My younger daughter has MS, which those of you who know me, probably know. She was diagnosed in 2000 and had about 10 years with few symptoms, although we now know a lot was happening to her brain. About 2 years ago she began a rapid decline with many periods where maintaining her normal life needed days of extra support, mostly from Mike and me. We are separated by 3 hours of driving, so it was not so simple as running next door.
Six months ago, Rachel learned about a stem cell transplant that was being done in a few hospitals around the US, as well as in Italy, Germany, Canada, India and Russia. (There could be more countries doing this treatment.) Mike and Rachel's husband, Josh, began an energized research effort to get Rachel into one of the studies in the US, with backup plans overseas.
(There are many places you can learn more about the treatment if you want more details, but I am going to concentrate on the changes in my own life.)
As we planned this as a team, Mike and I offered all that we could to make this happen. With the hope of a complete cure, and the success rate of 80% for stopping the progression of the disease, Mike and I dedicated the time it would take to cover the needs of Rachel's family for the months the treatment and recovery would take.
Josh's family has provided a temporary home to Marin (9) where she can attend school with her cousins and participate in sports and activities. The two youngest children are living in Blue River with us. Noah (6) is attending kindergarten here, and Hannah (3) goes to preschool twice a week.
Mike and I are trading places every couple of weeks, to have one of us in Blue River with the little ones and one of us in Seattle as Rachel's treatment goes forward. Josh goes to work everyday and travels to Seattle on weekends. It takes a lot of people to cover all the bases when Mom is out of commission!