Man in wheelchair counsels others to overcome handicaps
By JILL WHALEN (Staff Writer)
Published: December 13, 2009
In the span of just a few years, Brian Lang went from walking on his own to needing a cane, a quad cane and then a walker.
He's now in a wheelchair.
Although multiple sclerosis robbed him of the use of his legs, it's not stopping him from helping others. The Hazleton man meets with others who are disabled in hopes that they'll find a level of independence they're comfortable with.
"I know what (disabled) people are going through," said Lang, of Hazleton.
As a peer mentor for the Anthracite Region Center for Independent Living, Hazleton, he visits handicapped individuals who are in nursing homes to let them know they can be mostly self-sufficient in their own home or apartment.
"It's very rewarding work," he noted.
Lang has been in a wheelchair since 2005, a few years after doctors diagnosed him with multiple sclerosis. He was also diagnosed with Lyme Disease that year, a disease that's spread through bites from deer ticks.
"I was an avid archery hunter," he said, guessing he probably was bitten during one of his hunting trips.
While he knows now that he likely had Lyme Disease for years, doctors didn't diagnose it until about five years ago - after it was too late to treat.
Lang said doctors said symptoms of both diseases can be similar, and told him they believe his multiple sclerosis is probably overriding the Lyme Disease.
Despite treatment, which came with what Lang called "terrible side effects," Lang eventually was unable to walk.