Flying Porta-Potties

Today, I almost got killed by a flying Porta-Potty. Driving home from my mom’s on I-90 towards Albany, as I exited onto the ramp for 787 rounding the curve, I couldn’t believe my eyes, a flying pink Porta-Potty coming right for me.

pink porta-potty

The car ahead somehow managed to swerve around the portable toilet. While the milk truck directly in front of me nearly jack-knifed, and wound up stopping across 2 lanes of the highway; I managed to steer to the right, avoiding smashing into the side of the truck. Unfortunately, that was the same direction of the Porta-Potties flight, coming right for me.

Luckily it stopped inches before taking me out, and luckily no-one rear ended me or the milk truck, as we waited for the driver to rescue his escaped John.

Over the years, I have spent a lot of time worrying about a lot of things. Such as will we have enough food for our BBQ. And then we have enough leftovers for ten marching bands.

On our vacations in Aruba, I worry about becoming a beached whale again, as I struggle to emerge from the sea. Having CMT makes that step up onto the sand at the same time that the tide is pulling me backwards pretty tricky. But these past few years our Aruba friends have come to my rescue, and help my husband drag me safely ashore.

Sometimes I worry I may wind up in a wheel chair some day. And after seeing how difficult this is for my step-father, it concerns me quite a bit. So, I am determined to keep exercising to maintain whatever strength I have left.

Besides, throughout my life I have found that I’ve wasted way too much time worrying about a lot of things that never happen. Now it seems that what I should have been worrying about, is getting done in by a flying Porta-Potty.

Posted in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, CMT, flying Porta-Potty, Health CMT, neuromuscular disease, peripheral neuropathy, personal stories | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

CMT Awareness Month Challenge

I took a break from writing this blog, but since September is CMT Awareness Month, I felt I needed to step up and contribute something. We’ve all seen the ALS Awareness Bucket Campaign and how ALS successfully raised over $109 million, well now comes the CMT Awareness Challenge. You are 10 times more likely to know someone with CMT than you do with ALS. I’ve been nominated for this challenge to write 3 things that I am grateful for relating to CMT, over the next 5 days.

I believe the point is to help people understand what it’s like to have CMT, and let them know where they can donate to find a treatment to stop the progression.

Balloon Festival Glens Falls, NY photo by Melinda Lang

Balloon Festival Glens Falls, NY photo by Melinda Lang

First a brief explanation of what CMT is. CMT, or Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a genetic progressive nerve disorder, robs those affected of the normal use of their arms, legs, hands and feet. Nerve damage leads to muscle loss, which leads to falling, difficulty walking, weakness, fatigue, hands that won’t work. Other signs and symptoms include: numbness and tingling in extremities, pain, hammer toes, flat feet or high arches, or foot deformities requiring surgery, scoliosis, AFO’s, leg braces, canes, walkers, wheel chairs.

There are many types of CMT with different manifestations. In rare instances, some may include phrenic nerve involvement that can lead to breathing difficulties. And symptoms vary widely even among families. For example, I know of a daughter who runs marathons, while her brother uses a wheel chair and needs a ventilator to breath.

I don’t want to scare anyone, I also know CMT’ers in their 60’s, who are managing quite well. However, I am having trouble breathing; that’s why I mention it.

So, the challenge 3 things I am grateful for relating to my CMT:

  1. I am grateful for my husband and best friend, who continues to love & support me after 
almost 31 years

  2. I am grateful for my 2 kitties, who keep me active chasing after them, and flexible by picking up their toys

  3. I am very grateful that I can still get back up after I fall.

What are you grateful for? Take the CMT Awareness Challenge! It’s your turn to share with your friends and family.

