Losing a Loved One to a Tragic Disease
When I was 12, my father was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.
It was quite a shock to us because he had always been a remarkably active and vibrant man. An avid skier both snow and water; small airplane pilot; army vet...it was inconceivable that he suddenly had to give up working, then give up his driverís license, his freedom, and eventually his life.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system that generally strikes people between the ages of 20 and 40. Though there are many theories, it is not known what causes it and the symptoms are quite varied. In my father's case, he started with loss of balance and coordination, then progressed to tremors, speech difficulties and memory loss.
In many cases, the disease is "remissive" with symptoms coming on in outbreaks, then disappearing without warning, but my dadís was progressive, so the disease just kept getting worse. At least he was in his 50's when the symptoms first appeared instead of his 20's or 30's when the onset is most likely a small stroke of luck.
After suffering with the disease for about 15 years, my dad passed away due to tertiary effects of the MS. He had tried experimental treatments, but there was no cure. Seven years later, though great progress has been made, there still is no cure. I am the captain of the EveryDay Angels Foundation Team in the annual MS Walk and I walk in honor of my dad and everyone suffering from this horrible illness.
(For more information on MS Walk-a-thons, Bike-a-thons or MS in general, go to www.nmss.org.)
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