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Michael Olson



…so I head off to the clinic yesterday – stopping for breakfast along the way so I can finish filling out my medication diary for them – and go through the business of getting poked and prodded (and no, that isn’t just a cute line with these guys), and we have come to the decision that I’m probably going through an exacerbation. Now, whether it qualifies as an exacerbation under THEIR definition (time frame, degree of worsening, etc.) remains to be seen – I should be getting a call from them sometime on Monday to decide what to do. I really don’t like the idea of this – it’s as if I’ve been in denial about this whole thing from the beginning, and somehow taking Rebif will validate the disease. I really don’t know what that will do to my psyche, but I find the entire situation highly annoying…

Yesterday I had a lousy drive to the gig – no less than 5 accidents between here and E470. Took 1:45 to do what should have taken 1:05. And I guess I got stressed, and bored, because I started finding bottles of water in the car to drink, and so I did. Unfortunately, my kidneys are like a sieve, and when I got out to grab my basses and head inside, I really had to go. And while rummaging around in the trunk to find cables and pedals that I needed, well….


Thankfully it wasn’t noticeable by anyone else – dark pants and all – and it wasn’t all that much, but just the fact of it…

Makes me feel like a 6 year old or something. So I was on edge the entire night. It’s really hard to shake someone’s hand and smile when you know you’d rather be home taking a hot shower.

So that was yesterday… let’s hope my weekend goes a little better. Gonna grab my stage clothes and head off to see my GF and do a whole lot of nothin’ today. It’s a good plan, methinks.



…that I’ve been on the placebo.

I’m not the only one who’s noticing a change in me over the last month or so. It’s been very gradual, but I can tell that it’s not just the heat that’s making me so tired and making my hands get weaker by the end of the gig. Something has been sneaking up on me and making things worse… and my best guess is that it’s a new relapse.

Now if I could only get ahold of the folks from Alpine – we’ve been playing email and phone tag for a few days. I’m sure they’re not ignoring me – lots going on, and a few messages back and forth were garbled – but it’s definitely time to have someone give me the once-over and see what’s up.

If things go the way I hope, they’ll put me on Rebif at no cost to me. Good thing, too – the CRAB drugs can cost as much as a mortgage and then some (sometimes upwards of $1500-2000/mo). Sounds weird hoping that they’ll put me on a drug I have to inject 3 times a week and that may make me feel nauseous, but so far what I HAVE been doing just ain’t working.

I’m resting for the night (even though I have about 5 calls to make, and I ought to get right to them), so hopefully I’ll be okay for the next two days (studio work – hooray!). We’ll see.

There’s a half full glass of beer on the floor about 3 feet away. I don’t even know if I have the energy to get up and grab it. Every time I reach out to grab things, some of my muscles seem to work in reverse – it’s as if part of me doesn’t want to make the motion I’m trying to do.

And this is BEER we’re talking about – not a glass of water, or even a wad of cash, but BEER.

That’s how bad things are getting. So it’s time.



Well, so much for my pledge to keep up to date on this thing… Oh, well.

Suffice it to say that I’ll get to this stuff when I’m darned good and ready, okay? Hey, it works for most people I know…

So here I am doing the same thing I’ve been doing, pretty much. Not really a whole lot in the way of changes, save for the following:

I think I’m getting worse. It’s really hard to tell, though – I don’t have the same ‘sudden onset’ of symptoms that many of my friends with MS describe. As a matter of fact, it’s so gradual that usually I’m not the first one to notice that something is wrong. But upon reflection, I can tell that my fingers are not the same as they once were – they get tired and weak towards the end of gigs sometimes (usually when it’s been very hot that day), and that in itself causes problems. I used to have good walking days and bad walking days; now I pretty much only have bad walking days. Things feel better at the end of the day for some reason, but even that is here and there at best. So it’s time to call the research center and schedule a visit to see if I ought to be put on Rebif (and hopefully they’ll decide to pay for it!). Ugh. The idea of injecting myself is not terribly palatable…

Still teaching away; still gigging away; still recording away. That part is all very good. Finally got my WishBass delivered – a custom 6 string archtop hollowbody fretless. A bass only a mother could love – it’s pretty incredible! It’s a bit of an unfinished project in its current state, but at least the hard part is done.