Anyone wishing to donate to find a treatment to stop the progression of CMT may visit here:

For more ideas and to get your FREE survivor guide visit here:

Posted in AFO, ALS, Awareness Month, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, CMT, CMT Awareness Month, CMTA, Fundraising, Health CMT, leg braces, neuromuscular disease, peripheral neuropathy, personal stories, phrenic nerve | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Taking a Break

Sorry I have neglected posting here for a while. As sole caregiver for my mom and step-dad, I took a much needed break from CMT to help look into assisted living facilities for my step-father, in between visiting doctors, pharmacies and grocery shopping. We’re exploring ways to finance the $12,000 per month cost of assisted living, and trying to find out more about obtaining home health care, in the mean time.

St. Patrick's Day Dinner with mom & dad

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner with mom & dad

Eight months ago, my parents moved closer to me for better health care access, as their home is in the country and all their doctors and hospitals are at least a 45 minute drive. After months of enjoying having them closer and spending more time together, including weekly pool aerobics class in their heated pool, sadly they are moving back home this Thursday.

On the contrary, both my mom and my step-dad are excited about moving back to their home at New Skete Community, where they attend daily liturgies and mom is looking forward to tending her sanctuary gardens again. I however, worry about them living in such a remote, rural location, where it takes a 1/2 for am ambulance to arrive, 45 minutes to drive for groceries, and an hour drive for me.

So, I am not looking forward to the early morning drive on Thursday to bring my step-dad back toCambrige, while my mom helps the movers pack up what’s left to return to NewSkete. Over the last few weeks, Mom and I already unloaded a few vanfulls of their belongings and mom cleaned, while I trimmed perennials and raked the garden beds.

Emmaus House Garden Terrace

Emmaus House Garden Terrace

It was nice having them so close, but they will be happier in their own home for as long as they are able to manage it, with whatever help I can provide. Some days I feel like I need to go into assisted living.

Posted in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, CMT, Health CMT, neuromuscular disease, peripheral neuropathy, personal stories | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

NEW ART INSTALLED at Art de Cure Gallery for CMT

Patricia Hoffmeister, Joanne Van Genderen and I took down the art work from the Starry Night show at the Christine A. Hook Gallery at CPO for Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) neurodegnerative disorder, and hung the new art work for our next show,“MULTIPLICITY,” 
which runs from  JANUARY 10, 2014 through JUNE 13, 2014.

This Art de Cure gallery is
 located at 149 South Lake Avenue  in Albany NY at the Clinical Prosthetics + Orthotics (CPO) office.

Sale of the art work 
benefits the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association (CMTA), with 60 % of proceeds going to the artists and 40 % to the charity.

Gallery and all events are open to the public during office hours Monday-Friday 9 am-5pm
. If you would like to display the art in your home, all pieces are currently for sale through June 13, 2014.

View more  artwork here:

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Art de Cure raises over $22,800 for the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association.

                              by Melinda Lang, Rph Upstate NY CMT facilitator

Imagine walking into your doctor’s office and instead of facing blank walls, you are surrounded by a gallery of original art work to enjoy, while you wait. Art de Cure, a collaboration between art and medicine, provides such galleries in medical offices throughout the Capital region in New York, while raising money for charities.

On December 5th, 2013, the third Starry Night for CMT Art de Cure gallery reception and silent auction, which took place at Clinical Prosthetics + Orthotics (CPO, raised over $2, 800  for the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association (CMTA), adding to the $20,000 previously raised (with matching funds from a board member of the CMTA). At this event, the gallery was dedicated in honor of talented artist, Christine A. Hook, who volunteered as gallery coordinator for a year before she passed away.

Jacky Watsky dedicates the Christine A. Hook gallery at CPO

Jacky Watsky dedicates the Christine A. Hook gallery at CPO

Jackie Watsky, president of Art de Cure presented a plaque, which will remain on display at the CPO gallery which states, “The Christine Hook gallery to benefit CMT. This ADC gallery at CPO is dedicated to helping people with Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease and sharing Christine’s love of art.”

