Wednesday, January 30, 2013

"Dad, why do you take shots?"

A few weeks ago my wife warned me that our 10-year-old daughter had asked her about the injection bubble-pack wrappers she'd seen in the master bathroom's trash. My wife told her that they weren't hers, and that she would have to ask me about them. Tonight she did.

I'd had time to rehearse, but my mind still raced as I started my answer. "My doctor says that the shots are supposed to help my nervous system. Remember when I was really tired and limping a few years ago for a month or so? Remember mom driving us instead of me? The shots are supposed to help keep that from happening again."

This seemed to satisfy her, but then she followed up with "Oh, I thought that maybe there was something wrong with you." I paused for a bit, not knowing exactly what to say. I try my best not to lie to the kids (as evidenced by the bizarre death-burial-cremation discussion at dinner earlier in the evening), but I also don't want to burden them with unnecessary worry. Worrying about something you can't control is only good for dealing with it twice instead of once (anticipation and actualization), so why lay it all out right before bedtime? "Well, there could be something wrong with me if I don't take care of myself and give myself a shot each night" is where I left it, and that satisfied her.

I'm sitting here now struggling over my answer. Telling our 10-year-old that I have Multiple Sclerosis seems to serve no purpose. Yes, there is something wrong with me. Hell, there's plenty wrong with me. Depending on how you look at things everyone has something wrong with them, and we are all falling apart at different paces from the moment our feet first touch the ground.

There will certainly come a day when I say the words to both her and her younger brother. It's my sincere hope that it happens when they are in high school. I imagine myself much the same as I am now: husband, runner, musician and active participant in my life. I take exceptional care of myself, and I believe what I am doing is working. The low-fat Vegan plus fish thing can be annoying when I eat out, but by following in the footsteps of Dr. Swank and George Jelinek on the diet and exercise front simply feels right. If it is, then the news will come as a big surprise to the kids, and by that time I hope to not even be thinking about the disease anymore.

On the running front, the kids and I attended our running club's awards dinner last Friday. I won the age 40-49 category for our Grand Prix Series of 12 races, and I followed that up two days later with a Master's win at the Sunrise at Old Tucson 4 mile(ish) trail race. Check out the day-go threads (courtesy of Brooks) as I try to hurdle the town drunk on the Main Street movie set (I'm on the left):


crowther said...

Mike, I was just reading Scott Jurek's book, which talks about his mother's MS, and it made me think of you and wonder how you're doing. I was happy to find that you're still racing and taking satisfaction in it. I like this line: "Depending on how you look at things everyone has something wrong with them, and we are all falling apart at different paces from the moment our feet first touch the ground." I'm going to keep fighting that falling-apart process for as long as I can, and I trust you'll do the same.

Mike said...

Hey Greg, nice hearing from you and let's keep trying not to fall apart together. I read Scott's book too, and with his emphasis on nutrition I kept waiting for him to use his same nutritional guidelines with his mom. I'd like to ask him why he never did, especially with stories like Terry Wahls, Roger MacDougall, George Jelinek and others who followed a diet very close to Scott's and effectively stopped the progression of MS.

crowther said...

Mike, you *should* ask him! If you're still part of the Brooks ID program, you and he are teammates (sort of)! Tell him that Crowther sent you!

Mike said...

Hmmm, that would require me to not be a big chicken. I'll think on it...and drop your name if I get up the courage. Thx.