A couple of weeks ago, a neighbor asked me “Who is taking care of you? You are taking care of your whole family.”

Which is only sort of true (we are all taking care of each other, from across the world and here locally). But without hesitation, I answered Diana. She’s my neighbor and makes sure I get to vent almost every single day.

Unfortunately, this hero will not be at the event Sunday. Fortunately, she’s celebrating a long-planned special birthday with friends this weekend!

Another hero has contributed to the silent auction and is another huge source of moral support. Plus, I have all my friends on Sunday night, like Margy, Judy, Peter and the rest of our group who have helped with Lydia and with the event. It’s through Lelah’s Sunday night group that I met Kelly’s Lot. Couldn’t do it without you all–thank you.

That’s one of the problems with this disease. It strikes people in the prime of their lives, and most people have children AND elderly parents they are caring for. Then, if they are trying to hide the disease from their employer and lose their job, they lose very important benefits like disability insurance. In the 2008 financial disaster, Lydia lost her job and her health insurance, which delayed diagnosis, let alone treatment.

My sister’s hospice doctor said very smart people like my sister develop ways to compensate for what they are losing and are able to hide it from their families for a long time. Lydia would say she was stressed at work, but couldn’t say what was causing that stress. Others with the disease have said they have made inexplicable mistakes at work.

If you don’t know what’s wrong, it can be a very lonely place. I’m trying to help others avoid the hell Lydia’s gone through and my family along with her. My family and I are fortunate to have such good friends and neighbors. Thanks, friends!