The mission of the CMTA, a 501(C)(3)nonprofit organization founded in 1983, is to generate the resources to find a cure, to create awareness, and to improve the quality of life for those affected by Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) nerve disorder. CMT, which affects 1 out of every 2,500 people, damages peripheral nerves connecting the brain and spinal cord to muscles and sensory organs. This nerve damage, or neuropathy, leads to muscle weakness and wasting, in legs, feet, arms and hands. For more information visit

Art de Cure depends on volunteers to establish and coordinate the galleries, hang the art work, plan the events, organize and maintain the financial paperwork and web site. Interested volunteers can contact Jackie Watsky, President of Art de Cure at

Medical practices interested in hosting an Art de Cure Gallery in their office and artists wishing to participate can contact Art de Cure at

Posted in art, Art de Cure, Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, CMT, CMTA, fundraiser, Fundraising, Health CMT, neuromuscular disease, peripheral neuropathy | Tagged | Leave a comment

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 5,300 times in 2013. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Disney Ticket Raffle for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease!
disney tickets
In conjunction with the Starry Night benefit for CMT in Albany, NY, you can once again try your luck on our raffle for four one-day Park Hopper® tickets for use at the Magic Kingdom®, Epcot®, Disney’s Hollywood Studios™ and Disney’s Animal Kingdom® Park Florida. (valued at $496)

The tickets are valid during normal operating hours and are good through September 24, 2015.

The drawing will be held on December 20, 2013, just in time to make it a great Christmas gift, and the winning number will be posted at  on December 21, 2013.

Ticket sales end December 20, 2013, so register and get yours now!

Also, don’t miss our Starry Night for CMT Art de Cure Silent Auction reception with complimentary food & wine tasting.
For more information visit here :
Starry Night flyer

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SAVE-THE-DATE-December-5, 2013-Starry-Night-For-CMT

New Art show installed at the Art de Cure gallery for CMT at CPO (Clinical Prosthetics+Orthotics) benefitting the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association

SN postcard

NOW SHOWING:   “Gracelines”

DATES:  JUNE 14, 2013 – JANUARY 10, 2014

Starry Night for CMT Reception and Dedication of gallery in memoriam for Christine A. Hook on December 5, 2013  Thursday from 4-7 PM. Featuring Silent Auction of Original art work, jewelry, gift baskets, gift cards and complimentary light fare.


You can view some of the art work online at:

If you would like to display the art in your home, all pieces are currently for sale through January 10, 2014. Stop in to view the exhibit. Bring some new artwork home today.

Gallery and all events are open to the public during office hours Mon-Fri 8am-5pm.    The Art de Cure Gallery for CMT is located at CPO 149 South Lake Ave. Albany, NY.

Gallery coordinators Joanne Van Genderon and Melinda Lang

Starry Night Event website:

Art de Cure, a 501 (c) 3 formed in 2010, is a collaboration between art and medicine. Art de Cure is a unique concept which brings art to an audience not likely to explore art galleries. Galleries are housed in medical practices and the work of regional artists is on display. The host practice chooses the charity that will benefit and Art de Cure curates the shows.
The galleries are permanent with multiple shows and receptions scheduled each year. The Art de Cure Galleries are open to the public, and to the practice’s patients during regular office hours.
Be A Part of Art de Cure

Artists: If you would like your work to be considered for inclusion in the Art de Cure Gallery, for the CMTA please submit up to 6 digital images, an artist statement and bio to: See more at:

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September 2013 is CMT Awareness Month! What Will You Do to Spread Awareness?

                                                                     by Melinda Lang

September, CMT Awareness Month is fast approaching. What will you do to spread awareness. There are many ways that we can all help ourselves, by increasing awareness of our rare condition. Something as simple as changing your Facebook photo to the new CMT ribbon:

CMT ribbon

CMT ribbon

Connect with an association that works with your condition such as the CMTA, which provides patient support, public education, and promotion and funding of research

You can bring brochures (available when you join the CMTA) or information about your condition to leave at the office with doctors, physical therapists and any health care practitioner you visit.

