Learning Together: A Wife’s Perspective
When Jack was first experiencing symptoms, I remember walking into his hospital room, and before I even had a chance to say anything, the doctor who was sitting across from him in a chair uttered the words “MS.” I listened as the doctor described the disease and Jack asked questions. I didn’t say anything; I just continued to let them talk. I was just as confused as anyone.
Before Jack received his diagnosis, I already had a hunch that MS was at play. When he lost vision in his eye on a work trip, I did a lot of crazy Googling and read all sorts of information that led me to believe it may be MS. After all, I did diagnose him via WebMD.com when he had appendicitis! This time, I really hoped I was wrong.
At first, the diagnosis was really scary, as we didn’t know what to expect from here on out. Thankfully, a family friend of ours who has MS filled us in immediately and cleared up a lot of the fear and confusion. Jack was diagnosed just a week or two before the annual “Race to Erase MS” gala, hosted by Nancy Davis. We were able to attend the gala, at which I learned a ton about the disease. Over the first few weeks, several other people with MS, like Montel Williams, heard of Jack’s diagnosis and reached out to him. Montel was a great help and support for Jack during that time, and we are forever grateful to him and all those who shared their stories with us.
In the beginning, I personally felt a little helpless. It’s hard to hear a diagnosis like that, especially when it’s someone you love, and not be able to do anything about it. It took some time to digest, but I think what helped me remain calm was Jack’s outlook. He is such an optimistic, uplifting person, and was so positive from the very beginning. Even from that first day, when we were all sad and scared in that hospital room, he was making jokes about how ripped his arm muscles would be if he had to be in a wheelchair. Jack made us laugh through the tears. He is really great at finding the silver lining in any dark situation.
Jack works really hard, and as someone who has MS and a hectic schedule, he NEEDS some decompression time. I try to be as accommodating as possible. I always try to keep in mind his stress level, and do what I can to help keep him balanced, whether it’s saying, “Hey, this Saturday, why don’t you go surfing with friends?” or “Hey, I’ll hang with Pearl for a few hours if you want to go have some alone time.” Allowing Jack to have his alone time, to get away from the pressures of family and work is truly the best gift I can give him, and I try to do it often.
Over the last few years, we have had a couple of scares, but nothing that has brought us down. We have each other to get through the tough times, and Jack knows I will always be here to support him. I think searching for the positive in everything is a way to truly break free from the fears that this disease brings. You never know what tomorrow will hold, so it’s best to live each day to the fullest.