Friday, May 24, 2013

8 milestones of a caring life

Since my own My Lung Cancer Odyssey leapt from Stage 1 to Stage 4 recently, I am finding each morning more like looking at a surreal gate.

Which may or may not have to do with the life fact that I have cared for my wife’s severe Multiple Sclerosis for a quarter century and my own lung cancer for only 17 months.

Oddly this morning reflected in the dawn showers I found myself back in the summer of 1988. Our world as a young family starting out was 13 months from exploding. Patti had been diagnosed with ‘probable MS’ in 1985 but the minor symptoms were receded and forgotten.

We were sharing a vacation house with Patti’s brother and sister in law and their daughter at Nag’s Head, NC. 

My brain was stabbed awake just before dawn and I gave up on sleep. Unlike migraines, with my Cluster Headaches light, motion, and activity always helped soothe.

Soooo why not carry our daughter down to learn to greet dawn at the beach. 5 months old is never too young.

I also found myself wondering about parents? I cannot even imagine what it would feel to be a parent when your adult child’s life explodes from a monstrous diagnosis like MS to a dependent life which you cannot fix - just hold and soothe. Life really is told in minutes of care.

Patti’s Mom, Gloria Decker celebrated her 80th birthday today. Patti safe, secure, and attended was in the care facility. How aware or even wanting to participate with her siblings was doubtful. MS has a way of flipping life with age. Young adults cannot remember, cannot participate.

Gloria has been a mainstay for Patti, always visiting always encouraging, loving unequivocally.

We wanted to do something special that even Patti could see and enjoy. …. and putting our heads together we decide to try and create  a ‘milestone picture’ featuring 8 firework fountains for each milestone year of 80 years of a caring life. 

Living with MS as a family creates a special kind of family.

Patrick Leer
Health Activist:
Caregivingly Yours, MS Caregiver @


  1. I have always found it amazing that people with MS and caregivers can communicate their feelings so effectively with one simple phrase: "MS Sucks".

    It is with this spirit that I hope you can appreciate my response to hearing about your recent "upgraded" cancer status:

    "Dude, that sucks."

  2. Looks like a great birthday memento! [love the Phillies banner on the door!]

  3. Thanks Muff! With MS symptoms and all it always takes a stretch with creativity to make 'special' work. Patti's folks are die hard Phillies fans. :)


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