With all the kerfuffle over Ann Romney and "Momgate", we forgot an important detail about Ann: She has multiple sclerosis. From what we've seen of her so far, it seems like she's got the upper hand on this cruel, debilitating disease. But she has good days and bad days.
The day before Super Tuesday was not so good.
"There have been some days, like the day before Super Tuesday, I was quite fatigued and I knew I couldn't quit. I didn't tell anybody I was tired." She explained in an interview with Entertainment Tonight how MS affects her time on the trail and how she recently suffered a health "scare." These are pretty brave words for a woman who was once confined to a wheelchair.
By health scare, Ann means she has trouble organizing her thoughts and speaking. "What happens with me is that I start to almost lose my words. I almost can't think. I can't get my words out. I start to stumble a little bit and so those things were happening and I thought, 'Uh oh, big trouble.'" That just sounds terrifying! Ann was diagnosed with MS back in 1998, but after all these years, these episodes are still scary.
My husband's sister, also named Ann, died from MS last summer. When I first met her she was sometimes in a wheelchair, still able to talk. The disease affects everyone differently and my sister-in-law's case was especially severe. What I remember most -- aside from the way the disease wasted her physically -- was how frustrated she would feel at not being able to think and speak clearly like she used to.
That's why I'm so amazed at how well Ann is doing, not just with staying healthy but with staying positive. It's hard to keep smiling when you feel tired and disoriented! I can't even keep a smile on my face when I'm hungry.
Anyway, leaving aside my political leanings for a moment, I really do have to give props to Ann for being so tough in dealing with her MS. She's been proactive about getting the exercise and therapy she needs to stay strong. And if she needs a few days off from the campaign trail (which is gruelling for anyone!), I think we can all understand. Mitt is lucky to have that positive energy on his side.
Do you have friends or family members who have MS?
Image via ET online