a celebration of life

Jason, his dad, and I attended a "Celebration of Life" service this past Tuesday evening. A friend of Jason's passed away at the age of 26. Prior to his death, we understood that David was suffering from an inoperable, non-cancerous tumour in his brainstem.

Approximately one year ago, Jason and I ran into David at his place of work. As we strolled down the soup aisle at Sobey's, we heard,

"Hey Emily! Hey Jason!"

I raised my head (at this point in time I was walking around with my head down, watching every step) towards the voice, and had no idea who was standing in front of me.

"Hey Dave." Jason responded.

David and Jason had curled on the same curling team, and when not on the same team, at the same club. David proceeded to tell us how he had been sick lately with hydroencephalitis, and that he would be returning to his neurologist because he hadn't be feeling so hot for the past week.

So David and I exchanged neuro stories, and concluded that I was in a worse off position than he was. That would be the last time we would see David. David would enter the hospital shortly after that, and to my knowledge, not be out of some level of care facility for his remaining year.

We would receive phone calls from David, and get updates from various sources along the way. When David would call our house, looking to speak with Jason and I would answer the phone, he would always ask me how I was doing. He was quick to point out the advances in MS, and all the experimental drugs that are out there.

The celebration on Tuesday shed a bit more light on David's situation. He had been sick for some time: his mother told us that he in fact had a disease similar to the elephant man, but on the inside...neurofibromatosis*. The family was grateful to the neurologist who demanded prompt care for David two years ago, and thus extended David's life.

*1 in 4000 people suffer from NF-1 and 10% of those suffer from NF-2 With NF-2, masses grow in the central nervous system, in particular near and around the brainstem.

The Celebration of Life for David was void of any flowers, or large photos of David. From what I could see, there was neither an urn nor a casket. The church, however, did overflow with people. We had to watch the service from a live video feed in another room.

So you are probably wondering why I am choosing to share this with you. David was known for always asking you how YOU are doing. David himself was "as good as could be expected", but "how are you?" is what he wanted to know.

And on a day that was for celebrating the life of their son and brother, David's family, whom I have never met, asked me how I was doing..."You have MS, right?"

wow. We can learn so much from one another.



Little bits about my life with MS

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