Currently driving the car I bought back from my ex instead of my van. Better gas mileage, less issues with parking and A/C and whatnot, safer to leave things in the trunk. It also leads into a terrific joke:

FRIEND: Hey, is that a new car?

ME: No, it’s the car I got for my wife.

FRIEND: (looks over car) Looks like you got the better end of the deal!

(K, I know you’ll read this sooner or later – it’s a bleedin’ joke, fer cryin’ out loud…)

Looks like I get to go and visit my brother and his wife at the end of September. Gonna be me, my mom, my sister, and my niece. Never been to North Carolina, but I’ll bet it’s beautiful in the early fall. I hope the cops at DIA don’t give me a speeding ticket on my scooter!

Enjoying my new condo quite a bit. Especially like the ‘no stairs’ aspect of it. Slowly getting it tricked out to accomodate my physical issues – booster ring in the bathroom, handlebars in the shower, ramp for the scooter (graciously donated by a friend of the MS society – it’s totally retro, but it goes QUICK!). I guess as long as I don’t need handlebars for the toilet I can count myself ahead of the game; it’d be cool to have some from a motorcycle though – I could even make the engine sounds as I’m… ah, well, nevermind.

So, like I said, not much new going on. But there’s your update. Now I can rid myself of one of the many things perpetuating my guilty conscience… if only for a few days…



Okay, then, I guess I have a little more responsibility keeping up to date on this than originally thought… well, here goes…

GF got me (us!) two PAIRS of tickets to the Rockies/Dodgers games today and tomorrow! Currently cancelling students and getting ready to scram out of here early afternoon so we can make the brewery tour before the game tonight. Just yesterday, however, I began thinking about all the walking that would entail, and how wobbly I’ve been of late, and started thinking about alternatives. And a rolling walker came to mind…

…They’re called “rollators.” Part walker, part bicycle hand brake, part pushcart, part mobile situpon. Very handy, a little intimidating looking, and certainly something you’d see being pushed around by a hunched-over little old lady. Got a good mental image? Good. They’re pricey little buggers, but I gave one a test drive, and I liked the idea. Called around to see if someone would rent one, and a place here in Fort Fun actually GAVE one to me to use for the week! How cool is that?

If I get one, it’ll be much more ergonomically designed than this one – it’s a dinosaur (which is why they didn’t mind me taking it, I’m sure), but fully functional, and certainly safer than the stick I had planned to use exclusively. And the way this basket hangs underneath the front bar, and the way my walking stick collapses, I can hang my stick off the front of it and use IT when it’s more convenient (bathroom, stairs, etc.).

So we get brewery/distillery tour this afternoon, game tonight, breakfast tomorrow, quick stop at same brewery for lunch, free parking at the brewery both times, and game tomorrow afternoon, after which I’ll be ready for my gig that same night. It’s like a mini vacation. Not a bad way to go. Tickets are 1st row, right field – yeah, I’m bringing my mitt. If I catch a Todd Helton blast or a Nomah Gahciapaaruh jack I can die a happy man.



Yeah, I know it’s been 2 months. I guess there’s really nothing new to report… no new changes in my health, situation, GF, life, yadda yadda yadda. Kinda hard to want to talk about yourself when you feel like people could just scroll down and get the gist of what’s going on today. So, apologies for being absent and rude, but not much has changed.

I get an MRI next month to see how closely my brain resembles swiss cheese after the course of meds they put me on. Knowing that this is a chemotherapy-based drug, I wonder if I should have been feeling some pretty weird side effects by now. Wouldn’t be surprised if I’m on the placebo anyway. BUT… I’m really not getting any WORSE, so maybe that’s the effect of the drug as well. Who knows.

Thinking of getting a rollator for the house. You’ll have to look it up – it’ll be an education for you. Might be a good training tool for my legs and let me get more exercise that way.

Avalanche missed the playoffs BY ONE STINKIN’ POINT. What makes matters worse is that the Nuggets DID make it, and could go deep with the right roll of the dice. I really didn’t want to have to listen to an extended basketball season. Alack the day!

Anyhoo, like I said… not much to tell here. When something changes and/or I need to vent (yeah – like THAT ever happens ;) ), you’ll be the first to know.



