It was a beautiful Sunday morning in February 2012. I was in hospital for a few hours having my routine monthly treatment for MS when a woman sat down in front of me for her treatment. She had a funny walk so I thought she might have MS like me.
She smiled at me and I asked her in a cheeky way: “ Do you have what I have?”
She replied, “I have Motor Neurons”. What do you have?
Thirty seconds later I was sitting next to her as she showed me photos on her phone of her two beautiful children, Luca and Ruby, and I was showing her photos of Harry, my son. A special friendship was formed instantly and my life was enriched forever.
Over the next hour we worked out that I have known Emma’s sister Sasha for 20 years and that we have a whole community of people in common. Emma lives around the corner from me, we have kids of similar ages, are in our late 30’s and we have similar personalities.
There was a deeper connection however: where we met and how we met.
Having a chronic illness is not easy. For me, it’s the psychological impact of dealing with what could happen to me, the unknown. For Em it’s the unimaginable knowing and coming to acceptance that her body is slowing dying, her muscles are collapsing and there is nothing that can stop it.
When I met Em her legs were wobbly (we agreed that that was no big deal, so are mine) and her speech was deteriorating but she could still walk and she could still talk so things were ok. Over the last 16 months walking has become a lot harder and her ability to speak has gone.