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Thursday, August 21, 2008

My Personal Hero

                My Personal Hero
My personal hero is not a hero at all. She’s a heroine. In fact, yesterday, August 25, 2008, marked 35 years that I’ve been married to this beautiful lady. Kathi is beautiful in many ways. She turned my head when I first saw her at church more than three decades ago and she is still a beauty. 

But much more than outward looks, Kathi has a beauty of character which begins with kindness toward others. She is sensitive, smart, and a wiz at financial numbers. She’s been a great wife, a wonderful mother, and a great friend. Kathi is also a person of deep faith.

All of these characteristics do not, however, explain why she is my hero. I’ll try to explain it, though I doubt my words will be sufficient to describe why she is my hero.

About ten years ago Kathi was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis—MS as it is known. It was a shock, needless to say. She woke up on the day before Christmas and felt numbness in her legs. It took a while for the diagnosis, but the doctors concluded that she had MS, or more precisely, relapsing-remitting MS. It’s a disease that strikes young women the most, but it can be devastating to anyone who has it. Nearly 50% of all of those diagnosed with MS proceed into secondary-progressive MS, which can cripple both mentally and physically, and even lead to death.

Although MS is considered an "Orphan" disease, the numbers of those struck by it is growing rapidly. Thankfully, drug companies (with the incentive of longer patent rights) have come up with a number of drugs. While these drugs do not cure MS, they do delay, ameliorate, and otherwise impede the progression of it. They are indeed a blessing.

But I am getting off my topic. What do you do when you have MS fatigue? What do you do when you have balance problems? What do you do when you have double vision? Or what do you do when you have other problems such as optic neuritis?

And what kind of an attitude do you then take toward multiple weekly injections that are not only very painful, but also cause site reactions and become more difficult with each passing year? It would be easy to have a very bad attitude.
You could hide out at home. Be mad at the world. Give up on life. Or you could take out your unhappiness on others. I suppose some people might do that.

But not Kathi. She does not choose to let MS run her life. She, instead, chooses to live her life to the fullest. Those of you who know her well know that she’s not a complainer. She’s energetic when she doesn’t feel like being energetic. She’s hard working when she may not feel like getting out of bed in the morning. She’s more concerned about the health of others than most and rarely talks about her own challenges.

She babysits. She dances. She goes boating. She attends baseball games. She travels. She volunteers. She handles our finances. She is the "general contractor" for all our home remodeling and repairs. She’s my wife and I love her dearly.
Happy 35th Anniversary, Kathi.

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