“Five more minutes,” she would always say.
Even from the time she was a child, Nicholle enjoyed sleep. She once told me (and her mother corroborated this) that, when she was three and her mother was very pregnant with who would become her little sister, Nicholle’s mother would have to call the neighbor’s kids over to get her up from naptime. Nicholle knew that her pregnant mother was unable to make the climb upstairs to wake her up, and so she slept on.
Five more minutes.
Much of our courtship revolved around running and triathlon. We did, after all, meet on a run around Boerne Lake and got married in the midst of the Las Vegas Half-Marathon. So early mornings were nothing out of the ordinary, be it for track work at UT San Antonio (before they closed off the track to the public—boo!) before work or being up at stupid o’clock in order to be at the transition area of some race or other in order to get prime parking for our bikes and sundry other junk. But, on rest days…
Five more minutes
When Nicholle was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, we immediately made contact with the local chapter of the National MS Society. A good friend I knew from days volunteering with the American Diabetes Association was now the director for the San Antonio edition of Bike MS, formerly known as MS150—the very event that nudged me back into cycling, segueing me into triathlon, and eventually meeting Nicholle—and Cindy got us talking with people here and across the country in order to be proactive and to be as prepared as we could be to meet this head on.
But now, five years later, MS appears to be winning. In the months since the birth of our second child (a girl, Lisbeth*), Nicholle has endured multiple flare-ups, each more aggressive than the one before it. It’s like that episode of Battlestar Galactica, “33,” where the Cylon armada attack the civilian fleet every thirty-three minutes exactly—only MS isn’t nearly as predictable, nor is it as easy to outrun by simply revving up the FTL (faster-than-light) engines. Oftentimes, MS isn’t as merciful, either.
So we find ourselves asking, begging, pleading for a break of some sort from the relentlessness of this demon of a disease. Anything, even just five more minutes to pretend that everything is normal. That a fever or flutter in the seasons won’t spark a relapse, rendering the legs of a woman who ran competitively in high school and college—who ran on her wedding day (in her wedding for that matter), who ran in the Texas Independence Relay, who ran on the day she gave birth to her daughter—limp and unable to respond to her brain’s screaming commands to simply move and carry her across the room. Or even just out of bed.
In our own ways, we’re all masters at procrastination. But, now, in 2016, the time has come to quit hitting “snooze” on the alarm calling for a cure for multiple sclerosis. The people who live with the impacts of MS—both the diagnosed and their friends, families, and loved ones—can no longer wait.
Not even for just five more minutes.
* – Not her real name