Well, if you’ve been waiting with baited breath for the next installment of my blog, you’re in luck (but you probably also need a mint first)…

Brief update on my life – it’s very late and I need to inspect my eyelids and make sure there aren’t any holes here soon:

-Moved into my new condo – it’s terrific, but I wonder if I’ll ever have time to set everything up and unpack every single box and get organized – too many gigs and too many students and too much recording work and too many things hovering over my head that I have to take care of and so on and so on, ad infinitum, ad nauseam.

-Just got my real computer hooked up yesterday. Was using my old backup, which officially bit the bag and stepped out the door 3 days ago. Perfect timing.

-Officially divorced from wifey #2 – got the papers in the mail just a few days ago. Happy to have that behind me; still a little shocked that it didn’t work, but also shocked that I ever thought it could. Have no ill will towards her at all (and if you’re reading this, K, you’ll always be in my prayers).

-Currently dating a terrific lady from the Denver area (Oops, K – maybe you shouldn’t have found this site) – I shall tell no tales here, but we get along very well and share a boatload of common interests. She’s pretty darned cool. :-)

-I’ve completed my 2nd round of pills from the clinical trial mentioned in my last post – still have no clue if I’m on the good stuff or the phoney baloney. No major changes in my health yet – stay tuned.

-We’re in for our 6th snowstorm in 4 weeks coming this weekend – the first one was a DOOZEY, dumping well over 2 FEET of the white slop and effectively contributing to at least 5 cancelled gigs and approximately 25 lessons lost. Big chunk of change gone, and not so good of a time for it with my first mortgage payment pending. But such is life – everyone took quite a hit with these storms, so why should I be any different? You know, so many people lost money to the blizzards – where did all that money go? Who got rich off of us because Mother Nature decided to have a hissy fit? Who sits there, staring at The Weather Channel at 3:45am, going, “COME ON, STORMS! LOOSE YOUR CANNONS AND GIVE US WHATCHA GOT!”? Whose wife is getting a tennis bracelet for Arbor Day because they got rich off of us? And how do I get a gig like that?

You know what Arbor Day, is, right? It’s when all the ships come sailing into the Arbor!…

-Falling has become a major symptom and common occurrence since my last exacerbation. Usually 2-3 times a week my world goes topsy-turvy and I end up on the hardwood. Sometimes it’s the vertigo having fun at my expense; sometimes a crack in the sidewalk jumps out and grabs my toes and pulls me down. Just tonight I tripped over a manhole cover properly installed in the asphalt in the parking lot of Nissi’s (did a gig there tonight). Haven’t looked at my left knee yet, but it’s sure to be a grapefruit by morning…

-Still playing at Whitefields Community Church in Longmont with Matt and Jorie Henderson and Pastor Pete (which sounds just enough like Pistol Pete to make me smile every time I hear it). Great group of folks there – I really feel the spirit of the Lord in that cold gymnasium. It’s amazing!

-Seahawks bit the big one against the Bears. Oh well – that’s what losing most of the offensive starters for most of the season will do to a team. Just wait ’til next year! (Do I sound like a Cubbies fan?)

Okay – off to bed. Lemme know if there’s anything I left out, okay?


I’M IN! I’M IN!!!!!! HOORAY!!!!!

Got the call today from Boulder – I’ve been accepted into the study! I get to take a pill 5 days out of the month to see how it reacts to the holes in my head. Pretty darned cool! Headed down on Monday morning to begin the trial. Sure hope I don’t get the placebo… but more importantly, I hope I just get better no matter WHAT pill I end up taking. Guess I won’t find out until the end of the study (or until something goes wrong and they have to put me on Interferon to bring me out of my flareup, at which point I’ll know I was on a sugarpill and I’ll be out anyway). I’ve heard that even people on the placebo tend to do very well on these clinical studies, so I’m excited! Longs Peak, here I come! :-D

The next week is going to be CRAZY. Trying to move and having to deal with 4 major shows in 4 nights is going to be daunting to say the least. Lucrative, but daunting. But I’ve got lots of friends willing to help, plus a mother who is willing to coordinate everything for me so me and my lesions don’t have to try to organize all of this. My mom is the coolest – and don’t ever let anyone tell you different.

Anyway, short blog post – so little to do and so much time!

