UF doctor gives local writer hope as she battles debilitating disease

Published: March 30, 2012

Category: Neurology, Neuroscience Institute

Anne Johnson

I had spent the past 25 years of my life writing. I was a business reporter, the author of four books, the owner of a genealogy company and founder of Florida Caregiver Magazine, but that all changed when I lost the use of my right hand.

In January, 2010, I was in Chicago helping my daughter when I noticed that my right hand started locking up. When I returned home in April, I started dropping things from my right hand. Long story short: I was diagnosed by my primary care doctor with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. I immediately decided to have a second and third opinion.

During my first three appointments with a local neurologist, I saw a physician assistant. When I finally saw a neurologist, he said, "If I were a betting man in Vegas, I'd say you had ALS."

When I saw Dr. Michael Pulley at Shands Jacksonville, he said, "Not so fast; we're going to run some more tests."

He let me know that some of the procedures were going to hurt. He was very caring and very kind; he gave me some reason to hope, which is why I decided to go with him for my treatment.

Dr. Pulley confirmed my diagnosis of ALS and formulated a treatment plan that included a variety of medical services.

The ALS clinic at Shands Jacksonville is great because there's a support group made up of physical, occupational and speech therapists, social workers and hospice.

Anything they see you need, as you advance in the disease, they order it. It's just impressive what they do there.

The ALS Walk was in April this year [2011], and Dr. Pulley was there with his daughter. That's him; he's not just there to support us in the clinic, but everywhere.

There are a lot of good neurologists out there, but I admire a doctor who cares and shows he cares to his patients.

Anne Johnson
Jacksonville, Fla.

Pingbacks and trackbacks (1)+

Add comment

  • Comment
  • Preview