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Diane lives with MS

March 26, 2011


Diane has had MS for more than 15 years.  And I complain about a little back pain!  She lives on her own in a suburban neighborhood outside of Chicago convenient to public transportation.   Di gave up driving (due to side effects of MS) her own car, not long after taking auto repair classes.  She was able to change the oil and tune-up her own car!  She often traverses by train to visit her northern IL and WI family, especially when our Dad convalesced in a dementia center in WI.   Now she’s ready to help with any family member in need or just to be Aunt Diane to her nieces and nephews.

Sewing area and studio

Diane recently recounted, “I’ve had MS for roughly 15 years. Nobody can say it’s not a life-changing situation, but I believe the key is to adjust your habits and your thinking to accommodate the “problem”. I’ve gone from organizing triathlons and running races to organizing an office. Then, a few years ago when I found I couldn’t work full-time any more, I found a creative outlet for my limited energies, image editing and art quilting. Life has changed, but life is still good!”

Certainly Di has been busy, but she’s not busy feeling sorry for herself.  She is currently on the board of the Alzheimer’s Art Quilt Initiative (AAQI) (follow the link to her quilt which was auctioned for $190) and she spends between 15-20 hours per week working for AAQI doing mostly website and program content work.  She tries to make one or two 9×12″ quilts for the AAQI each month.

Di has turned her living room into an art studio and invites her friends to come in and create with her every month or so.  She has devoted a great deal of her creative talent in memory of our Dad as exhibited on her website

My work table is where my dining room table used to be. My sewing machine is where my TV used to be. Lucky for me, I also have a den where I moved my TV and sofa and recliner. But I decided that I needed more room to devote to my art since it has become such a large part of my life.

When her father (our Dad who recently passed away) was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, Di began volunteering at a local assisted living center.  She still volunteers one afternoon a week, working activities on their two special care (dementia) floors.  She loves bringing a spot of comfort or joy into the resident’s lives – whether it be a shared laugh, just a hug or a cup of tea and a cookie.

She volunteers her time to her residence association and she is building them a web page.   She belongs to a neighborhood book club – (she just hosted a discussion on Still Alice by Lisa Genova) – she emphasizes is a VERY good book!

“With MS,” Diane says, “my life has certain limitations I didn’t have before I started with the symptoms.  In general, I think I’ve found a comfortable lifestyle – half volunteering and half creating art.  I get tired easier because of the MS and I think slower because of the MS and I certainly don’t rely on speech as much because of the MS – but so far it’s nothing I can’t work around.”

I think family, friends, including members of Team iDentifi echo Diane’s sentiments…

“There are many people with MS who have a lot more limitations than I do, so I count myself among the “lucky” ones.  But I sure wish they’d come up with a cure or even a disease modifying treatment that had more than a 1 in 3 chance of working!  I try, every morning, to be thankful that my legs still work – knowing that one day they might not.

For all those riding the uphill battle against Alzheimer’s.

When I stumble over words or stumble into walls, I know that things could be (and may one day be) much worse.  So I am grateful for folks like the members of Team iDentifi who ride for a cure, and for all those who donate to their efforts, either with their financial or physical support.  I love you all!”  Diane

That’s why we formed Team iDentifi.   That’s why we ride… Well then there is the need to work off an extra 10 lbs we always manage to add during the holiday season!

You can make a difference to someone with MS. —->  Choose your favorite Team iDentifi rider .  Help them pedal for MS.  In no small measure any amount will be greatly appreciated!

Alan Wiessner, Captain

Team iDentifi

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