President and Founder of R. Luber Appraisal Services
Founders Award (2009)
Robert Luber is the President and Founder of R. Luber Appraisal Services. His family has supported Accelerated Cure Project for many years. In 2009 Robert received ACP’s Founders Award and was recognized at the 2009 “Opening Doors” Recognition Dinner.
Robert’s story about his fight with MS
October 1987 marked a major turning point in my life. Up until that point, I was enjoying myself at a liberal arts college in Worcester, MA. When I was a senior in college, my first MS symptoms appeared. The first exacerbation included a complete numbness of my face, lips, hands, and feet as well as the development of an unusual walk. I also experienced blurred vision. Being the smart college boy that I was, I assumed that all I had was a pinched nerve and continued with life as usual at school for the next two weeks. When I went home one weekend, I was fortunate to have a family physician friend complete a quick neurological examination on me. This led to a referral to a neurologist, who prescribed the requisite MRI, CT Scan, evoked potentials exam, and a rather unpleasant spinal tap. The results were conclusive; I had Relapsing Remitting Multiple Sclerosis.
When I was diagnosed 22 years ago, the only treatments available were steroids, which simply masked the symptoms, and although they would disappear for a short period of time, they were likely to return. Fortunately for me, upon my return to school after my diagnosis, the largest exacerbation I have had to date completely disappeared without steroids, and I graduated from college on time in May 1988.
Ten years after my initial diagnosis of MS, my unusual walk became more pronounced, and my right hand became completely numb. As I was earning an MBA, the diagnosis of my disease was changed from Relapsing Remitting to Secondary Progressive. At this point, the obstacles to overcome presented an ever-greater challenge. I was learning to live with a new type of MS that would involve wearing an orthotic device on my right leg because of a chronic foot drop and eventually the full-time use of a one arm crutch. I also became clumsier with dexterity issues, and stumbling on a rise in the sidewalk became a frequent occurrence. I also began to trip and fall more frequently.
I guess that as a person with MS, who was diagnosed 22 years ago, I can consider myself one of the lucky ones because I have been relatively stable with no increase in my symptoms in the past ten years. This does not mean by any stretch of the imagination that I am content. I have lost, perhaps forever, my ability to walk unencumbered or play touch football with my children in the back yard. Also, as you can imagine, walking into any public place with a handicap leaves one feeling self-conscious and takes a lot of courage.
Granted, I have no idea where the future of this disease will take me but I have learned to be existential in my thinking regarding the illness, and I try not to project too much into the future. I am, however, optimistic and hopeful that one day we will find a cure or, even better for me, a reversal of the MS symptoms that have already taken so much away from my life.