Loss of a Friend

Is it possible to make a friend by reading a book they wrote?  I believe so.  I believe Annette Funicello became a friend of mine when I read her book, A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes.  I didn’t relate to her fame or fortune obviously,  but I related to her battle with Multiple Sclerosis.

I read her book in 1994 a few years after I was diagnosed at the age of 15.  It felt so good to read her words and to find someone who understood.  Someone who was bringing light to a disease that was often hidden and misunderstood.

I battled MS many, many years.  I did many of the injectable medications, 15 hospital stays in 3 years and 2 years of IV steroids in a freestanding clinic.

In that time I finished high school, put myself through college, spent a couple years on the mission field, met and got engaged to a miserable jerk, thankfully got dumped, met a great guy and got married.

Then suddenly I received the golden ticket of MS.  I went into spontaneous remission.  We started a family.  I have been in remission now for almost 7 years.

My girls don’t know a mama in a wheelchair.  They don’t know a mama sick from powerful steroids and medications.  They know a mama that can play with them. They know a mama who is getting back to running.  They know a mama who was greatly inspired by Annette Funicello.  She gave their mama hope when she needed it.  She let a young girl know she was not alone with this crummy disease.

I have cried so much since I saw the tweet about Annette passing away Monday at the age of 70 from complications of the MS.  I don’t know what to do to honor my friend, but there must be something.  Some way,  I can join the many who will seek to honor her in any number of fashions.  I don’t know what that will look like, but know, my friend, you will not be forgotten.IMG_20130409_3My Patrice wearing her Disney jacket (she, at age 2, is in no way interested in standing still for a picture)

 

Survive til you Thrive!

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