Even if you don’t finish strong, having someone to lean on helps

The support team comes through when symptoms point to a difficult year's end

Danita LaShelle Jones avatar

by Danita LaShelle Jones |

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It was over. Sixteen seconds into a semifinal qualifying race at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, Derek Redmond grabbed the back of his leg and hit the ground with a torn hamstring. All hopes for him qualifying disappeared.

Redmond was no stranger to injuries throughout his career. Four years earlier, he’d suffered an injury to his Achilles tendon, and leading up to the summer of 1992, he totaled eight surgeries for his injuries. Yet before the doomed ’92 race, Redmond posted the fastest time in the first round. Although he was starting the semifinal race in the fifth lane, he was predicted to place and move on to the finals.

A medical team attempted to reach him as he writhed on the track, but there was only one thing on Redmond’s mind: finishing the race. Given his excruciating pain, however, the best he could do was hobble toward the finish line.

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Seeing his son struggle to complete the lap, Jim Redmond ran out of the stands, fought through security, and joined his son on the track. Holding him tightly while Derek sobbed in pain, the two made their way around the track and across the finish line.

It was a great lesson in leaning on those who can help you finish the race.

A hitch in her race

By mid-November, I had a sinking feeling that our oldest daughter, whom we lovingly call Ladybug, was having some hereditary angioedema (HAE) trouble and wasn’t going to have a good end to her year.

Because of her increased physical activity, a small growth spurt, and a few other challenges, we’d noticed an increase in her flares. While emergency Berinert infusions and preventive medications did what they were supposed to do, it’s the nature of HAE that sometimes a patient hits bad periods.

Within the past few weeks, we’ve made drives to her specialist, saw her admitted to the hospital twice, and witnessed her having one of the worst bouts of swelling symptoms in years. For the first time in a long while, I feared how we’d finish 2023.

But here’s the part of our inspirational story where, suddenly, people start “coming out of the stands.”

My father picked our other kids up from school and made sure they had dinner. My husband’s boss cleared him to telework from the hospital, and my assistant managed an event in my absence. Meanwhile, Ladybug’s HAE specialist set up a special appointment to see her, and her pediatrician worked closely with us to get her another minor medication she needed. All these people aided us in getting our daughter to the finish line of better health.

Initially, as caregivers of people with a chronic illness, we often think that we are the father in the Redmonds’ scenario. In truth, we are Derek, and the sooner we accept that fact, the easier it will be for people to help us.

Derek limped over the finish line in tears, but finished because he had someone to lean on. Because in the end, it doesn’t matter if you finish first and strong or last and limping; the point is that you keep going until you finish.

Note: Angioedema News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Angioedema News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to angioedema.


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