Do you have that one song that comes on the radio and you can’t leave the car, no matter what? Even if it means you are late to your desk at work? I heard that song today.
For me, that song is It’s A Great Day to Be Alive by Travis Tritt.
My mother suffered and died from Huntington’s Disease, which for years was known as Huntington’s Chorea. It results in the death of brain cells. This causes lack of coordination and a jerky, unsteady gait that interferes with walking. Onset of noticeable symptoms generally begin around 40 years of age. Physical abilities worsen and as brain cells continue to die, the person loses the ability to talk. Mental abilities decline into dementia. The affected person eventually becomes completely incapacitated, requiring full time care. (Here is a link about what I did the day my mother died. What I Chose to Do the Day My Mother Died).
The disease is genetic and passed on to offspring by a dominant gene. If one parent has it, each offspring has a 50% chance of also developing the disease. Believe me, the family of the affected person suffers greatly whether they also have the disease or not.
In the late 1990’s, when I was in my mid-30’s, I got tested for the disease. I had recently divorced and knew that I wanted to adopt more dogs. This was in my pre-Dog Rescue days. I wanted to know that I would continue to be able to care for any dogs that I adopted. And so, I underwent genetic testing to see if I had the disease.
I did not! Upon receiving my negative diagnosis and leaving the medical facility, we were driving down the road and I heard the song. It’s A Great Day to Be Alive! And it was.
Ever since, when I hear that song, I am taken back to the joy of that moment. Reminiscing the moment has always made me feel like the Phoenix rising out of the ashes.
I am free.