MS no hindrance to Scott Preston

Multiple sclerosis can be a debilitating disease for some people.

But others, like Scott Preston, have not let MS significantly hinder their lives.

"I first showed symptoms of MS in March 1992 at age 20," Preston said.

"By November, I was diagnosed with it.

"My first reaction was 'This isn't supposed to happen to me.' "

There is no history of MS in Preston's family and he said people are not predisposed to contracting it through their families.

Multiple sclerosis, according to Webster's Encylopedic Unabridged Dictionary, is a chronic degenerative, often episodic disease of the central nervous system marked by patchy destruction of the myelin (soft, white, fatty material in the membrane of Schwann cells and certain neuroglial cells) that surround and insulate nerve fibers.

This usually appears in young adulthood and is shown by mild to severe neural and muscular impairments, such as spastic weakness in one or more limbs, sensory loss, bladder dysfunction or visual disturbance.

The first symptoms experiences by Preston 10 years ago were numbness and weakness in both legs, along with a tingling sensation similar to what one experiences when hitting an elbow on something and striking "the funny bone."

Preston has been on medication since 1994, and his MS is not readily apparent to anyone seeing him for the first time.

Preston is a self-employed financial adviser.

He works in a Kingman business owned by his parents, David and Marilyn Preston.

Much of the work is done in an office and with a telephone.

But that does not mean Preston is not fitness conscious.

"I work out with weights three times a week and do aerobic exercises twice a week, including using a Stairmaster," he said.

"Physically, I can walk about two miles.

Beyond that I might get tired and begin dragging my left leg."

Preston holds a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do earned after his MS diagnosis, he said.

He also has a sizable collection of Star Wars toys, he said.

Nancy Angelo heads a Multiple Sclerosis support group in Kingman.

It has 15-18 members and meets once a month.

"There are three drugs on the market widely used in treating MS," Angelo said.

"There is no cure, but each of the drugs can slow down the progression of MS."

Those drugs are Copaxone, Avonex and Beta-Seron, she said.

Angelo has battled MS for three years.

She said she takes a new drug called Rebif that recently was approved by the Food & Drug Administration.

"I've taken it for about two months," she said.

"I don't have as many injection reactions with it.

"With Avonex, I'd show flu-like symptoms and have shakes and shivers.

Copaxone was not slowing down much in me."

Preston takes injections of Beta-Seron every other day.

He said side effects are mild and he is able to cope with them.

The next meeting of the MS support group is scheduled for 3 p.m.

April 29 in the Cerbat Medical Center on the second floor of the Medical Professional Building adjacent to Kingman Regional Medical Center.

A fund-raising walk of five kilometers or 10 kilometers for MS research will be held in Kingman in November, Angelo said.

Las Vegas will be the site of a 5-K walk Saturday.

Steve Lake, who does public relations for the Desert Southwest Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, said the walk will start at 9 a.m.

from the Howard Hughes Center at 3800 Howard Hughes Parkway.

Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m.

Free lunches will be provided to walk participants.

Everyone who registers and raises $75 or more in pledges will receive a free MS Walk T-shirt.

To register, volunteer or become a walk sponsor, contact the MS office in Las Vegas at (702) 736-7272, call toll-free to (800) 344-4867 (fight MS) or visit the Desert Southwest Chapter's Web site at www.dsw.nmss.org.