The next time someone asks you a question, “What’s wrong with your foot?- or makes a comment like, “You walk funny.” or “You don’t look like you need that handicap parking permit” -rather then being offended, take a breath and start a conversation.  Instead, try something like: “Thank you for noticing” – then tell them you have CMT, explain how it affects you and take a moment to answer their questions. Hopefully, instead of leaving angry, you will feel proud of yourself knowing you have just helped another person learn about CMT.

If your uncomfortable talking about yourself, perhaps you could distribute posters to libraries, pharmacies, doctor offices any public place that will display them.

Our you could hand out brochures at a health fair. Many health fair organizers will allow you to set up a table to display literature, bracelets, buttons, a banner (etc. )
Awareness Kit
CMT Awareness Month Kits are available from the CMTA here:

Get your AM 2013 Kit now and be ready to help. Each kit contains 10 AM posters, 10 AM postcards,10 CMTA STAR™ wristbands, 10 “What Is CMT?” brochures, and 10 “Hope & Promise” magnets.

Submit an article to local newspapers and health journals for publication during September, CMT Awareness Month. Write about yourself, or your child and how CMT effects you. Include symptoms, such as: loss of balance, weakness arms, legs hands & feet, tripping and falling. Write about how you were diagnosed, explain the difficulties of seeing doctors, who have never heard of CMT, even though it is the most common inherited peripheral neuropathy. For more facts on CMT visit here:

Contact your local television health reporter, and suggest a story about CMT and awareness month and tell them your story. Also, suggest they do a PSA (Public Service Announcements about CMT.

Tell your story to your High school/College alumni magazines.

For the past 3 years, I have visited a local college and spoken to physical therapy students about CMT. Perhaps a college or school in your area would welcome you to speak with their students.

You can write to your representatives and the president requesting more funding for rare disease research.  Sign up with the MDA for advocacy alerts, and you will  receive email notices whenever there is legislation that needs your attention.

The MDA makes it easy to sign petitions or send letters to Congress by providing the necessary information to easily personalize. Also, a link is provided to quickly find your representative.

If you signed up with twitter,  tweet messages about CMT throughout September and beyond.  (sign up here:
Follow the CMTA @CMTASTAR for tweet ideas.

Also, you can join the rare disease network and sign up for a study:

     What will you do for CMT Awareness Month?




Order your CMT Awareness items here:*

a portion of sales goes to CMT research!




Posted in Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, CMT, CMTA, Health CMT, Neurologist, neuromuscular disease, peripheral neuropathy, STAR | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Rare Diseases Deserve Access to Accelerated Approval – Call Congress TODAY!

  • Posted by Melinda L on July 27, 2013 at 4:30pm

It only takes a few minutes to make a call and make a difference!

fdaRare Diseases Deserve Access to Accelerated Approval – Call Congress TODAY!

The FDA recently issued a draft guidance on the Expedited Approval Programs which they say fulfills the FDASIA mandate on Accelerated Approval for Rare Diseases, however the guidance does not address specific issues related to rare disease drug development as required by FDASIAThis is unacceptable!  

 URGENT ACTION is needed from the patient community to ask Members of Congress to sign onto the Congressional Letter urging FDA to improve access to Accelerated Approval for Rare Diseases!  Please take five minutes to call and/ or email your Member of Congress today!

Not sure who your representative is, just click here:   &  add your zip code

Call and ask to speak to the staffer who works on Healthcare issues.

You can use the following script. Just add your information:

Hello my name is [ —     ]  and I live in [ —-  ]   As a constituent , I am [calling /writing] regarding an urgent request for my Representative, [Rep. ??], to sign onto the Congressional letter urging the FDA to fully implement the rare disease requirements in the Food & Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act known as FDASIA. As someone who struggles [or has a child] from the effects of CMT, a degenerative neuromuscular disorder, this issue is very important to me.

The letter simply asks the FDA to ensure that rare diseases have access to the Accelerated Approval pathway, which is required by FDASIA. To sign onto the letter please contact Tom Power in Rep. Bilirakis’ office 202-225-5755. Thank you for your time.

To find out more information about the FDA’s draft guidance, FDASIA and Accelerated Approval go to:

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