Interview with Clay Walker


Interview with Clay Walk, from the GREAT State of Texas. A Country Music Singer – that also lives with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (RRMS). 

Author: Ashley Ringstaff, MSWorld‘s Social Media Director

Interview Date: May 20th, 2015


 

I had the pleasure today of speaking with Clay Walker (pictured to the right), Country MusicClay Walker Singer who also lives with Multiple Sclerosis. You may have seen my previous interview with Clay (Click here to watch) at the CMSC 2012 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, and I was glad that I had the chance to chat with him again. Clay is well known for his hits, “Live Until I Die”, “Fall”, “Jesse James” and many more.

Walker was diagnosed with Relapsing-Remitting Multiple Sclerosis in 1996 at the age of 26.

Question: “What made you go to the doctor?”

Clay stated that tingling in hands and feet was his initial symptom. Clay thought it was a ‘pinched nerve’… what pushed him to go to the doctor much quicker was double vision. He then went through series of tests, one being an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).

After the doctor reviewed the images, the doctor called him and told him that he had Multiple Sclerosis. Clay said at the time, “I didn’t know what MS was. I had no idea and he didn’t explain to me what it was.”

He was then sent to an MS Specialist, who then confirmed the diagnosis. Looking back at it now, Clay stated that he was surprised as well as his current neurologist, did not inform Clay that there were medications available for Multiple Sclerosis. Since Clay hadn’t been informed about the medications available, he did not get on a medication for 8-months following his diagnosis.

After going for a second opinion at Vanderbilt, he started a medication immediately. Being a Houston native, Clay wanted to be able to see a neurologist in Houston on a regular basis. He was then referred to Dr. Jerry Wolinsky, MD.

After being with Dr. Wollisky for the better part of a year, they had come to the conclusion together that the medication he was currently taking was not working to help slow the progression of his multiple sclerosis.

They then decided to put Clay onto Copaxone® (glatiramer acetate) and Clay has been relapse free for the past 17 years. Clay further explained that he feels “happy as a horse.” He was also the first patient to receive the newly available 3-times-a-week Copaxone Injection.

Question: “Since you have been relapse free, have you had any other symptoms along the way that bother you, like fatigue for example?”

While Clay has had those initial symptoms, and recovered from his initial symptoms that lead to his diagnosis, he is lucky enough to not deal with fatigue, one of the most common symptoms for those living with Multiple Sclerosis. He stated, “The odd thing is that, I’ve never experienced that symptom, the fatigue symptom.”

Question: “I remember hearing you say that the heat doesn’t bother you, but the cold does, when we spoke previously…”

Clay stated, “Yeah, the heat to me is really… like a friend. You know? I guess growing up in Beaumont, Texas and growing up in the hot; my muscles just feel so much more relaxed and pliable. You know? Whenever I’m hot. But the cold, you know, it makes me walk like the tin-man.”

“I’m just in a different place in my life now with my MS. Probably in the best place of my life overall.” – Clay Walker

Clay continued to reflect on his life and the way things are today for everyone living with MS. He stated, “Obviously we don’t have the ability to predict what’s gonna happen. But we can take a look at what’s available for us and see the data on it, and then make an educated guess as to will this benefit me or not.”

Question: “Could you explain a bit more about what you do with your organization, Band Against MS?”

Clay shared, “The charity side of what I do for Band Against MS is very gratifying, especially when we do events and I get to see people at the events that have MS. “ He also said that one of his favorite events is the Bike Ride that they do in Houston because they he can actually see people who have MS “get physical”.

He also said, “I wish that there were more things that we could do… to find a cure for MS.” Later he stated, “I think that the better vision is, what can we do today for people living with MS. How can we help them live a better life today?”

To find out more about Clay’s Organization, Band Against MS, visit BandAgainstMS.org


 

As someone who lives with Multiple Sclerosis, it is very nice to speak to others living with MS, especially those like Clay Walker. His attitude is very positive and he just loves being involved with the MS Community. You can tell that he really does love meeting others living with MS and just interacting with them, and seeing how they are doing and getting others involved in the community.

On a personal note, if you haven’t listened to Clay’s music before, I highlight suggest you check it out! My personal favorite of his songs is, “Live Until I Die”.

 
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