When she told us she had MS, we were in disbelief. I thought, “What did I do wrong? Will our other daughter develop it? What about our grandchildren? How will our son-in-law handle it? What do we do for her?” As the years pass, these questions are being answered.
I did nothing wrong. The doctor has explained that MS happens to people and nothing I did during pregnancy caused it. Our second daughter is at no greater risk than the general population. The same is true for our grandchildren. Our son-in-law has supported our daughter’s efforts to start a foundation to help others with MS. (We should have known he would rise to the challenge because we met him for the first time at Columbia-Presbyterian Hospital as we waited to see her after she had surgery.) And we are learning what to do for her by following her lead.
At first she did not want to let others know she was an MS sufferer. She rarely complained; in fact, unless she asked for help lifting a heavy cooking pot or buttoning tiny buttons on the baby’s blouse, it was easy to forget she has MS. There were times of tears when we were alone: worry about the future progression of the disease. Then she decided some people had to know, like the pediatrician and the nursery-school teacher. After a few knew, it became easier to tell others. Now she even can kid when she has an “MS moment.” Through it all she has remained strong and does her best to keep up her routines. She is a hands-on mom to her children, a make-it-from-scratch-with-organic-ingredients cook, and a regular at the gym.
While working with her doctors, she learned about the different forms of MS, the medicines available, cutting-edge research, and people who don’t have the advantages she has. So she decided to start a Foundation to spread the word, provide assistance, fund research, and give hope to others. MS HOPE Foundation has become her way of dealing with MS.
We continue to ask ourselves, “What do we do for her?” Remind her to slow down and rest before she feels tired. Remind her to ask for help when she needs it. Remind her it is okay to say, “No,” when she just can’t do it all. Remind her to take time to relax and do nothing sometimes. Let her know how proud we are of her and the way she turns her lemons into lemonade. Tell her we love her and pray for her and her fellow MS fighters every day.
This article was written by Linda Zimmermann.healing, MS, ms treatments, multiple sclerosis