Episode aired: 09/20/2011
In this episode “Run For Your Life”, Laura is having doubts about dealing with Multiple Sclerosis (MS),an autoimmune disease that affects the brain and spinal cord (central nervous system), in which she was diagnosed 6 years ago. She is so afraid of the possibilities of not being able to care for her family. She is afraid of the possibilities of her family having to take care of her. She doesn’t want to be a burden on her family and at one point she even asked Todd around her diagnosis to divorce her so she wouldn’t be a burden but he refused.
Tom is concerned about how hard she is working because he knows stress, exhaustion, etc. could make the MS worse. He is saddened that this is something that he cannot fix for his wife. He feels like he is less than a provider because he is currently unable to bring in enough income to carry the entire household so that she can work fewer hours. Losing the ability to help his wife prolong her life hurts him more than anything.
She is working two jobs and it has become very stressful for Laura, especially when she has to work nights. She is in great hopes that it will be temporary, but she knows there is no choice but to do it now because of the family’s financial state.
Tom is on a journey to create new ways to find new business so that he can generate revenue, so he takes a trip to see Dean who is a successful financial adviser. He is very reluctant to do Public Presentations which is Dean’s suggestion. When he realizes one of the seminars will include 30-50 realtors, he re-evaluated, because he knows this is an opportunity to generate new business. The presentation would consist of telling these realtors in two minutes, what he does, how he does it and why they should do business with him. In order to join this network he would have to pay $400 which is definitely steep considering his family’s financial state. Ultimately this could create branding opportunities and new business, but he is reluctant because he has spent over $2000.00, before being marketed in a magazine and he feels that it wasn’t worth the investment.
Danielle is fed up with Whitney’s non-cleanliness in her room and starts to find ways to get Whitney to start picking up after herself. She discussed her concerns with Whitney, but big sis is really not interested in Danielle’s opinion on what she does in their room.
Laura’s boss Author gave Laura the number to a woman named Michelle who is also battling MS. Michelle is in town for a “Walk MS” Event sponsored by The National MS Society. Her boss has been fundraising for MS for 9 years and he encourages her to call Michelle and try to become more involved in the cure for MS. She is hesitant because she keeps having MS a secret, unable to deal with the disease because she had not fully accepted that she has the disease. Todd encourages her to call and take a step in not carrying the burden by herself. She calls Michelle and to her surprise Michelle makes arrangements to meet with Laura immediately.
Laura’s favorite pastime is running, because she feels that it clears her mind. Bailey and Laura takes a run together and Bailey talks to her mom about calling Michelle. In commentary Bailey tells of when she first found out her mother had MS, it was the saddest day of her life. Bailey is trying to help her mom to think more positively but the flip side is that Bailey doesn’t even want to think of her mom never walking again or not having her mother with her anymore, because it would devastate her.
After turning down Danielle’s request to move into their room, Bailey and Heather convince Danielle to hide Whitney’s makeup as a tactic to get Whitney to clean her room. Danielle takes the makeup which sets Whitney off. Laura then makes suggestions of getting organization into their rooms and the girls ultimately worked together on bringing order back to their room.
Laura goes to meet Michelle and is happy that Michelle is not in a wheelchair and is young and vibrant. She said it was nice to see someone who looks healthy that is dealing with the same disease as her. Michelle relates to all of the feelings that Laura is face with. They discuss their symptoms and realize they have a lot of the same issues. Michelle invites Laura to join her with the “Walk MS” Event in Tucson. Laura is not really receptive to the idea. She doesn’t want to discuss it with her family because she wants to protect them and because of the heartache of her divorce from her first husband, she doesn’t want to rattle her family again. Michelle just lets her know that discussing it with her family will help her to deal with the disease in a more productive way.
The kids have a roundtable to discuss how MS is affecting their mom and they make a pact to do what they can to make it easier for their mom. Bailey is trying to come to terms that this could definitely be a life changing disease. they all agree that if they open up to their mom it would help their mom to actively deal with the MS.
Tom pays the money and does the seminar and to his surprise he was able to do a lot of networking, creating new relationships with realtors. On the other end Laura went back and forth about going to the “Walk MS” Event in Tucson with Michelle. She finally decides that she would call Michelle and cancel, but Michelle shows up to the house earlier than expected. With the encouragement of her husband and children, she finally packs up and goes with Michelle for the Walk. She and the family are sad that they cannot go and support her because of the financial aspect of it.
During the walk Laura’s heart is filled with Joy to be around people who are dealing with this disease head on. It was beautiful to see Laura instantly connect to the MS patients in wheelchairs or walking but the commonality was they were all walking for the same cause and supporting one another as one. Reality hit when Laura put the blue, “Walk MS” shirt on. However, Laura did not walk, she ran and was proud to do so as the participators cheered her on. The most outstanding moment was when she approached the finish line, to her surprise, her family surprised her, by being at the finish line holding signs of support for their mom. They just all decided to wing-it and piled in the van to go and support Laura.
In Laura’s words she used to run away from MS, now she is running for MS. In the end, Laura has accepted that she has MS however she is not going to lay down and let it take over her life!
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