Alice recently wrote an article Forbes featuring Steve Jobs shortly after his death. Three weeks later Howard Glick is featured in Forbes. I feel like I'm in good company.
Steve Jobs was worth over 6 billion dollars. Howard Glick has $104.79 in the bank. That's all I have to my name. I believe I might be one of the monetarily poorest businessman featured in Forbes.
I might be poor, but I have a life. It might not be the life anyone would've chosen, but it's mine and I'm making the best of it.
My story is very similar to many with FTD. I got wiped out financially having the wrong diagnosis for over 6 six years.
I had a high profile job in the technology sector I loved. I worked the same product since the 80's and consistently moved up the line. I was the first outside sales rep hired to sell the Riso product line in New York City. The technology was new and the manufacturer was an unheard of Japanese company.
99.9% of you are now saying to yourselves, "Who is Riso". (you can google to find out)
The local distributorship was an hour and half away by car. I was to work out of my apartment. My largest competitor was a little known company called Xerox.
I engaged Xerox like David fighting Goliath. Year after year I pounded away at them in NYC taking over school district after school district, account after account. Whereas I was like a little pesky mosquito to be swatted and consistently missed, Xerox did frequently try and recruit me to join Team Xerox. Sorry, I was loyal to Riso.
My career track advanced from distributor to the manufacturer Riso out West and I was promoted till FTD infiltrated my life.
In the last nine years I've managed to lose almost everything a person can lose in life. I rarely see my children out of Seattle, I couldn't afford to go to my own son's Bar Mitzvah which was just at a Shabbat service - no party, I lost my career, the woman I loved and all my money. I've never been sick in my life, never been on unemployment, never needed public assistance of any kind, never been arrested and always paid my taxes.
I also had a long term disability plan in case I got sick. I lost that being incorrectly diagnosed as bipolar. I have a superb lawyer working with my neurologist trying to get it reinstated. Dementia is covered under my plan and a SPECT scan from 2006 suggested that degeneration had begun. A 2010 PET scan has now made it clear that it was FTD manifesting itself.
Like a boxer who is down and out on the canvas, beat up and nearly dead. I have risen for one last round. I will not be denied my last shot at life.
FTD is not a terminal illness. Birth is a terminal illness.
Until the day we are dead we have a right and a responsibility to life itself. It is up to us to make the most of every moment of every day. I will continue to help educate and further public awareness through my blog, the documentary that is now being filmed, social media, through interviews and periodicals. I will not hesitate or stagnate. Whatever it takes to get the word out, I will do. My goals are set. I am on a mission and I will not be denied.
A few days ago a close friend of mine Janet texted me at 2:45am saying she couldn't sleep and wondering if I was up. Janet has a boyfriend.
I was up doing my meditating, clearing my mind routine when I got the message.
I replied by saying we should be having sex and describing what we should be doing and how it would help her fall asleep. What I wrote wasn't x-rated, but well up into the R-rated category. I knew what I wrote but didn't see anything wrong with it. Janet immediately responded that I was way out of line and she was very upset. I wrote I was sorry but I really didn't believe that I did anything wrong.
I was totally unaware of how offensive and inappropriate I was.
It hit me a half hour later and I was devastated. I sent off email after email for the next day or so feeling terrible if not close to being crushed. Janet was shocked at the time, but understood and quickly got over it. She is one of the few people that understands FTD and can put up with me. At times I feel it might be easier not to follow anything with no self awareness or insight, like so many of my fellow FTD sufferers. Of course I fear my condition will deteriorate and at what point does Janet and the rest of my loved one's have enough of me.
I ran into a professor I know a day later and told him the story. A good friend of his wife has FTD and is in the final stages in a facility. He is an intelligent, good natured man and he has gained my utmost respect. Subsequently after hearing my story, he told me his friends wife was at my stage when FTD started progressing very fast and she soon was totally unaware all the time of what she said.
Of course he didn't realize the devastating effects his words had on me. I didn't say a word.
There have been an alarming number of incidents lately. For the first time a lifelong friend, Marc Turkel found in necessary hand out an FTD awareness card asking to please pardon my behavior/language because of a Neurological Disease. We were in the office supply store Staples. I've prided myself in carrying these cards but have never needed to use one of these "Get Out Of Trouble Free Cards". Marc was in from Seattle for 3 weeks to help me with the filming and spend time with me.