A good friend of mine had started up a blog. There are billions of blogs out there, where we all talk about our lives to varying degrees of interest. Frankly, a lot of is is about the mundane and a lot of it is about getting things off from one's chest, in an attempt to make our lives seem that it less complicated or maybe alleviate stress. My friend's life is far from mundane and far from easy right now and is going to be getting more difficult as time goes on as he was diagnosed with Motor Neuron Disease at the beginning of this year. He got married a few years ago and he and his wife had their first child last year. And then four months later came the diagnosis. Slap in the face doesn't quite cover that one. But he always had a suspicion that it would appear one day as it claimed his dad in the past and is a genetic disease.
But the thing is, everyone is blown away by the way he is dealing with this progressive and incurable condition. A few weeks back, he held a party to celebrate his birthday. And far from being a dour or morbid affair, it was about as close as we could get to the old days of mayhem in Edinburgh. There was laughter and beer flowed. And that was what counted. He's not the kind of guy to start to feel sorry for himself and would slap someone for doing the same. Just getting on with it and having as much fun as possible with friends and family. I don't want to use the word "brave" as it can sound condescending and it would equally be something he'd slap me for as well.
The word is "Strong". MND takes away your strength and your movement, while thoughts and emotions remain intact. I like to think of that strength partly in the form of a huge middle finger, raised aloft in the face of the disease.
Put it this way, when someone gets cheeky, the response is "Don't make me get out of this chair".
He has started his own blog about his life right now, with his wife contributing, and the least I can do right now is to at least point people in that direction to show some support and maybe educate themselves a little about this incomprehensibly cruel disease. You can find out all about my mate Neil, his wife Louise and their son Oscar (possibly the happiest baby I've ever met) here at The Plattitude.
Neil takes no shit and I hope he continues to do so.