Josh Albers: Swatting out MS
One Saturday early in 2002, Josh Albers was driving near his home in Torrance, Calif. “I kept seeing cars in front of me hitting parked cars. When I closed one eye it was fine, so I realized it was double vision,” he said. “On Monday I went to an optometrist, who sent me to an ophthalmologist, who sent me to a neurologist. On Friday I had an MRI and the next Monday I got my diagnosis.”
Josh, 35, a married father of three, works full-time at an oil refinery, where he has disclosed he has MS. Part of his job involves going up and down ladders. “When there isn’t a handrail, I tell them I need one and they put one in. I had to become my own advocate. To learn what I can and can’t do is my responsibility.”
One of Josh’s symptoms was a burning sensation in his legs. When the feeling subsided, he went out and got a tattoo of flames on his leg. “I’m pretty vocal with my MS. If I quietly suffered, nothing would change,” he said.
A big part of how Josh handles his MS is by participating in Walk MS. Joshie’s Chicken Monkeys is known as one of the most fun teams in the Pacific South Coast chapter. “We stop for dance routines, we sing songs the whole time,” Josh said. “My dad’s an amateur musician who plays guitar and we dance. We also stop and do the chicken dance and football cheers. We dress in a different theme every year. Last year the team dressed as bugs and I went as an exterminator: our shirts said Swat Out MS. People say we look like we’re having a good time—and we are.”