Saturday, May 1, 2010

Walking, rolling, and pushing to end MS

"I have good news and I have bad news. The good news is that you don't have a tumor. The bad news is that we think you have multiple sclerosis." Those were the words I heard when diagnosed. In the many years since then, I have changed from a very quiet person, to someone who is willing to express opinions and try to make some tiny difference surrounding first people with MS, and then broadening it to people with disabilities. And many times since those diagnosis words were spoken to me, I have done the MS Walk, first in Minnesota and now for many years in Colorado.

Doing the walk started small as no one really knew I had MS. I would show up and just walk with a friend. In Colorado a few friends joined me and it started to grow. Then I didn't feel like I could walk the whole thing so I decided to stop. I volunteered one year and then stopped for a few years. But people kept asking was I going to do the Walk this year? So, when Lori was 3, the answer changed back to yes. And then I began to wheel instead of walk.

When she was 3, my parents held her between their hands, and she walked a good bit and rode in my lap a bit. At 4 and 5, she was more interested in sitting on my lap and enjoying the ride! It's her way of holding mom's hand. At 6, she had more friends and they would sidetrack an adult to a playground, or something distracting. And this year, at 7, she eagerly told me she wants to wear the shirt and pin to school.

Support grows or changes. I love when people join me for the walk. I love when people send simple good luck messages. I am not one to enjoy raising money, but this is my main cause, so in a way I enjoy it. I enjoy that some people give big donations, but I also love the smallest donations.

The weather varies. This year it was supposed to be cloudy and 30 degrees, but instead was sunny. This year, it was kind of a core team, because all the work I did had to be done from home. This year I was pushed because my shoulder still hurts. And that I hate, because it's really boring to just sit there, even with all the conversation. Patience grows thin - I'm ready to be fully recovered.

We returned home. There was still physical therapy today, and then propping up swollen legs, and doing more exercises. Like every other big event, life strangely continues, as if the event is a blip on the radar screens of only some. But it's big - this year it was beautiful. Ending this post is difficult because efforts to end MS don't end. People continue to live with MS and continue to search for ways to end MS. The post ends and life goes on, but the disease and efforts to end it - they remain.

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