“Why does hair grow on my face, but not on the top of my head?!”
This was the question my dad had written on the whiteboard for my neurologist to answer in my room during my first hospital admittance and diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis.
My dad, my superhero
That was two years ago and I will never forget my superhero father, dropping everything and driving 10 hours to get to me the second I called him and told him my MRI showed a mass on my brain, and that I was being admitted to the hospital. During one of the scariest and most emotional times in my life my dad was there, in true fashion... coffee in hand and dad jokes ready to go. When I reflect on that week in the hospital I don’t remember all the details but I remember my sweet dad, sleeping on a pull out vinyl couch, waking up to help me to the restroom when my legs failed me and I could not walk, cheering me on with each improvement with physical therapy, sneaking me in the good coffee and watching all the Marvel Movies we could find on TV.
A dark time filled with hope
Even though I was feeling all of the emotions one would feel when told they have an incurable and progressive and painful disease, I was being filled with hope from the man who in my eyes, hung the moon and the stars and if he said it was going to be ok, then it was. There are some people who tell their stories of diagnosis and it’s filled with deep grief, and while I did experience those feelings; now I look back on my diagnosis and I am thankful for it.
By my side, calming my heart
For several weeks, I got to have my dad all to myself, which was not something that I had been able to have for years after moving from NC to OH. After being released from the hospital and sent home, we binged watched so many shows and movies, we cooked breakfast, lunch and dinner together, we talked about life and dreams and when the realization of my new life would hit me like a wave he would let me cry and then had all the right answers that would calm my heart and reassure me that it was in fact, going to be ok.
You're never too old to need your Dad
Even though I was 31 years old, during that time he would help me get from my couch to my bed and tuck me in, and every morning he would help me get up and out of bed and bring me coffee and we would wake up slowly, with our warm mugs in hand, talking about everything and anything. I’m sharing these moments with all of you, because there is always a silver lining in every situation- even in a heavy diagnosis. I did not know it then that those moments spent with my dad because of my diagnosis would become memories I would cling to until a couple of weeks ago, when on February 8th, 2021... my father went home with the Lord after battling COVID-19.
It was my turn to reassure
Exactly two years ago, our roles were reversed. I was the one in a hospital bed, with my dad holding my hand telling me it was going to be ok, to it being my dad in the hospital bed, fighting for his life while I held his hand and told him it was ok to let go because I was going to be ok.
Continuing the fight
The days since his passing have been filled with a deeper grief and sorrow than I have ever experienced in my lifetime, and while I just want to give up I know that isn’t what he would want me to do...he would want to see me continue to fight MS, to continue to spread awareness, to continue to be a light in the darkness for others who are battling with their own feelings after diagnosis, and to continue to write in hopes that my story will spark hope to someone who desperately needs a sign that they’ll be ok.
There is hope
If you are reading this, and you are feeling the heaviness of your disease... if you feel like there’s just no point in trying, in fighting, because it seems pointless when there’s no relief in sight- this is for you. Just as my father told me I will tell all of you, in every single difficult situation there is hope. There might be times where all you can do is cry but don’t forget to look for the joy that surrounds you, pray during the good, bad and ugly moments. Have a thankful heart no matter what and know that it’s all going to be ok. Friends and readers of this story: I pray that you are able to see the silver lining no matter the situation that you are facing. We are only here for a short time, and it’s up to us to make the most of it.
To my Superhero
This story was written in honor of my best friend, my superhero, my biggest cheerleader and the man who helped me find the courage I needed to put on my armor and fight this battle. I love and miss you every single second dad, and I will fight this battle every single day while I carry you in my heart.
Do you celebrate your MS Anniversary?