This is a story about a superhero dad with Multiple Sclerosis and his journey down a path of disability toward acceptance of a new normal.
Who is Mike O’Grady?
What is Multiple Sclerosis?
Mike O’Grady Career & New Normal
My name is Steve, I have been a Physical Therapist for over 20 years and have had the pleasure of treating and befriending Mike over the past 4 years. Throughout my career, I have treated countless orthopedic and neurologically-involved patients, with Mike unfortunately fitting into both categories. Few have presented as more of a challenge than Mike has, from the years of beating himself up orthopedically with sports, to now courageously fighting this potentially devastating disease. My practice has a strong reputation for getting quick, lasting results for our patients. We help people get better. MS is different. The variability from patient to patient can be drastic. Our goals have to be different. Success is not assured.
I’ve had quite the variety of patients come through my clinic (as has anyone who works in health care). Complainers, whiners, tough guys, slackers, overachievers. Then there is Mike. If ANYONE who comes to me for treatment deserves to complain, bitch, moan, whine, or blow up, it is Mike O’Grady. But he never does. Maybe he should, but he doesn’t. He fights. He pushes. He perseveres. He fights. He hurts. He tries. He continues to fight. If there was one patient over the past decade I wish I could “fix,” it would be Mike. But he and I both know we can’t. This disease doesn’t plat fair. Be we’ll sure as hell try. He’s not willing to give up and neither am I. Some days, by the time he leaves the clinic, I’m not sure if I did more harm than good. But he comes back, he still walks in and is willing to do what I ask.
This disease is rough – physically, mentally, emotionally. There are conditions I treat (total knee replacement, lumbar fusions, shoulder rotator cuff repairs) that are also quite miserable initially. But typically, they progress quickly and often completely. Then there are diseases (MS, Rhematoid, countless cancers) where there is no promise of recovery. Do we give up? Many do, but not all. I know Mike will not. Why? A. He’s too strong and determined. B. I won’t let him. I am proud to know Mike, to treat him and consider him a friend. I look forward to reading this book and to continue on this journey with him, wherever it may take us.
Michael has been a patient at our MS center since 2012. Like many patients, he was not diagnosed with MS during his first visit. He had to leave our office without a definite answer. Looking back, it was then that I caught a glimpse of who Mike really is. He quickly understood that having MS is rarely text book and many times there will be more questions than answers. Despite the uncertainties that MS brings, he has never given up. He perseveres thru the pain, fatigue, and struggles. I’ve seen him upbeat and I’ve seen him down, yet always hopeful. I’ve seen his drive to overcome obstacles and also realize that he needs to adapt to what he cannot change. I know he has written this book to let others with MS know that they are not alone in their struggles and to provide inspiration that they too, have what it takes to overcome.
Yaritza Rosario, APN, MSCN
Rutgers – RWJ Center for Multiple Sclerosis
New Brunswick, NJ
I’ve been a Wellness Coach and Trainer at our local YMCA for a little over five years. With approximately 4,500 active members, I have had a chance to see a variety of people of all ages with many issues concerning health and wellness. I remember many years ago, first meeting Mike, aka “Big Mike “, as he would come in on a regular basis. He always exercised really hard doing strength and cardio training. As time went on, I did notice that Mike seemed to be struggling with his regular routine. As I got to know Mike better, he shared with me his struggle with his MS diagnosis. Five years has past, yet Mike still comes in sometimes with a cane and walking with a little limp. Nevertheless, Mike always greets you with a nice “Hello” and still pushes through the same routine with unbelievable courage and determination. Mike is an Inspiration to all.
Wellness Coach YMCA
Dad with MS is a wonderful read. Inspiring, smart, and filled with great strategies for someone who has MS or knows someone with this disease. Buy it and learn.
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