A Very Public Thank You

Bear with me, please. I need to publicly thank a few folks. Okay, more than few folks. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2006, I’ve had help from hundreds, more like thousands of people. Every day I can point to individuals who have made my life just a little bit easier with this disease. Now I know where I am going to end my kudos—with my caregiver and life partner, Laura. But where the hell do I start? Why not at the beginning….

So on the night my right side went numb, thank you to the ER doc for not tip-toeing around the possibility that it might be MS. And to all the neurologists and specialists and doctors and EMTs and nurses and therapists and trial coordinators since then who have supported me figuratively and, that one time, literally, when I passed out taking my first shot

My family. Karen is at left, Kathryn at right.
Thank you to my sister Karen for all of her physical therapy work, my sister Kathryn for her unwavering support, and my sister-in-law Eve who is running half marathons in every state of the union including Washington D.C. (51 in all!) to raise money for MS. Unbelievable. And thank you to my parents who back me at every turn.

Thank you to all the people who have opened doors for me over the years. And to all the people who didn’t just grab the door I was already opening because they could see that I was using it for support and that if it were to swing wide open suddenly—picture a rodeo clown throwing open the gates of a pen holding an ornery bull—the gesture of kindness would have certainly pulled me along, flinging me asunder and resulting, undoubtedly, in more thanks to EMTs. I mean, I love those guys, but I’ve seen enough of those heroes.

Thank you to all of the kind and generous members of ActiveMSers who have written me over the years with notes of appreciation, some of which have been so over the top I had to forward them on to my parents to read. And to those members who are still waiting patiently for me to write back, thanks for understanding that I don’t always respond promptly (I will write, really!). And to those few who troll me because I need to be reminded that not everyone in the universe is a fan of beer and Cheetos and my humor (wait, whaaa?).

Lenny and Claudia, two of our many dear friends.
Thank you to my friends who invite me to dinner at their home without expecting a reverse invite. To my friends who pass up rocky single track to cycle on pavement with me. To my friends who travel many miles (current record, 8,284 miles) to see me just because. To my friends who continue inviting Laura to partake in those passions that I can no longer easily do (snowboarding, hiking, the works)To my friends who understand.

Thank you to the mailman who waits for me to answer the door instead of dropping the package at the stoop so I don’t have to bend down to pick it up. (And inevitably teeter over, hello EMTs!) To my bike tech who pushes me to the front of the line to keep me riding because he knows how important it is for me to stay fit. And to my neighbors who insist on looking after me even though I insist I am fine-ish. (Urban Dictionary has 73 and counting definitions for the word fine, most of which have little to do with actually feeling fine.)

Nicole Lemelle from My New Normals.
Thank you to all who have offered passionate and “insightful” advice about diets, Lyme disease, teeth fillings, turmeric, airport metal detectors, aspartame, and the cavalcade of all of the many cures (CCSVI!) that have been published on the internet and have mysteriously escaped my notice these past years. Your advice keeps me on my toes when it comes to vetting the latest MS buzz. And thanks to the researchers who work tirelessly to separate fact from the poppycock.

Thank you to all the members of ActiveMSers who continue to inspire me far more than they could ever imagine. And to those members who contribute to the website, forums, and social media, further inspiring all of us with this disease. And to all the champions of our shared disease (as well as other conditions) who I have had the great fortune to cross paths with virtually and IRL.

And thank you to my wife Laura—for everything. I notice. Every moment of every day.


Matt Allen G said…
It's crazy, I could not imagine being diagnosed before the internet because so many people that I met ONLINE have helped me, even if it was just by putting a smile on my face or letting me know that someone else understands. I am sure you would agree that THAT is a big deal that we take for granted in the era of the internet. So yeah, hundreds? Thousands? I couldn't even tell you but what I DO know is that we are all definitely part of a community and we all have to look out for each other. I am glad so many people, in the physical world and virtual world, have helped you. Without people like them? People like us would not be where we are today.
Diane said…
And thank you Dave for info, laughter and hope!!
GaryP said…
Dave: Thanks for your tireless work on activemsers, your humor through it all (which we all need), for putting a face (ok perhaps more like a keyboard) on the need to stay positive and engaged in life. And for giving all of us voice in this daily struggle. Looking forward to meeting you one of these days, perhaps in the DC metro area :)
Dave Bexfield said…
Matt, you are so right. And thanks Diane. And Gary, if I don't make it back to DC, you are always welcome to come to Albuquerque. I'd love to connect!
Unknown said…
Thank you, Dave, for being there, and for all the work you do on this website. I feel so fortunate to have found you last summer. My new cooling vest gave me a wonderful tennis season and your adventures remind me that I am fine, that MS bodily aggravations are nothing to be afraid of and I can do whatever I want, as long as I go at my pace.
Good for you tackling Macchu Picchu! I was there long before my diagnosis and it's not for the faint hearted.
I don't know what the world has in store for us all in 2017, but I hope you continue to be happy and well.
Anonymous said…
Happy New Year Dave, wishing you a fabulous 2017. And thank you for being THE ActiveMSer.
Fran said…
And thank YOU Dave. If I hadn't discovered activeMSerrs when I was dxd, I'd have thought the diagnosis meant I should just roll over and die
Dave Bexfield said…
Jane, Fran, Anon, happy New Year as well! Happy to have helped get us through 2016 and I'll do my best for 2017!
Cathy said…
Love this! When I was diagnosed in 1986 there was no internet or approved medications. Scary and lonely. SM has is drawbacks but one of the best parts is the MS community I love. Great post that reminds us all to be grateful for every single blessing in our lives despite MS!!
Cathy said…
Forgot to say my comment above is from me, Cathy Chester!
Dave Bexfield said…
Cathy, thank you so much! Our community is indeed pretty awesome.
Unknown said…
Thank you for your blog is really helpful I was diagnosed about two years ago and it's primary Progressive so it's really doing the slow creep on my Mobility but I still go to yoga I still go to the gym I love to swim but sometimes I need to rest or use a cart if I'm going to a music festival. My trusty cane helps me get around as long as I can go at my pace. So I will see where the MS takes me, or where I take it.
Dave Bexfield said…
Ick, I don't like the creep either. It's great that you are hitting the gym and the studio. You might also want to consider trekking poles. I always preferred them to a cane. Glad you are enjoying the site!

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