I opened my MMA gym in 2001 and have loved being part of it and it being part of me. It has always been a bumpy ride as a business but I've always found a way to overcome most obstacles. My Lodi location of over 7 years was flooded by Hurricane Irene in Late August 2011. FEMA approved me for $22,000 but then that program ran out of money before I saw a dollar. I had a contract for a second location in Teterboro which also flooded. I only had enough resources to continue at the second location and was able to sell my boxing ring and move the cage to its new home in Teterboro. I didn't get any water at Endgame from Hurricane Sandy the following year but it did affect my clients, friends and family which of course impacts the revenue generated by the gym. I never have nor will I ever turn away a member simply because of an inability to pay, I've only asked that everyone in a rough financial situation contributes to the gym in the ways that they can. Endgame has survived in this tradition for over a decade.
In mid 2012 I started to feel differently physically with an alarming array of symptoms that even put me in the hospital for 4 days with acute respiratory arrest. It took almost a full year and finally visiting Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital for my 5th neurologist to diagnosis me with CIDP. I began treatments a few months later with mostly good but uneven results. The treatments currently consist of three nurse administered 7 hour (IVIG) blood product infusions every three weeks. Because the treatments have their own complications it has to be given slowly and may even change to being an every two week ordeal. If I can get this disorder into remission I look forward to going longer and longer between infusions. In the meantime, on the days I feel better, I want to teach the combat sports I love. Since I was in decent shape when I became ill the doctors believe it kept me out of the wheelchair and away from getting intubated. Although there was a period of using a cane and an inhaler everyday.
I started this gym with my 401K in 2001, so I could share doing what I love and have something special for my family to enjoy hopefully long after I'm gone ( no time soon if I have anything to say about it!).
I'm asking for help during this very difficult financial time and would hate to lose Endgame after all these years without doing everything possible to keep it going. I hope current, former,future members and friends of Endgame can help me get through this tough time.
What is Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP)?
CIDP (chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy) is a rare disorder of the peripheral nerves characterized by gradually increasing weakness of the legs and, to a lesser extent, the arms. It is caused by damage to the covering of the nerves, called myelin. It can start at any age and in both genders. Weakness occurs over two or more months. Characteristics of CIDP that help support its diagnosis are described below.
â– Difficulty walking due to weakness
â– Difficulty using the arms and hands or legs and feet due to weakness
â– Facial weakness and numbness
â– Sensation changes (usually affects feet first, then the arms and hands)
â– Numbness or decreased sensation
â– Pain, burning, tingling, or other abnormal sensations
â– Weakness, usually in the arms and hands or legs and feet
Other symptoms that can occur with this disease:
â– Abnormal movement
â– Bowel or bladder problems
â– Breathing difficulty
â– Hoarseness or changing voice
â– Loss of function or feeling in the muscles
â– Muscle atrophy
â– Muscle contractions
â– Paralysis of the face
â– Speech impairment
â– Swallowing difficulty
â– Uncoordinated movement
How is CIDP Diagnosed?
The CIDP patient typically presents with difficulty walking which progressively worsens over a few months. Tingling or other abnormal sensations may also be experienced if the patient's sensory nerve myelin is damaged. Physical examination will usually show loss of reflexes, such as the knee and ankle jerk. Evaluation by a neurologist will often include an electrical test, a nerve conduction velocity-electromyography study. It shows slowing of conduction of electrical signals or even blocked conduction. A spinal tap, to analyze cerebrospinal fluid, will typically show elevated protein with normal cells to help confirm the diagnosis. Patients with variants of CIDP, such as multifocal motor neuropathy, may only show slowing of conduction in some motor nerves to muscles. Your doctor may obtain blood and urine tests, including analysis of proteins, to look for causes of CIDP.
How is CIDP Treated?
Several treatment options are available. Prednisone, similar to protective anti-inflammatory corticosteroids that are normally made by the body, may be used as an initial treatment for several reasons. It often improves strength, can be conveniently taken by mouth and is inexpensive. Side effects can limit its use. Two other approaches have often been found helpful. High dose intravenous immune globulins (IVIG), protective blood proteins obtained from healthy volunteers, can be readily given through an arm vein. In another treatment, called plasma exchange (PE), or plasmapheresis, some of the patient's blood is removed and the blood cells returned without the liquid plasma portion of the patient's blood. It may work by removing harmful antibodies contained in the plasma. Treatment of CIDP is somewhat of an art. If a patient shows good improvement with an initial treatment but again evolves weakness it may be repeated or another therapy may be tried. And when all other treatment options have failed. Cellcept has been prescribed. Cellcept is used to prevent your body from rejecting a kidney, liver, or heart transplant.
What Causes CIDP?
Current theory holds that the body's immune system which normally protects it, perceives myelin as foreign and attacks it. Just what starts this process is not clear. Some patients are found to have abnormal proteins in their blood, and these may facilitate damage.
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