When she was in her mid to late teens my mother began to have symptoms of multiple sclerosis. She would not find a name for this horror until she was 40 years old. In all that time she would get steadily worse and worse with no name for that foul mess of a disease that followed her wherever she would go. In that time she would marry my father, have six children, and make a life for us from her pioneer stock in her strong will. Mom was a farm woman doing whatever needed to be done at the moment. She worked so hard even while losing her strength, her vitality, and her stature, stumbling and falling, never knowing what was going to happen to her beautiful body from one moment to the next
What a nightmare it was for her not to have even my father believe that something was really wrong with her. Even he believed it was all just in her head. She went to doctor after doctor and no one could figure out what could be the cause of all the distress she went through.
Imagine the relief she felt. and my father too, when they finally found a diagnosis. A neurologist finally found a name that she could put to the nightmare and grief and the loss that she felt. Multiple Sclerosis. That fucking scourge. That goddam thief who stole my mom and never brought her back whole again. How strong she was to raise six kids and not one of us has been to prison, been arrested on any drug charges or been convicted of breaking and entering.
And now my sister has MS, I have MS, and my mom had MS for all those years. Between the three of us we have had MS for over 100 years. A long journey indeed.