11 September 2022
18 August 2022
02 August 2022
Summer in a small hill town in Basilicata is a mixed blessing for us. In August many Italians return to their ancestral towns all across Italy to reconnect with friends and family for several weeks. They come from the big cities and other parts of Europe to enjoy the “tranquility” of these smaller towns.
Italians started traveling this past weekend, which was one of the busiest traffic weekends of the summer. Summer vacation in Italy is not a privilege but a right for many.
It is a plus that there will be a series of events planned by the Pro Loco and the church around Ferragosto and our town’s festival for Sant’Antonio di Padova the first weekend in September. (His feast day is in June but he is celebrated at this time in honor of the summer harvest). We will see people that we may only see once or twice a year and the town will certainly take-on a new life for several weeks.
The problem for us is that for most of the year our town has about 600 residents but this summer influx adds almost 200 more people to our town for most of August - people who clog the already limited parking and our few shops. Some act like it is their right to supersede the everyday life of the year-round residents. This is especially troublesome for someone with mobility issues, like myself.
Here’s looking forward to September and a return to some normalcy!
18 July 2022
We flew back to Ohio to visit our families and friends for three week in June and had no issues. Unfortunately, when we flew back home all of the anti-Covid precautions for traveling had been dropped and we had two flights and three airports full of people unmasked. We are fully vaccinated and wear masks whenever we are in public settings.
About a week after returning to Trivigno we both became sick with strong flu-like symptoms and tested positive for Covid. Based on our lack of exposure to unmasked groups in Italy we are certain we contracted this during our travels from the US to Italy.
In Italy we are required to remain in quarantine until testing negative. We are fortunate to have friends and neighbors who brought us medicines, groceries and some meals during our confinement.
After 10 days we tested finally tested negative but still feel weak and lethargic. Our experience was certainly not mild symptoms but also not as bad as others have had. We will continue to be cautious and follow procedures to avoid another infection as new variants develop and spread around the world.
15 November 2021
It was one year ago that I was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (PPMS).
Based on the symptoms and what I now know I have had this condition for several years, but did not know what it was. I am grateful to friends who helped us down the path to reach this diagnosis. Knowing what is the cause of my problems and the limitations it will create has helped us to adjust to this new stage of life and approach it accordingly.
We are fortunate to have a friend who is a surgeon that gave us direction as to what tests and exams I needed to be able to find a diagnosis. He also helped me connect with the neurology department at Gemeli Hospital in Rome, where I was diagnosed.
Another friend who works as a tech doing neurology tests at San Rafael Hospital in Milan arranged for tests and consultations at her department.
I have since been going to Neuromed, which closer than Rome, as there is no viable specialized neurological MS center in our immediate area. I am very happy with my neurologist there and their facilities.
There is currently no cure for PPMS, and as in the name, the expectation is that it will get worse. There are two options for this condition that are helping and hopefully will be able to stop or slow the progression. First, my physical therapist has been a big help with improving my balance and ability to be mobile. Second, I recently started the only drug therapy for PPMS which is designed to stop the progression.
I feel fortunate to be in Italy where some of the leading MS research is being performed. I have affordable access to specialized health facilities all across the country and the processes is much less burdensome than what I see people in the US have to deal with.
The Italian MS Society (AISM) is very active and the volunteers at the chapter in Potenza have been very helpful and a big support with recommendations and finding answers to questions we have had.
Learning that I have this condition is not the end but does mean we will have to make adjustments. I do not plan to sit back and watch the world go by, but to embrace life and cherish doing the things we enjoy while that is still an option.
I trust that God has a plan and I will embrace the life I have now with Valerie's help.