I am Wayne Pollock
living with ALS
I refuse to be defeated by this disease and I have made modifications to keep playing music.
I am a professional musician. I have played and toured all over the world. I have been playing since I was eight years old. I play multiple instruments piano, drums, bass guitar and I sing also.
I released a jazz CD back in 2013. In August 2019, I started having strength issues in my left hand. I was getting a cup of water one day and the cup just fell out of my hand. I went to the doctor and explained that I was having problems with my grip. I thought that the weakness might have been from a previous surgery that I had on my left wrist to remove a ganglion cyst.
I was tested for carpal tunnel, a slew of neurological tests, as well as MRIs for a potential stroke or spinal cord injury. On January 30, 2020 my neurologist told me that he thought that I might have the onset of a motor neuron disease. I was due to go to the Tampa VA/SCI facility in March of 2020, but due to COVID-19, I was not able to go to my appointment. So the entire time that I was waiting, I was hoping that the symptoms that I was exhibiting were from something other than ALS.
In August 2020 I received a call from my VA rep asking how I was doing. I explained to her that due to the pandemic I had not been able to get out and perform and that my hand and arm were not getting any better. It was then that they scheduled me an appointment via videoconference for the very next day with a neurologist.
On August 13th 2020 I was officially given a diagnosis of ALS and told that I had 2 to 5 years to live. I was somewhat hopeful because they said that it affects everyone differently, so I pray that I’m one of the exceptions. I refuse to be defeated by this disease and I have made modifications to keep playing music. I will continue to study this disease and look at every possible way to slow it down even after my body gives out on me. I will continue to play my music and use it as a means to help push a cure for this dreaded disease.