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We sat up all night waiting for the labor to start, my wife wasn't even close to being fully dilated and was in a lot of pain. The nurses were being instructed by the doctor to keep giving her morphine until she was more dilated and they could start an epidural. Well not long after her last dose of Morphine all of a sudden she was fully dilated, and it was go time, no time for an epidural so she had to tough if out. The next half hour or so was the scariest time of my life. When my son came into this world, it was not the sound of a first breath, or crying we heard, it was the sound of panic, the sound of fear.. "He's not breathing" I remember hearing, even though I was standing right there staring at him. Doctors were everywhere, in my own panic I decided to walk away and find my dad, thinking he would make everything better. I couldn't find him anywhere in the room and when I peaked my head out into the hall, I saw him kneeling down along the wall, saying out loud "Take me god, and leave him, take me". That was some hard shit to hear at the moment. I helped my dad get up and right when we walked back into the room, I heard the beautiful yet somewhat haunting sounds of my son crying.. Nine minutes had passed without him breathing. Nine minutes that almost felt like nine seconds. But he was alive and breathing, and that's all that mattered.
Now, still to this day what I heard my dad saying out in that hallway still echoes in my head almost daily. Was there something or someone higher up working some magic, or was it coincidence that my son came to life right after that. Well, three weeks later my father passed away. So I'll let you make your own opinion on that.
The months following my fathers death were the most stressful and turbulent times I've ever lived through. I started having these weird floating white spots in my right eye and was feeling really fatigued everyday. I had no clue my whole life was about to be spun out of control again.
My wife talked me into going to see someone about the floating spots in my eye and so I did. I went to see a local ophthalmologist where I get my contacts from. I knew her pretty well so she was able to get me in right away. After looking at my eyes through the microscope thing, she sat back in her chair and looked at me with a hint of fear in her eyes and told me she saw a large growth in the back of my right eye, and that it could possibly be a tumor. Great, here we go I thought, I'm gonna be joining my pops here real soon. That was very scary to hear but she assured me everything was going to be ok. I was happy to hear she knew a Neuro-Opthalmologist she could call and get me in to be seen right away. The next three months I was in a twisted limbo, doctor visits after doctor visits, tests after tests, a spinal tap even, I felt like a fucking guinea pig. After having an MRI done, the next visit the Neurologist dropped the hammer, "You have M.S." he told me. I have what..? I was thinking he meant Muscular Dystrophy, I thought I was about to be a Jerry's kid and I totally freaked out. The doc calmed me down and told me all about MS, he showed me the results from the MRI and the lesions, which are scars from the MS eating away at the nerves, that were scattered all over my brain. The largest one being at the very bottom of my brain stem. He told me very convincingly that this one was gonna cause me the most problems. It was the the nerve interstate he said. Every signal from your brain goes through this one spot.
The next week I was put on a 5 day treatment of High-dose IV corticosteroids to treat the Optic Neuritis in my right eye, which cleared it up really well. The spots I was seeing were almost gone, but not for long, 3 short months after that, the spots were back, and back on the steroids I went. I was also having really bad cramps and muscle spasms in my legs. If felt like it was hitting me all at once. Here I am, two years into a marriage, a newborn baby and a incurable disease. To make things even worse, I couldn't do any of the physical work I had been doing at my job anymore, I couldn't drive a forklift, use any of the cranes or lift anything heavy. Luckily my boss was really helpful through all this, he created a desk job for me, where I would work on inventory and also help create a wiki training page on the company's Intranet. At first I didn't care to much for this, because I was so used to doing physical work, I didn't want to be seen and a "desk" person. But over time I got used to it and did a really good job at it. After a few months of this, is when the beginning of the end happened. I came to work not feeling good at all, I was very dizzy and weak feeling. My first thought was that I was getting the flu or something. Well, it got worse through the morning and I had to leave. I went home and laid down for a while and could feel all these symptoms getting worse. I was so dizzy I could barely even lay still on the bed, so I decided to get up and get my wife. When I sat up in bed and tried to take my first step, I realized something bad was going on, I couldn't feel my legs. As I took my first step, I fell face first to the floor, smashing my head on the huge safe in our room. The next thing I remember is there were paramedics everywhere and I was laying on a board. I looked over toward the bedroom door and saw my 3 year old daughter crying saying "is daddy gonna die". Whoa, that's hard to even think back on, let alone go through. I got wheeled out to an awaiting ambulance, neighbors and people were standing around everywhere, what a shitty feeling to have this going on, but I was helpless, I just shut my eyes and went for the ride. Now let me tell you, if you've never been in the back of an ambulance, screaming down the road with sirens blaring, it's not the most comforting situation to be in. I even thought for a brief moment that I was really dying, like I was a shooting victim or something, and the thought that everyone on the road had to get out of the way for 'Me' so 'I' could get to the hospital, Ugh, I hated that feeling so much.
