Friday, April 08, 2016
I had such a sad but inspiring chat with a work colleague yesterday. He's a smart, kind, good man who I've been working with on a project, on and off, for a few years. He confided in me that he'd been diagnosed several years ago with a slowly degenerative brain condition. There's no cure and no treatment. I was so moved I gave him a hug.
Because there's no treatment, and early diagnosis is challenging - my colleague is a rare exception - my friend is participating in a pre-clinical trial. It's not a clinical trial yet because there aren't any new potential drugs to test. But every few months he goes in for a brain MRI and to answer a series of questions, to give the researchers data to monitor the progression of his disease. I told him it was a great thing he was doing - with understanding comes the hope of an eventual treatment.
And my colleague told me that this diagnosis has inspired him to make the most of the good health he has left. He is traveling a bit more with his wife, visiting his kids and grands a little more often. He's trying to reduce stress at work, although to little avail.
So I have spent some of the evening trying to imagine how I would live my life if I knew I had a condition which could eventually degenerate into debilitating dementia or stroke. I am so very lucky to be in good health now, or at least to have the potential of good health, if I can stick to plan! My colleague is doing all he can to make the best of what he has; why is it so hard for me to do the same? Yes, time to buckle down, show some spine, and stick to doing the healthy things.