I'm a happily married, 41-year-old living in Cary, IL (a Northwest suburb of Chicago). I was diagnosed with a disease called "scleroderma" in 1999. My condition has progressed over the past three years to include fibrosis in my lungs and vascular system. I have been on continual oxygen now since January of 2009. Last year, we considered a double lung transplant, but my team of doctors did not feel the transplant would provide me with a greater quantity of life. I am also too far advanced for stem cell transplant. My wife and I continue to have hope that newer stem cell technologies and procedures will provide us with an answer in the next several years.
At this writing (March 2010) I am on a new prostacyclin drug protocol to intravenously deliver a continuous flow of a drug called Remodulin using a battery powered pump connected to me via a catheter that exits just below my collarbone. We have great hope that the new drug will bring down my pulmonary artery pressure and relieve the current stress on my heart that continually threatens to put me into congestive heart failure.
I recently went on long term disability after working for 15 years in the educational publishing business. I worked extensively with college professors, helping them take our publishing content and incorporate it in their online courses and learning platforms.
Up until 2003, I was very active in the suburban Chicago community theater scene. My present condition does not allow me the ability anymore to play the physicalities that many roles demand.
I've also been playing piano since the age of 11. I play by ear and write music. My disease has greatly affected my hands though and I am no longer able to play piano. However, technology has allowed me to still compose and produce music using a computer program that interfaces with a keyboard. I use the program to layer different instruments and sounds, one hand and track at a time.
Now that I am on disability, my goal is to release an album of my more recent music compositions ("Soul Searching") and make it available for download from a site like Apple's iTunes. Please feel free to listen to all of the songs. I'd love to hear your thoughts about my music!
My dream is to be able to eventually use my music to raise money for charities that help terminally ill and/or disabled children. I was 29 when I was diagnosed with my condition. My heroes are kids who have NEVER had a normal, healthy life. I have the luxury of facing my challenges with the mind of an adult. My heroes are the kids who face their challenges on a daily basis and keep their courage, optimism and sense of humor intact. I'm hoping if you are visiting this site, you will support my cause and help make my life's dream come true. I hope you'll promote my goal by sharing this site with your friends and relatives!
I don't play live... my physical limitations make it difficult to play more than one hand at a time.
The following are my music idols:
Roger Joseph Manning Jr., Elton John, Billy Joel, ELO, Beach Boys, Beatles, Eagles, Frank Sinatra, Mandy Patinkin, Jellyfish, Aerosmith, Jamie Cullum, Earth Wind & Fire, Yes, Fleetwood Mac, Ben Folds, Chicago, Level 42, Pink Floyd, Prince...
Full size Technics keyboard, & Reason software (version 3) on a Dell computer. Hoping to upgrade to a Mac with Reason 4.
Hoping you'll tell your friends and family about my site - http://www.gregledford.webs.com