Mike's Personal Page

2010

     It's now the beginning of 2011 and I am finally writing my story for 2010. I know, I suck. I guess that I should have a great excuse, but actually I don't have any. I thought that if I did not write about Sara's MS, it would just remain the same and life would be good. But life is not the same at all, and everyday things change. It pains me to see the love of my life struggle with basic everyday things. I knew this woman when she was a vibrant individual with a zest for living and adventure. Heck, who could not be attracted to someone who could leap from a mountain? God I loved that about her. The fact that we saw the same things when we stared into each others eyes is what attracted us to one another. We were the same.

     My selfish side want things to always remain the same, but we all know that only happens in fairy tales. In our reality, nothing is the same, nothing. Sara has found a new sense of purpose at her job and I can tell she is happy with the decision to leave Meriter to work exclusively with kids which is her passion. She is already making a difference in the lives of new families, but also making an impact on her fellow employees as well. Her vast knowledge base gives her the respect of her peers. On a sad note, the Asthma Camp that she had helped launch is finally coming to an end after 29 years. This camp was the brainchild of Dr. Brent Kooistra, a well respected pediatric allergist who specialized in kids asthma. Sara joined Dr. Kooistra to be a head nurse at the camp from day one. Twenty nine years later, this relationship and passion has lead to thousands of kids learning that they can be anything they want to be as long as they learn to take control of their asthma.

     This was Camp Wikidas's last year, and it is sad to think there will be no more camp. The fact that camp has ended with the retirement of Dr. Kooistra shows that it takes special people to make a change in this world. People with passion to make a difference in the lives of kids. Sara is one of these people. She is driven by this cause and always gives 110% to better the lives of others. In fact, don't think for a minute that the end of camp ended Sara's contribution to kids asthma. She is busy with new and exciting projects that will surely make an impact on getting kids to learn about their asthma at an even younger age.

     Another year has brought some new physical changes and the realization that we can't stop the disease from progressing, at least not yet. We keep fundraising, and thru our family and friends we raised over $6,500 in 2010. I am in awe at the support we get from so many people. My heartfelt thanks to all of you. Even though these efforts have been outstanding, we still long for more breakthroughs and quicker solutions to MS. But in reality, this is a marathon and the fact that we can't run that far does not change anything. Fatigue seems to creep up much quicker now and when we do physical things it can only be for a short time.

     We had a most unusual MS-150 bike ride this year. Sara and I had a great day on Saturday. Our training rides paid off with us riding at a good pace and working our way to Whitewater excited to have done so well. Our nephew Jake rode with us for the 1st time and it was great to see him support his Aunt in this way. Sara was overcome with emotion to see his desire to ride to help her. Later that evening Sara began to feel bad and could not keep food down. She did not want to eat. We had just consumed thousands of calories during the day and she could not re-fuel. Unable to sleep and hearing that the next days weather was looking threatening was just too much. She woke to feeling lousy, weak and unsure if she could continue.

     The morning weather was as predicted, rain and thunderstorms with a line approaching the area. After seeing the radar many people wondered if they should continue. Bus's were arranged to take riders to Madison if they opted out and others were given the choice as to go or not. I am a stubborn kind of guy and have always felt that when we say we are doing the ride, we are doing the ride. If I had to walk the bike across the finish line in Madison, I would. So I told Sara that our bike was going to complete the ride even if she could not be on it. I packed up my stuff and got on our tandem alone and headed toward the storm. Sara would catch the bus to Madison and be waiting there for me. The weather was the worst I have ever ridden thru. Heavy rain, and heavy wind and lightning all around for some time. It motivated me to ride faster and I managed to get it done. Sara was their along with Jake near the finish line waiting for me. She got on near the end and we finished the ride together as it should be.

     The ride is getting harder each year and one day Sara will probably not be able to ride with me anymore, but we will work hard to not let that happen for as long as we can. You need to see her on her new trike! This bike gives her great stability and takes most all of the anxiety of riding along with traffic away, especially when her balance issues and fatigue creep up. And best of all, she looks great on it!

     In my quest to minimize the steps Sara needs to take each day, I bought her an Ipad for Christmas. Her computer is in her office in our basement and this meant many stairs each day. Now she can get e-mails and surf the web from anywhere in the house easy and efficiently. This saves her over 10,000 stairs each year minimum. These are the things we think about each and every day.

     My goal for 2011 is for us to be nicer to each other. This disease makes Sara so frustrated and this can lead to her becoming very short with me about most everything. I hate it when we argue with each other just because she is pissed about not being able to do some simple task because of her MS. She wants to lash out in protest of this damn disease, and I am the target. I guess that is what being a husband of someone who has MS is all about.

     I can't write this without mentioning Sara's sister Rosie and her niece Samantha. Both have been volunteers at Madison in the past and this year they volunteered their time to help with riders needs in Whitewater. They finally got to experience our Saturday nights program which we have talked about for years. It is overwhelming sometimes to see 1600+ riders in one tent all for the same thing. We are forever in your debt for the support you give to Sara.

     I will close with my gratitude for another year together. We are healthy in other respects and feel our lives are full. We will take each day as it comes and make the most of them. Hope you can too.

Mike