Wait – scratch that… reverse it. Thanks. ;-)



Woke up to MINUS EIGHT DEGREES today. Last day of November, and just a few months ago it was 107°. Later this winter it could get as cold as -20°F, which gives us a temp. range of just shy of 130 degrees. Nothing like living in an area where the climate has multiple personalities…

There’s also 7″ of snow on the ground here. At least the snow goes well with the temps – but yesterday I had a near disaster at my storage unit… not thinking that I was going to be there too terribly long, I didn’t wear any gloves, and after an avalanche of freezing cold boxes that I had to restack and a nasty slip on the ice that left me pretty bruised and in pain, I made it back to the car to find that my hands weren’t moving. They had almost frozen – and this is not an exaggeration.

I spent 10 minutes thawing them out with the heater in the car, followed by 15 minutes of screaming in pain as my hands slowly came back to life. Lesson learned – I have new concerns now with my new situation, and since my hands are my life, now more than ever, I have to take EXTRA good care of them.

So today I’m off to REI or some such place to buy – no, INVEST IN a really nice pair of gloves. My hands are worth it, my CAREER is worth it. Because now, without my hands in tip top shape, it’s disability time for me, which is a rather depressing thought.

After that I’m off to Denver for the closing on MY NEW CONDO!!!!! HOORAY!!!! IT’S MINE, ALL MINE, AND NONE OF YOU CAN HAVE IT! HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE HEE!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, enough of that. But it’s STILL pretty cool.

Now I’m off to do all the things I said I was gonna do – thanks for dropping by!



Thursday I drove to Boulder AM so I could see if I qualify to take part in this clinical study for a new MS drug that has had great success in Europe. So I got poked and prodded for a few hours, filled out a bunch of forms, learned just how messy I could sign my initials by the 125th time, and fell asleep in an MRI tube while they took pictures of the inside of my skull and sent them off to Boston. I’m curious to see what they have to say – on one hand, if I get accepted, that means that I have enough lesions in my head to make it worth their while, and while that sucks that I’m so far along while only being 6 weeks into my DX (short for ‘diagnosis’), it means free treatment for the next 2 years. On the other hand, if they don’t see enough lesions to accept me, that’s a good thing too, right? Then again, if that’s the case, why do I have so many symptoms?

My left foot is starting to drop as well – I think it might be because it’s taking the brunt of the punishment I normally dole out to each leg equally. Who knows. Good thing my shoes have no traction on them, because getting around these days involves me sticking my cane out in front of me and dragging my feet towards it. Annoying. Bringing in groceries is a major ordeal anymore.

Anyway, did the AM thing in Boulder, and went to the coolest hardware store on the planet: McGuckin Hardware. If you know anything at all about hardware stores of the past (20-30 years ago or more), and can’t stand the warehouse feel of Home Depot or Lowe’s, you’d LOVE this place. You can find anything you want there, and people are willing to help you, and the stuff is quality, and – I could go on and on. Even people who normally hate hardware stores like this place a lot! Even though I only got an allen wrench to adjust the bridges on my jazz basses, I had a great time there. Lotsa cool stuff.

Went to Chipotle afterwards, ate some food, and promptly fell asleep on the table. Pooped already, and still with a gig to go to that night. Not a good sign.

Drove to the gig to set up early, and who should I meet there but my friend Pete Martinez, local country star made good, entertaining a few of his lovely female fans. He sheepishly came up to the stage as I was setting up and asked if I’d be able to accompany him on a few tunes – ON BASS. He knew, and I knew that he knew, and he knew that I knew that he knew, and you know, that’s what made it okay. We went through a few Eagles tunes and a few country standards – I had to play bass, guitar, and drums for him all at the same time (as it were – I had to make my bass sound like all three!), and to be honest, it went over pretty darned good. We joked about going on the road as a duo – more money per performer that way! – and I left to go have coffee with a friend.

That friend would be Carol, a new acquaintance I made on CraigsList while looking for a few beer aficionados who weren’t interested in getting drunk. Carol’s terrific – she’s about my age (hope she doesn’t mind my saying that!), great conversationalist, Christian woman, terrific laugh, smiling eyes, long bright red hair, and a taste for the finer things in life. Not to mention a terrific hugger. She’s teaching me about wine, and I’m returning the favor regarding beer. And she makes a mean carrot cake – I can personally attest to that!

