It’s funny how life throws obstacles our way and we have to “play the cards we are dealt.” Whether it’s a life of luxury or massive frustrations, we all breathe “the same air.” Currently, I’m a freshman at Monmouth University. Oh say, about 1995-1997, my Dad came down with Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Why? Who knows? I certainly don’t. His family has never had MS or any disease as bad as MS. So why him? To my understanding, MS is a bad gene mutation which can be inherited. Whatever the scientific facts, I hope I never get it.
Anyway, when I was about six years old, my father was coaching my soccer team. During one practice, he slipped and fell; seeming to spark the “wildfire” (chronic disorder) that was about to go “ablaze”. Prior to this, my father was very active in sports such as golf and was (actually still is) a hard and determined worker in business.
As the years went by, his disease seemed to get worse and worse; similar to having frostbite in your hands without being able to warm them up inside. Analogies aside, he began to use one can to walk when I was eight years old, two canes when I was twelve, and by the time I was thirteen, he was in a motorized wheelchair. Luckily, (which is a rare word to find in a story on MS) he is living in a time of advanced medicine and technology.
Since there is no cure for MS, he has been on “heavy” medications for years to try to treat this brutal disorder. Moving into our new home in Manalapan this past summer, we had it designed to make it as handicapped efficient (lower sinks, handicapped ramps, etc.) as possible. My dad also still drives his mini-van using hand controls installed in his car as he has lost quite a bit of feeling in his legs.
It’s been difficult for my mother, my father, and I to cope with this debilitating disease since the “man” of the house is supposed to be the husband. However, I feel this has really brought my family together and, through all the fights and battles, we all love each other.
Still sharp as a “tack”, (that being a very generous compliment geared toward my Dad of course), he is still a loveable and fun guy to hang around with. It is commonplace to find us watching sports or just “chilling” as guys do. Anyway, I know my Dad is really proud of me for my accomplishments in life to date.
However, what he doesn’t know is how proud I am of him as he fights this long, uphill battle against MS while always being there for me.