We had been married just two years, our oldest son was only six months old and I was just beginning my second year of dental school when my wife, Cindy was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Forty-two years ago when Cindy was diagnosis treatment options were limited and she was told that she would probably live 20 years or less. But being young, that dire prognosis didn't register so we went about living our lives confident in the rich promise of the future. For 42 of the 44 years we have lived our lives together, MS has been a not-so-silent partner in our marriage.
For years I just took care of Cindy because that is just what you do, in many ways I was a victim of MS also. In my mind, I figured her condition would probably get to the point where I wouldn't be able to take care of her, and she'd have to go to a nursing facility. Everything changed, for both of us, one day when she was in the hospital and was desperate to go home. In that moment, I made a commitment to take care of her at home and erased the nursing-home option from my mind. Now, care giving isn't something I "have" to do. It's something I "want" to do; something I have “chosen” to do. I am happy to do it and I feel blessed to be able to do it. I am no longer the victim.
Even though our life is different than the life we envision 45 years ago, it is no less than remarkable. As I share our story and the lessons we have learned along the way, you will be encouraged and inspired as you face your own challenges, confident that your life can be remarkable beyond your own expectations.
As I passed the nurse's station at a local hospital recently, I was surprised at the sight of a bulletin board with numerous graphs. I was a little embarrassed when I made a return trip to check out the graphs until I talked to the nurses and saw how enthusiastic and invested they were. It brought back memories of my own staff. During my 30 years of private dental practice, I managed by the numbers. What I began as a single doctor practice in a basement grew to one of the top 10% grossing private practices nation-wide. Number are the “magic beans” they enable us to see where we are today in comparison to where we were yesterday and the ability to change the future, and that is MAGIC. In my presentation, “It's all in the Numbers, Simple Tools for Big Results.” I will share my first-hand experience of using numbers to create a quality patient centered business with an enthusiastic supportive staff.
Thank you for taking time out of your schedule to come share such a wonderful testimony of you and your wife's life together. It was a story of hope, perseverance and so much love. Thank you, God Bless. L.T.
Thank you and Cindy so much for talking to my group today. Your message, and even more your and Cindy's presence, today was very moving and meaningful. Your points were so clear, and so crucial, that I know they were helpful to us and to the others there today. I'm sure we'll be discussing and sharing them at our next meeting! Thanks again, and I'm so happy and moved that you are sharing your life experience, your insights, and your message of hope (realistic, not “la la”!) with others living with MS. S.R.
“Having been in a caregiving role, Dr. Larsen's presentation brought up many emotions………………I wish I had heard his presentation earlier. Dr. Larsen speaks from the heart; his position that caregiving is a privilege, is an incredibly powerful valuable message to anyone in this position. His comments regarding taking care of yourself (caregiver), are spot on – this is truly so important to the caregivers mental and physical well-being.” G.M.
“Interesting and informative with great visuals, Dr. Brad Larsen's excellent presentation is based on well researched data and first-hand experience. I came away from this presentation equipped with fresh knowledge and a special appreciation of the role and needs of caregivers.” C.K.