The gig was awful. I was spent before I played my first note. Getting around was very difficult, and Jennifer told me a few of the servers asked if I was ‘okay’, meaning I looked drugged. Not good. Regardless of how I feel, I have to LOOK okay to the patrons and everyone else. I don’t want to be a charity case or detract from the show in any way shape or form. So this night taught me about how much I can take during the day, and how important it is for me to get my rest and save myself for the gig. So no more teaching on afternoons that I have a gig in Denver for me. It’s not worth the risk.

Working my way towards buying a condo on the east side of town. Having to jump through a whole lot of hoops because 1) I’m still only separated from my wife, not divorced; 2) I keep the world’s crappiest records; and 3) I’m self-employed, which makes things even MORE interesting. This is a terrific place, though; all brand new, I’d be the first owner, everything is up to current code, it’s all warrantied, stone countertops, cherrywood cabinets, Pergo flooring in the kitchen and dining area, security alarm, wider doorjambs than normal should I ever have to enter ScooterLand, and there are NO STAIRS. Plus it’s near the pool, and if I have to explain to you why that’s an advantage, you’ve obviously never lived in a college town. :D

Sunday I played 2 services at 2 churches yet again. I think I’m spent on the double dose for awhile; it just takes too much out of me. Plus I’m busy every Sunday afternoon for the rest of the year: get-together at Kevin K.’s house (Kevin’s an UnbeLIEVEable jazz guitarist here in Fort Fun) this Sunday, watching the Seahawks/Broncos game with Carol (!) the next, gig with Dave B. after that, gig with Kevin K. the next, and then it’s Christmas Eve, and then New Year’s Eve. Funny… doesn’t look like limiting my church services is going to increase my amount of rest and relaxation come the middle of December…

Monday was my first walkthrough of the new apartment. The property manager asked me to bring a few documents over, and I had them folded up and stored in a standard envelope box (don’t ask). So, in my rush, realizing I was late, I grabbed the box, went out the door, set the box on the railing, turned around to lock the door, and made my way to the car… leaving the box on the railing. Drat.

Came back… no box. Hadn’t fallen where I could see it. To this moment it has not been found, which really sucks – there’s some pretty important stuff in that box. Dunno why someone would take it, or what they’d do with it, or why. But I hope it turns up very soon.

Taught all afternoon yesterday, and all day today, and went to my MS support group afterwards. Everyone was very interested in the study I might be taking part in. I promised to keep them all informed.

Upon leaving the MS group, my legs decided that it was too cold to do anything and just stopped. This was pretty freaky for me – I have no idea what I might have done without my walking stick. And I still had Wal-Mart to go to afterwards (gotta get my sugar free Heinz Ketchup, you know!). So I got to use the cart again. Wal-Mart’s carts are pretty zippy – good speed on them, good turning circle. I can execute a Y-turn in the middle of an aisle with ease.

So now I’m home. I probably forgot most of the other interesting things that have happened to me since I posted last, but if I remember them, I’ll do my dangdest to post about them here, because, as we all know, you’re hanging on my every word. ;) A final note – my eyes are not interested in allowing me to proof this, so if you catch weirdness or grammatical errors, you’ll just have to deal with it for now.

Sure hope this study takes me under their wing – pray for me, wouldja?



…well, that’s not entirely true – just not much new to report. Still walking with the cane, still getting around, still no huge change in symptoms… just plugging along.

Currently looking at getting a condo instead of an apartment. I have a doctor’s note that says that I shouldn’t be in a domicile that requires that I climb stairs to access it, and if my apartment complex can’t provide one, they may let me out of my lease. Gonna have to call them about this today and see what they say.

I really hate this part of life. All the legal mumbo jumbo. Usually I can just handle stuff like this, but these days my eyes just glaze over and my brain shuts off. Can’t seem to get past that. Oh well. Thankfully my mom has bought and sold many a house in her day, and can walk me through the process.

Still waiting for next Thursday when they poke and prod me to see if I qualify for this study. Would be pretty cool, although the idea of having some side effects worries me a little bit – the SoluMedrol kicked my butt so hard that I’m really not interested in dealing with that kind of an experience again. We’ll see what happens, though – if I qualify, it’s certainly worth a shot.

Anyway, that’s all for now – I’ll try to be more regular! (So to speak… :D )