Christmas is a time of being with family and friends. I thought that my daughter’s speech for her English credits would make a great guest blog. This is her speech, directly as she typed and delivered it…….
“What if I told you that your muscles were going to slowly deteriorate into nothing? What would you do if doctors were baffled over your health, scrambling to find a cure? Or if your mobility was slowly going to decline resulting in no choice but to abandon all hobbies, forgetting all your aspirations and leaving behind whatever stable life you once had? For you this may be a theoretical question, but for an unfortunate 600 people living in New Zealand, this is their reality.
I was 9 years old when my Mum told me that she had just been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis, also known as MS. She said for a while an arm or leg will stop listening to her brain, and go to sleep, but should return to normal after a period of time. Being a 9 year old, I wasn’t too concerned as nothing was physically noticeable, it was all just a little confusing. Little did I realise how quickly things would change.
For a while, everything was normal and routines stayed the same. After a while Mum would limp and fall behind in public frequently. She started to wear braces and supports on her legs to improve her balance. Although we all knew it was going to happen, we were surprised over how quickly this all came about, and the fact that there were no breaks or improvements.
Things were getting worse and Mum started to inject herself with a variety of different medicines each night. After a period of time with the medicines not working, Mum was re-diagnosed with PPMS also known as Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis.
This was particularly bad news because PPMS is the least common form of MS and this means that there is less funding for research, and currently no drug treatments. Additionally her physical and possibly cognitive state would gradually decline with no periods of improvement or stabilisation.
This resulted in a distinct change. Mum went from braces, walking stick, to crutches and sometimes wheelchair. It was at this point that my 11 year old self started to feel embarrassed by this change, especially in public.
Overtime I got older and more mature, realising that being ignorant wasn’t going to solve the situation and cure my Mum. Rather than feeling sorry for myself and being embarrassed, I started to change my attitude and started to enjoy moments with my Mum and creating new memories.
Fast forwarding to 2018. Mum is currently in a full time electric wheelchair and is unable to do household chores. Though she still manages to work 4 days a week and help out at a Karate class on weekends, and has successfully started a new business in the last few months.
Someone once said “Train your mind to see the good in everything. Positivity is a choice. The happiness in your life is determined on the quality of your thoughts.”
Despite PPMS being a debilitating disease, it has made me and my family the way we are today. I think this message can apply to us all, as seeing the positives in things may seem difficult but it’ll never happen if you don’t try.
Walt Disney once said “All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles, have strengthened me… you may not realise it at the time, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.”
No wonder she got an Excellence credit for this - her teacher had tears in her eyes.