Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Derek's blog


I've been following Derek Miller's blog for a little while. I only found him out there because he mentioned The Who. Then I went and read about his life from the end of last year until now. He is amazing to me. Reading his progress on his blog makes me feel stronger. I don't have cancer, but the chronic nature of MS and it's accompanying roller coaster has become wearing to me. Here's this geeky tech guy who's had a blog for 6 years or so and ends up chronicling the progress of a disease that completely takes him by surprise. He does it in such a straightforward manner. I'd be embarassed if he read this, as I don't know him at all. However, he has given me a lot just by being who he is. His dad is cool, too.

I always took some kind of solace in MS not being considered 'fatal'. People with MS tend to live only 7 years less than average. We just become increasingly more miserable as we go on :-) It's an aspect of disease (early death) I haven't had to take on. For my first few years, I thought I had to live life as if I was going to be in a wheelchair next week. I realized I couldn't live like that. A wise person told me not to plan on my MS screwing things up. Just wait and see if it does, and then figure it out.

Something Derek Miller's experiences have taught me is to respect what MS is doing to me now. I tend to try and override it, which completely backfires. I feel like Derek has handled his situation with such grace and, yes, compassion. He doesn't push himself; he can't. Of course, his situation and mine are vastly different. But a phrase that comes to mind is, 'honor the process'. I told Ozzie yesterday that I thought maybe what MS wants for me and what I want for memight be the same (peace, less stress, multi-tasking, slow down).

I used to work with a woman who was a real pill. Really difficult. Had a loud, crazy, cackley laugh that you could hear for miles around. One of those people you need to go take a course to figure out how to deal with. She loved to joke around, but frequently in a very passive-aggressive underhanded way. She eventually left my department and moved on to another one at the university. We were cordial enough when we saw each other, but never went out of our way to say hello or anything.

Maybe 5 years after she left our department, I heard through the university grapevine that she'd been diagnosed with breast cancer. Yeah, I had to have compassion and stop disliking her, I thought. I could do that. One day, I was on the bus going into work. She got on a few stops after me. I saw her, and figured I say something once we got into town.

As I got off the bus, I was behind her. I said "hey, M., I am very sorry to hear of your cancer diagnosis." She said, sincerely enough, "thanks. And I'm sorry to hear you have MS."
The university grapevine works both ways, as it turns out. Then, as she was stepping off the bus, "well, at least mine's curable!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Now there's a positive outlook for you.

3 comments:

Derek said...

Sometimes you can't take the pill out of the person. My former roommate's (and still guitarist's) mother had MS for decades, and while it did disable her increasingly over the years, she kept her strong personality throughout. Neither of our conditions is easy to deal with, but they are our lives -- the way I look at it is I have no choice but to be a cancer patient right now, so I'll make the best of it I can.

trrish said...

Derek, I literally blushed when I saw your comment. I had thought the other day, "I bet Derek would get a kick out of my "at least mine's curable' story", so I am geeked that you read it.

Well, you do seem to be making the best of it that you can, and I admire that.

I was really energetic about battling MS for about 5 years and then I started losing it.

My own 'strong personality' seems to still be intact. :-)

Derek said...

Yeah, things can suck when they drag on for years. I've had Type 1 diabetes for 16 years too, but because it's under decent control it has become a simple background fact of my life. MS would be harder to do that with, I think, since my diabetes isn't getting worse.