A Closer Look: Dr. Georg Herdt
Name: Dr. Georg Herdt
Where do you call home? Oxford, UK
Education: PhD in Architecture
What do you want to discuss? The effect of rowing (intense exercise) on FA
Some background: I’ve been living with the knowledge of having FA for almost eight years now. One might think I got used to this life and I should know what I am doing, but it’s rather the opposite. I mourn for my old life, the disease took so much from me: my career, my marriage, it changed my purpose. With the diagnosis came the ‘advice’ that I’d be in need of a wheelchair soon. That’s what the medical textbook on the condition says. It felt like a blanket advice without looking at the individual case. On digging a bit deeper, I got told that ’late onset’ is difficult to assess and the degenerative effect of FA should be linear. I should not expect it to happen quickly — and then I started falling over. This not only meant that some knowledge about FA is probably wrong, this was also the moment when I had to take FA seriously. First offence I took was with the term ‘late onset’. I hate labelling people and being labelled, simply saying “oh, you are just late onset,” as if that changes anything, but what it does is it discredits anything I do to halt the progression. In addition and by far the more important point is — am I really late onset? In order to answer this we have to look at my childhood. As some of you might know, I am an advocate for exercise.