Three days in the hospital, suddenly I was the person people had to take care of, where I had previously been used to being the one taking care of people. I needed help going to the bathroom, taking a shower, sitting up in bed. Helpless, what a shitty feeling. I even got in trouble on the last day there for getting up on my own to go take a shit. I made it, but it wasn't long before the nurse was knocking on the door right as I was trying to wipe my ass telling me I can't be getting up by myself. At that very moment I lost it, I shouted to her "I'm fucking fine, I'm a big boy, I don't need anymore help god dammit". Then I just burst into tears, at that very moment I realized, I do need help, and I will probably always need help. I am not the man I used to be anymore. That was a very very hard thing to accept.
The last day in the hospital my Neurologist came to talk to me, he came in with a stack of papers and talked to me about SSDI. He told me he feels it wasn't a good idea I work anymore, and suggested, or rather told me, to sign the SSDI papers and he would sign off on them. Just as I was coning to terms with the situation I was in, now I had to deal with the fact that I wouldn't be working anymore. After a lot of thinking and a talk with my wife and my boss, who both agreed with the doctors, I signed the paperwork. From that point on, my life was going to be completely different.
I tried to think positively about it, like how I would have so much more time with my kids, and wife. But deep down I wanted to be working, I wanted to be doing something, I have worked since I was 15 years old and here I was now 28, being told you can't work anymore. Jeezus, I wanted out of this bad. So bad that I picked back up on my alcohol use, I drank heavily, almost everyday, it was the only thing that took my mind off of what was wrong with me. At the time it worked, but now when I look back on it, it was the stupidest thing I could do. My wife was already having a hard time dealing with my situation, and here I am now making it even worse by being a dickhead drunk, a poor me drunk. I can drink because I have a incurable disease I would tell her. At times it wouldn't be odd to find me downstairs at 4am playing on the PS3, with a bunch of empty beer cans sitting on the table. It was like I quit caring, I was almost giving up, letting the MS win. I wasn't there for my kids, I wasn't there for my wife. I was being selfish. It was all about me, the total opposite of who I really was deep down. Not this ego flashing drunk depressed person I was portraying. I'm pretty sure I missed out on the first 3 years of my sons life, even though I was physically there, I was never mentally there. I look at pictures from birthdays and Christmas time, and you could see in my eyes I was a totally different person, my physical body was there but my mind was off somewhere completely different. That is some heavy shit to look back on.
Over the next few years, my actions didn't help our marriage at all, I could tell she was being more distant, she would stay at work later than usual. We would fight almost daily. I was losing total control of probably the most important person in my life. Then I got the anonymous Facebook message. It was short and sweet and right to the point. "Your wife is cheating on you with so and so, (I'm not gonna put his name out there) Boom...that hit me like a train, I had some suspicion, but I wasn't truly sure, and when I saw that message it was almost like time stood still. My ears were ringing, my chest was getting tight and I thought I was dreaming.
I spent the next few days talking back and forth with this anonymous person trying to figure out if she was credible, she was, she told me she was really good friends with this guy, and he was telling her everything. She knew things about my family that were never put out there on Facebook, or told to anyone. I asked her why she was telling me, and her response was just, "It's the right thing to do"
So I started drinking, heavily, and when my wife came home from work I approached her on it. She denied it all and freaked out on me, but after a few minutes I think she could feel she was being pushed into a corner and she told me she loved the dude. That was it, it was all I needed to hear, the next day I went and filed for divorce.
Which brings me to where I am today, a singe father of two wonderful kids, who have helped me open my eyes to life and everything beautiful about it. I have quit drinking, well, I still have a few beers but I haven't been drunk in years. I'm taking care of myself better than I ever have before, and I am happier than I ever have been in my entire life. I now hold no remorse or animosity towards my ex, because I was able to recognize that it wasn't just her, and that I played a big part in our separation. And most importantly, without her I would not have the two loves of my life. My kids.
MS is still an everyday battle for me, but I have a way more positive outlook on it. The saying "I have MS, MS does not have me" fits so perfectly. It used to be the other way around, but I grabbed that bitch by the throat and said Nope, I run this, you will not control my life anymore. And that has been my motto ever since. Life is what you make it, so make it count.! Your past is exactly that, the Past.! let it go, it is not what defines you, it should be what guides you. And that is exactly what it did, it guided me, right here to this happy, positive place I am at in my life.
And one last thing, my friend Adam Holcroft is doing a 90km bike ride to raise funds and awareness for MS. It's called the MS Gong Ride in Australia. Please help him out here.. Adam's MS Gong Ride Thank you!
(c) 2014 Danny Pinn