We are so pleased to introduce to you Steven Mueller and his beautiful wife, Angie. He so graciously accepted our interview request and we are excited and happy to share their story with you.
Grab up cup of coffee, tea, or your favorite beverage, and curl up in your favorite chair. We are positive you'll enjoy their story - we certainly did!
Question #1: Tell us a little about yourselves, and what kind of
projects you are working on now that you would like our readers to know
Some years ago, when my wife, Angie, became ill, I went on a long hiatus from the entertainment business. Until then, I had worked as a publicist to different celebrities, musicians, actors, and so on. For a number of years thereafter, I pursued a completely unrelated passion, which was writing books (mostly history-related, nonfiction works.) Although I didn't make much money during that time, I really enjoyed fulfilling my dream of doing that and, best of all, it afforded me the opportunity to work from home, so that I could spend my time together with my wife. Later (six years ago), when I, too, was diagnosed with MS, pursuing my 'bucket list' of travels took on a new importance, and had a greater priority in my life; I wanted to travel to all the places I had long dreamed of visiting, and the fear of my illness getting worse and hampering my ability to travel drove me to speed up my plans, with those things. Angie was really supportive and wonderful, and joined me on most of the trips, as long as her health allowed. So I wrote a couple of books on subjects that involved those places (namely Europe, Germany, Egypt, Peru, and many of the places that we visited and loved.) For the past two years, however, I've become determined to revive my earlier public relations business, so that is what I'm currently doing.
Question #2: Where were you both born and where did you grow up? Did
this have any influence on what you do now?
I was born in Broadview, IL, in suburban Chicago. Angie was born in Blue Island, IL, not far from the same area. We still reside in the same vicinity, about 20 minutes west of the city. The location really hasn't had any bearing on my work.
Question #3: When did you first notice the first signs of MS? How long
after that were you diagnosed? And what type of MS do you have?
I noticed the first signs of it in 2009. They involved slight problems with my walking, but at first I didn't think much of it. Maybe I was in denial or afraid to know, since I knew something was wrong, so I put off getting checked out for nearly twp years. Both my wife and I thought it was too much of a crazy coincidence that I'd come down with the same illness that she had long been suffering from. Finally, in 2011, I could no longer ignore the worsening symptoms, and went to see my wife's neurologist, who sent me for an MRI. When we went to get the results, the doctor blurted out, "You and your wife have a lot more in common than you might think; you have MS." Needless to say, we were both stunned and it took a long time for the news to sink in.
Question #4: When did you meet your wife and did you know that she had
MS, too? And how long have you been married?
I met Angie in July 2003. I had no idea she had MS, at the time. Once we began dating, however, very early on, she sat me down and told me she had something very important to tell me. She told me the news and said, "So if you want to break up with me, I will understand." I looked at her and said, "Absolutely not. I'm not a shallow person like that." In reality, I was already deeply in love with her, and I wasn't about to let the illness deter me. We've been married since October 22, 2004.
Question #5: What types of challenges do you face with both of you
It's an interesting question. Early on, many people said the fact that we both share the same illness meant that we could both understand one another better (in terms of the challenges we both face). However, Angie said, "But it's not good when you are both ill; one of us has to be able to function, or we're in trouble." In hindsight, I have to agree with her. When my condition also worsened it created a lot of hardship and frustration for both of us. Our lives forever changed, and not for the better. But, we've been doing our best to adapt and focus on positive things.
Question #6: Do you mind sharing your treatments with us? And if they
My wife started off on BetaSeron and progressed to Avonex. I started on Avonex after my diagnosis, as well, but it hasn't worked for me. My wife is currently on Tecfidera and reports she's seeing an improvement. I tried some other therapies, but due to having a high level of the JC Virus I was not able to go on the recommended Tysabri. My condition has progressed rapidly over the past 2 years and I've lost most of my mobility. Doctors are currently planning to put me on an infusion of Ocrevus in the near future. We both began with Relapsing-Remitting MS, but now have Primary Progressive.
Question #7: I am my husbands caregiver. I'm interested to know how
much you are able to do for one another? Do you need or have help with
your daily care?
For years I was happily Angie's caregiver, and my wonderful parents, Rolf and Christl Mueller, were always there to help with whatever was needed, as well. We don't have any chlldren, so my folks were really the only caring family we had in our lives. Sadly, my father passed away last year, and my mother is getting older. But just recently we've looked into some services that provide some much-needed help at home; physical therapy, help with shopping, etc.
Question #9: What do you find is the hardest thing you and your wife
have to deal with as a couple with MS?
Honestly, it's only become very difficult the past several years, since my own condition worsened. In our particular case, my wife was also diagnosed with a related seizure disorder (NCSE - Non Convulsive Status Epilepticus), usually subtle, nocturnal seizures, which can be very frightening. The seizures can affect a person's mood and cognitive status, so that's been an additional challenge for us to face, at times.
(Also), about 3 years ago, I developed very severe, terrible night time tremors in my leg. As a result, I went for nearly an entire year without sleeping more than one to two hours per night. Needless to say, I thought I was losing my mind; I didn't know what to do, I couldn't function, I certainly wasn't very pleasant to be around, and I just wasn't myself at all during that time. Thankfully, however, two years ago, I finally discovered a medication that controlled those symptoms (Ropinerole), and it hasn't been an issue since. But looking back, that was probably one of the most difficult challenges, in the sense that it made day-to-day living nearly impossible.
Question #10: Is there anything else you would like to share with our
I've learned to make the best of what we have. My wife, Angie, (who has had this illness for over 20 years now - far longer than I have) is my inspiration, and my strength. She may not realize it, and I probably don't tell her often enough, but she's my hero, my love, and my very best friend; I would be utterly lost without her.
STEVEN MUELLER (1969 - ) is an American publicist, author, and businessman. He is the founder and CEO of Mueller Entertainment, a public relations firm which has represented actors such as Keanu Reeves, Viggo Mortensen, and Kirsten Dunst. His previous clients include Playboy Enterprises, Jeanette Biedermann, and members of Scorpions, Heart, and E'Nuff Z'Nuff. He has also represented Lynne Spears (mother of pop music icon Britney Spears), etc.
Mueller's unrelated interests include travel and the study of world history; he is the author of eight books dealing with various historical topics, published by Waldmann Press. These include: 'The Wittelsbach Dynasty', 'The Pharaohs of Ancient Egypt', 'Obersalzberg', and 'Cuzco and the Sacred Valley of the Incas.'
He is also an 8th generation descendant of Duke Friedrich Eugen of Wuerttemberg, making him distantly related to many present-day European royals.
Mueller married his beloved wife, ANGIE RODRIGUEZ (1971 - ), in 2004. Waldmann Press released his autobiography, 'Almost Famous', in 2010. More recently, Mueller has been active in fundraising for Multiple Sclerosis research.
His future plans involve the establishment of an adventure travel company, specializing in journeys to exotic and far-off destinations.
Thank you, Steven, for sharing your story with us. We, as I am sure our visitors, have enjoyed finding out about you and Angie's story. We love learning about others experiences with multiple sclerosis - it helps us to know that we are not in this alone.
Thanks again, and please feel free to share this page with your family and friends. And you can always update us on your lives by adding a comment below whenever you'd like. Take care and we hope that all continues to go well with you both in the future.
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