Texas

Austin Vietnam veteran fights rare disorder that weakens his body’s muscles

A Central Texas veteran fights the greatest battle of his life.

Terry Clevenger is no stranger to combat, and his most valuable weapon in this fight is his military training and experience.

Clevenger went from fighting in Vietnam and jumping out of planes to being a mobile scooter because he has trouble walking. But he’s not beaten yet.

“To me I’m still a warrior, it’s here and here, not in a crippled body. Training as a green beret is something you never give up, and with the daily descent progression I’ve never given up, I still won’t quit,” Clevenger said.

The Army Special Forces veteran is battling IBM, inclusion body myositis, a rare condition that weakens the body’s muscles. His doctor says many patients become bedridden and worse.

“As it progresses, it will affect the swallowing muscles, so it could be severe enough to require a feeding tube,” said Dr. Yessar Hussain, MD, of the Austin Neuromuscular Center.

But this green beret is a stubborn, determined patient.

“Terry is strong willed, he does fine for a while, he’s a star and he’s trying not to let the disease hold him down,” said Dr. Hussain.

The Army Special Forces veteran is battling IBM, inclusion body myositis, a rare condition that weakens the body’s muscles.

dr Hussain says hiring a patient has been proven to improve their diagnosis, and he likes terry cloth.

“He’s fit from the start. Before the disease, his military background also gave him this strong will and that has helped him cope with the disease and fight the disease,” added Dr. added Hussain.

If Terry’s green beret training is his weapon in this fight, his wife Sharon is his motivation to fight.

“My mission is to live each day to the fullest and make the most of it and enjoy the time I have with my wife,” Clevenger said.

And he also has his faith.

“Every morning when I get up, I thank Jesus for one more day. I thank him for not letting me down and for some nights. I thank him for catching me and not letting me hit too hard, it’s a daily fight,” added Clevenger.

Typically, says Terry, it takes about 10 years from diagnosis to bedridden. Terry is 12 years old and the fight continues.

There is no cure for IBM and Dr. Hussain says that because the disorder is not in the public eye, more research needs to be done not only to find a cure, but to help with therapies.

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