Posted - December 2011 in Community Members
I was born in New Zealand where I grew up in a large family. My wife, son and I moved to Australia when I was 28 years old and we settled in the Blue Mountains where we have lived for the past 37 years.
I was a Primary school teacher, which I loved but at about age 47, others noticed that I had a gait problem. At age 56, my walk was bad enough to prompt me to see my family doctor. Tests revealed that I didn’t have Multiple Sclerosis or Motor Neurone Disease but an x-ray revealed I had a protruding disc that was compressing my spinal cord. Maybe this was the cause! This was fixed with surgery but my walking problem was still there. The neurologist did further tests and concluded that I had HSP.
Over the last 8 years the effects of HSP have slowly worsened. It has seriously affected my mobility, but holding my wife’s arm while out walking certainly helps. I need handrails to walk up and down stairs and shopping trolleys are a great aid to walking in shops. Walking in the dark is a total no-no. My feet hurt a great deal due to my toes clawing but a visit to the podiatrist every 6 weeks or so does help.
I still try to do everything and garden, build, housework and help at school from time to time. I anticipate that within 2 years I will need a walker. I have tried walking sticks but find they only make things worse. I know of no one in my family who has this disease. My lovely wife is very helpful which makes things much easier.