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My Mom and MS

I chose this background because it is a scene my mother would have loved to
paint. She was an artist and a college graduate. My mother was diagnosed
with Multiple Sclerosis three years after she married my father. This
was a year after she had battled cancer, and a few months after she had
my older brother.

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an incurable disease. Also, there is much
controversy about what is its cause. MS takes the myelin sheath on
the nerves and turns it into scar tissue. The affected nerves then can
no longer pass along signals. One of the worst parts about MS is that
when the disease gets worse, the attitude of the sufferer usually improves.
When the disease is in remission, their attitude worsens. This is one
of the reasons for a high divorce rate among couples in which one of them
has this illness. Thankfully, my father realized this early on and was
especially kind to my mother when she had remissions.

I was born five years after my mother's diagnosis. She was still able to
get around on her own until I was nine years old. After that, the MS got
steadily worse. When I was ten, she lost her ability to talk. In 1984,
the doctors gave her five years to live. In 1989, she had a feeding
tube put in. By 1990, my mother was totally disabled. We lost her
to kidney failure Nov. 23, 1998.

Despite her setbacks, my mother's spirit was very much alive. I learned
from her that the eyes are truly windows to the soul. Her eyes and her
face were very expressive (her form of communication in the later years
was through a blinking code of "yes" and "no"). When she smiled, her whole
face lit up.

It was tough growing up this way. My mother was the center of our world
for a long time. I also helped take care of her sometimes, and it
wasn't always a pleasent thing for me. Still, I loved her deeply.

I am also glad my dad chose to take care of her at home. Even though
he had limited emotional strength to watch her slowly get worse, his
love for her was limitless. He kissed her everyday and called her his
bride. They had been married for 32 years when she passed away.

I miss her a lot. All I can think about right now
is that her struggle on this earth is finally over.
Her spirit is free.

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