A candid interview with country music performer Clay Walker and President of MS Views and News Stuart Schlossman, touching on life with MS, music and the future.
December 12, 2016
Stuart: Clay, Is it true that it has been 20 years since your MS diagnosis?
Clay: 1996, yes this is 20 years, good gracious!
Stuart: How would you relay how this experience has been for you?
Clay: Having been diagnosed and given a horrific prognosis to be in an wheelchair in 4 years and dead in 8 was huge. Anyone who has been told that they are going to die….I’ve got a lot to be happy about!
Stuart: How do you use music to help you overcome MS and keep you on track?
Clay: I feel like I have been able to use my music, my approach to music has been scalable. I hope to bring awareness to people in an emotional way that helps them grow and brings joy to their lives. I have the same mentality with MS, how I help people live joyfully with MS. Hope is a very big important word for people with MS who have felt that they are in the dark, but we have a lot I want to bring to light especially with RRMS, it is important that we use the tools that can stop it in its tracks. There are multiple therapies that could help. I say this with a sincere heart, getting on a therapy that works for you is the most important thing in the course of MS. (In regards to music) The more people and strength in the music world, gives me a platform to be heard.
I think God has given me the talent and knowledge and opportunity to be able to have an open dialogue in the MS community and this is the most important thing we can do, help one another.
This is part of the learning process, but music has healing properties in my opinion. Why is it that when I am on the stage I don’t feel that pains I do when I am off stage. The doctor says it’s like a pain reducer, endorphins.
Stuart: Can you tell me about Band Against MS?
Clay: Years ago I didn’t know how this was going to go. As my condition seemed to stabilize, I started to grow a backbone because I wanted to do something. I realized I need to get rid of the “I” because it affected more than me. I started not only to be part of the MS community, but to FIND the MS community- where are they? I feel that you cannot do the MS piece without education. The educational side is imperative if you are going to manage RRMS. We need to learn to live better with MS and give people hope starting today. The best way is to have a relationship with your MS doctor. A person who has dedicated their life to MS. They are serious academics because it (MS) is such a niche. What type of person wants to specialize in a disease that has no cure?
Giving your doctor every bit of feedback you can, using a diary, use your time with your doctor. Give them information that allows you to set up a proactive plan and allow it to evolve.
Stuart: Tell me what you foresee in the future
Clay: I would like the world to know that it is one foot in front of the other in life. 7 days a week people in Band Against MS are working and dedicated. 2017 is going to be a big year in education. Getting knowledge out there and education. I can’t wait to share the knowledge and development nationwide!