What is Muscular Dystrophy and how it affected my life.
What is muscular dystrophy? Well, Muscular dystrophy is a group of genetic diseases that cause progressive weakness and loss of muscle mass. There are 30 different types of muscular dystrophy, each one different from the next. It causes the affected person to slowly become weaker, to the point where they are unable to walk or do anything for themselves.
How has it affected my life?
Throughout my schooling career, my father was generally a fit and energetic man, constantly on the go. He owned his own business and looked after my mother, my sister and I to the best of his ability. After leaving his managerial job of a big nationwide business to begin his own venture and things took off for him. He was constantly busy, eventually so busy he needed to hire 3 extra people to keep the business going smoothly. Things were good.
Then one day, everything changed.
My father had noticed some loss in muscle mass to which he attributed to a change in diet and a slightly more sedentary life. He thought things were fine. Until he started falling. There were times where he would trip over the smallest rise in the road. He would trip over his own feet. He battled to lift himself from a chair. Things changed.
He went to the doctor, came home and told us what was wrong. What is muscular dystrophy, I kept asking myself. Why him? Why us? What did we do wrong?
Over the next few years, I went with him to numerous trainers and physio therapists. Nothing seemed to help. The physio seemed to slow down the process a little bit. But there was no cure. We knew this. He knew this. Eventually he gave up on the training. Watching my father change from being a fit and active man to being constricted to a wheel chair was challenging.
The change in both of us.
I am not going to lie to you, my father changed. He became withdrawn, hated asking people to help him. He tried to do things himself, right up until the day he knew he couldn’t. Although he would never admit it, he went through a depression. He wouldn’t accept what was happening to him. He refused to go out, didn’t want to be a bother. Eventually on the 24th of May 2014 my father passed away. It broke me. A man who was my hero. A strong and loving man, taken away by a terrible disease. I went into a depression, ballooning up from 84kg to 101kg within a few weeks. I became lazy, I didn’t enjoy doing any sports.
The change in me
Then something happened. I had a dream one night where my father was there. He looked at me with a disappointed look on his face. He said “you have the muscle to be fit and strong. Don’t give up.”
I decided the next day to join a gym. I started playing field hockey again and started to enjoy getting fitter and fitter as the weeks went on.
Where am I now?
3 years later, I am still going to the gym. Going 4 – 6 times a week depending on my schedule and am the happiest I have ever been. I have a loving wife, who supports me through everything, still playing field hockey and have packed on some good muscle. I might not be where I want to be, but I am slowly getting there.
So, what is muscular dystrophy to me? Well it is a disease that weakens muscles of those who have it. But, it is a disease who strengthened me. It made me believe in myself, it made me want to become a better person. My wife tells me that my father would be proud of the man I have become. I believe that more and more each day. While I am sitting in the gym I feel at peace with myself. I sense him watching over me with an undeniable pride.
How to get fit – What is Muscular Dystrophy