Not again…

One of the most poignant memories I have from my early teenage years is when my best friend’s Dad died. He had Multiple Sclerosis, and I didn’t know him for very long before he’d shut himself away from the world, wanting to be remembered healthy. Their family really got the shaft, because following his death, their mom remarried (the boys and I lovingly referred to their stepfather as “Doctor Dick,” and no, his first name was not “Richard”) and then there was this nasty series of bouts with cancer and divorce.

My best friend’s mom was a total rock for me later when both my Mom AND Dad died. One of my favorite memories of her is from my early 20’s, when I commented that she didn’t LOOK like she’d had a double mastectomy. She reached into her dress and pulled out a fake boob, which she then threw to me with a smile.

Well, I just learned that my best friend’s younger brother has been diagnosed with MS. I haven’t kept in close touch with their family, but I really, really feel for them. It’s one thing to be brave when you’re facing a potentially debilitating, deadly foe that may kill you. It’s another thing to find that you’re facing the same foe that killed your Dad and tried to destroy your family. I look at what they’re up against, all of them, and wish I could do something besides call them up on the phone and cry. And I’m too much of a coward to even do THAT yet. I’ll get to it… just not right now.

I’m praying for them, though. On my way into work at the Temple tonight I’ll scribble a name on a slip of paper, and that name will end up on the prayer rolls of the temple. If you’re the praying type, and if you believe it’ll help, you can join me. “Please bless Matt,” will do. I’m sure God will know who you’re talking about.


8 thoughts on “Not again…”

  1. Would Matt be offended if blessings were offered by someone not of the Christian faith? (I ask because some people do object and I like to ask first.)

    “Good luck” to him just doesn’t begin to cover it …

    1. I’m pretty sure Matt and his family would be just fine with prayers offered on their behalf by those not of their particular faith. Thanks for asking. 🙂

  2. friends

    I’ll pray for Matt if you’ll pray for Cyd. She’s a friend of mine who also has MS. She fiddles (plays the fiddle I mean).

    No, it hasn’t affected her much, that I can tell, but I know there are good days and bad days. She is involved in the MS Walks in the DC area, and has even managed to get tapped to be a local ambassador. She just finished working on the MS Ball and recently went to England as part of a Morris Dance troupe.

    The progress of the disease is different for each person. Matt could have many years of good life, yes, even as the disease progresses and he moves from walking unassisted to canes to … what he needs to get around. From what I can tell, mental action is as important as physical action.

  3. MS

    My father passed away about a decade ago from MS.
    MS was a constant presence in our lives.

    When he was first diagnosed with it he was a young adult 26 years old.
    He was handsome, married, the father of one small child with another on the way. He was active duty Air Force and coached a basketball team onbase. He loved the outdoors. Hiking, golf, basketball, camping, baseball were his joys.

    The doctors told him to get his “things in order” as he would probably live only 3-5 years.
    He fought it every step of the way, never giving in to the disease OR the depression it brings. He remained positive and outgoing through the years.

    I was 2 when he was diagnosed, 8 when he became wheelchair bound,14 when he began to need a lift to get from the bed to his wheelchair, and 37 when he passed away. Pretty good for only having been given three to five years to live! He streched them into 35 years! And they weren’t JUST 35 years.

    HE brought so much joy and wisdom into people’s lives that it was amazing.
    He taught my little brother how to play baseball even from his wheelchair. He taught me how to swim and dive, even though he couldn’t SEE me in the pool (he listened to my discriptions and pantamimes of what i was doing and told me how to improve it!)
    He taught us how to work on cars, conduct business on the phone, plan and problem solve, but MOST IMPORTANTLY HE TAUGHT US TO NEVER GIVE UP!

    After the life example that my father set for me, how can I EVER consider giving in to life’s circumstances?
    He has left behind a legacy of love and caring, pride, determination, and perserverence.
    He has taught us to love learning, communicate clearly, overcome obsticles, and NEVER TAKE ANY ONE OR ANY DAY FOR GRANTED!

    MS did not diminish my father, it challanged him to be the best he could be EVERY DAY.

    He inspired many within our community. I wish your friend could have met him.


    1. Re: MS

      I wish my friends could have met him, too. Their dad passed away after just two or three years, as I recall. Their only experience with the disease is as a swift and inexorable terror.

      Medicine has gotten better, though, and they’re ALL fighters at heart.


  4. I came here through a friend of a friend’s post on ‘s journal. Today, she posted about her MS diagnosis “anniversary.” We’re both young women living with MS (I’m 29).

    We have different types of MS. I have secondary-progressive MS. I was diagnosed five years ago, and in that time, I’ve had to go on full disability, and I use a rolling walker and power wheelchair regularly.

    Please know that your friend and his family are in my thoughts. The first few months are the roughest, but in some ways, it does get easier. Life doesn’t stop, and you learn to adapt. You learn your strength and your abilities and your passions more keenly than ever before. You also learn who loves you and who is truly a friend. I hope you’ll be able to be that for him. You can never have enough of both, whether you have MS or not.

    Please, point him to communities, if you talk regularly with him. The NMSS (National Multiple Sclerosis Society) has a number of support groups. There are a number of them here in LJ and on the Internet. It’s vital to have support from people with MS who can relate.

    Best wishes to you, and to him and his family…

    1. I’ll second that, Allie… And yes, while Allie’s type is secondary progressive, I’m in the recurring-remitting category… With the exception of one period in my life, you really couldn’t tell by looking that anything was wrong…

      Howard, it may just be easier to say this by telling you why pointed us to you to begin with:

      I’ve come a long way. And I’m not giving up. 12 years… And many more to come.

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