eventual loss of my job with CableData (now Amdocs). After a few months, the virus left my system with hyperacusis (very sensitive hearing) and tinnitus in its wake. The neurologist who evaluated me said this virus has one of two outcomes: hyperacusis or total deafness.
- 2003: I re-injured my right hand, arm, and shoulder and required more physical therapy.
- 2004: My primary doctor diagnosed me with Raynaud’s Disease. This circulatory disorder causes extremities to become cold and painful at times.
The Migraines Come
- November 2004: I began experiencing more dizziness, balance problems, and disorientation, which led to me losing another job in early 2005.
- 2005: The head of the ENT department at the University of California Davis Medical Center diagnosed migraine was my problem. By summer 2005, I had no working balance system and required physical therapy to learn to walk again.
- 2011: On August 6, I tried to go to sleep but instead shook violently in my bed off and on for a period of 10 hours. This violent shaking continued intermittently and began to occur every time I would lie down, and sometimes when sitting up, starting in early 2012.
- 2012: I lost my voice on March 14 and could only whisper because the shaking in my neck enlarged my neck muscles and pressed down on my throat. Over time, I trained myself to speak in a low rasp for short periods.
- 2013: I started to wheeze several times a day and have brief trouble breathing several times per month. This issue continues today.
FMD and Brain Damage
- 2013: One or more limbs started to freeze every time I would lie down. I learned that dystonia was the name for this condition.
- 2017: A neurologist at University of California San Francisco diagnosed functional movement disorder (FMD) as the cause for my shaking and dystonia. The neurologist referred me to Stanford Medical Center as their neurology department studies FMD. Stanford doesn’t accept my medical insurance.
- 2019: My primary doctor and neurologist conclude that I have frontal lobe brain damage that was caused by my childhood falls. The damage explained current and past issues including relationship building and memory problems. The shaking and dystonia happen when I lie down and occur off and on for an average of 2 hours before I can sleep. The length of FMD events can be as little as 15 minutes or as long as 6 hours. I also experience dystonia of all limbs for about an hour a few times per month. The FMD has also caused significant weight loss as you can see in my most recent photo.
The result is that I’m in constant pain and I’m tired often. I categorize my health into not-so-bad, bad, and really bad days. Not-so-bad means I have few sharp headaches throughout the day, and I may have less dull pain and pressure in my head. When I have a bad day, I have more sharp headaches, dizziness, and body-wide pain. A really bad day means one or more of these problems are acute and I may need to go to the emergency room.
I hope this full authenticity helps explain why I’m limited. My next post will tell you how I’m managing it.