Joliet man’s book tells of accepting and living with MS
By Denise Baran-Unland For The Herald-News June 5, 2012 12:18PM
Randy Beal, author
Updated: July 7, 2012 8:25AM
JOLIET — On the top of his website, Randy Beal wrote, “I used to be able to walk. Now I write.”
And what Beal, 33, writes is a blog chronicling his life with multiple sclerosis. Beal has also recently released his book, “Undiagnosed,” which outlines his journey from initial symptoms to diagnosis to acceptance.
“I had felt MS was a death sentence and that life was over,” Beal said. “I thought I was going to be a prisoner to shots and medications. With my book, people going through the same stuff can have a kindred spirit.”
Beal’s symptoms — blurry vision and numb feet — first began in 2000 following a mission trip to Africa. However, Beal ignored the symptoms (“Like a typical man,” Beal said) until the numbness traveled to his knees.
For eight years, a firm diagnosis eluded him. The first guess was Lyme disease, but when that was ruled out, Beal embarked upon an endless procession of visits to neurologists, infectious disease specialists, herbalists and acupuncturists, a whopping total of 30 health specialists.
Finally, Beal brought a 5-inch thick binder of his medical history to Mayo Clinic and received the answer he did not wish to hear.
Beal, who used to work for a railroad company and had played football and basketball, had now lost his ability to walk. He refused to also lose his ability to live.
So, despite failing hearing and eyesight, halting speech, head tremors and requiring a voice-activated program on his computer to “type,” since his hands will no longer cooperate with a keyboard, Beal decided to help others struggling with the same physical and emotional challenges.
A typical day for Beal soon consisted of working on his manuscript in his home office, which is about 30 feet away from his bedroom. The labor continues since Beal is now converting “Undiagnosed” to e-book format. He is also writing a second book.
“I’d like to get out of self-publishing and into the mainstream market,” Beal said. “I want to share with others how I learned that I can live life from where I’m at and just enjoy it.”
To buy “Undiagnosed” and to follow Beal’s blog, visit www.randybeal.com.