Passionate about Purple: For Sharon

Flowering Blooms: Madonna Inn

Multiple Sclerosis is a cruel disease.  It can knock you to your knees in the prime of your life, robbing you of energy, activity, appetite and independence.  My younger sister was diagnosed with MS over a decade ago.  She continues to fight it.  She drives herself to the Y each day for a 15 minute swim to reduce the fatigue and the joint stiffness that are a part of her daily life.  She commutes to Palo Alto and puts in an eight-hour day in a contract position at the VA call center.  A college graduate with over 30 years of work experience, she’s struggled to find full-time employment for over three years.  My sister is grateful for the temporary position, hard-won through Project Hired but the benefits are meager.  When you have a chronic illness, doctors visits are more common.  She avoids going if she can.  Her illness is untreatable, progressive and unrelenting.

She caught a cold this week, something that would make most of us cranky. On Monday, she lost her balance and fell.  She drove to work anyway. When she lost her voice, they took her off the phones and gave her a project to do. She made it to Thursday. Late that day, her body said enough: she couldn’t see the computer, so clocked out an hour early and headed home.  Suddenly overcome with dizziness, she wisely pulled off the road.  She called a co-worker who came but said she “couldn’t take her to the hospital!”  Her second call was to her supervisor who told her to call 911.  If she had called me I would have been there, but I didn’t hear from her until after the paramedics admitted her to the ER.  I understand that she wasn’t thinking clearly, but felt so helpless hearing from her after the fact.

The common cold activated the worst of her MS symptoms.  She can’t walk, can barely lift herself from chair to motorized scooter and is too afraid to take a shower.  I drove her to the Y today so she could shower safely in an accessible shower stall.  She was grateful.  I did a little shopping for her, picked up a prescription and did some errands at her home.  I know the little things help but what I really want to do is make it all go away.  I want her to walk again.  I want her to take spin classes, to go shopping and to wear the fun shoes that she loves.  I want her to have days where she doesn’t think about her health every single waking minute.   If it’s not asking too much, I want a cure for MS.

Today’s blog is in honor of my younger sister, and to others fighting this difficult disease.  My hat is off to you. =^..^=


‘Mexican Sage’ salvia leucantha

Blue Bells




MSAA – The Multiple Sclerosis Association of America

Types of MS: My sister has Primary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (no remissions from the onset)

EMSP– The European MS Platform

Wiki List-MS Organizations around the world

11 thoughts on “Passionate about Purple: For Sharon

  1. My hat’s off to your sis too. I hope her cold goes away soon, and she can get back to her routine in the pool. Thanks for the beautiful flowers too!


    • Thank you, Bonnie. Interesting that you know so many with MS. It does have a higher occurrence in the northern climates, so that could be a contributing factor. I hope she is better soon, too.


    • Thank you so much for that. She appreciates the support but we were all raised to be so darn independent that it is hard for her to ask for help. I understand that, I really do. Sometimes we have to learn to let go gracefully. It’s never easy. Thanks for your caring comment.


  2. I read your title, “Passionate About Purple”, and thought, “Oh boy!”. I love purple, too, and especially lately have reveled in the riot of purple sweeping the land as the usually inconspicuous jacaranda have sprung forth, blooming heartily. Of course, the instant I read your opening sentence, I realized it would be a somber post.

    Thank you for sharing the intimacy of your sister’s struggles. What a strong-willed, inspirational person Sharon is. Your description of all that she endures, not just during her current cold and its associated exacerbations, but on a daily basis, made my heart ache for you both, and for all those who suffer the insidious ravages of MS. I understand your frustration during her time of need, and share your dismay at the apathy of others. And I understand her determination to remain independent, and not be cumbersome to others, reluctant to ask for help. I empathize, and because of my kindredness with you, I feel like she’s kind of my sister, too. I love that you dedicated this purple blog to her. It’s absolutely beautiful and touching. I’m glad Sharon was able to go to your garden party, and partake in its glory. I wish her much strength and recovery. And of course, I share your wish for a cure for MS. Thank you, too, for including the MS resource links.


  3. Hi there. Like your sister, I have MS. Fortunately I have a loving and supportive family who are constantly picking up the pieces. I’m blessed enough to be able to work from home as I think the constant fatigue would have me fired before the end of the first week at a “real job!” But I find gardening really helps me, being outside and doing things (not the heavy stuff though) and also we get fresh food that has no sprays or nasties on it. As I’m not completely debilitated, I have nothing but respect for your sister and those like her who just get out there and try to carry on as normal in a world not ideal for us. My prayers go with your sister. May her recovery period be short and her remission period long. God Bless Sarah : o )
    PS: I’d like a cure for MS too!


    • Sarah, thank you so much for writing. I recently read an article talking about gardening and depression, and how beneficial it is to have your hands “in the dirt” so to speak. I’m glad you’ve found that outlet, and as you say, a wonderful place to create healthy, tasty food.

      It’s good to hear that you have the support of your family and the ability to work from home. That’s wonderful.

      Let’s hope for a cure,sooner than later. In the meantime, cheers to you. Alys


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