Ode to Moog
associate sports editor
I guess toughness comes with the job when you are the younger sister of two sports-crazed brothers.
My sister Meghan learned pretty quickly to shake off bumps and bruises growing up, playing sports in the yard with my brother and me. Moog, as my brother and I call her, had probably gone to more soccer games before she turned 1 than most people attend in their lifetime.
Soon she grew older and my brother and I watched her develop into a fine athlete in her own right.
But then last September, she started getting really tired. She would come home from school and field hockey practice completely exhausted and complaining of being cold. At first we thought nothing of it. It was her first year in high school and she probably just wasn't used to the tougher practices. But Moog didn't get better. She was still cold and tired no matter how much rest she got.
So my mother took her to the doctor. The diagnosis wasn't good. My sister had an immune system disease known as lupus. Her body was attacking itself. Unable to distinguish between the threatening particles and her own cells, her immune system was destroying her blood cells and causing her anemia.
The doctors were amazed that she was able to even play field hockey, let alone start and be among the scoring leaders on her team. When field hockey season ended, she exchanged her cleats for a pair of sneakers and became the point guard for her basketball team without missing a beat.
Every day, Moog went to school and practice and then came home and slept for hours. One minute she would be hustling up and down the basketball court, the next she would barely have enough energy to walk to the car without help.
Week after week she went to doctor after doctor and specialist after specialist who all seemed to say different things.
But Moog never complained. She never questioned why the disease chose her. Without a complaint, she took her pills and submitted to numerous tests and blood draws by inept nurses, some who couldn't even find a vein.
I'd like to say she got her toughness from my brother and I, but I know she really got it from my mom. Throughout this whole ordeal, my mom has fought to make sure my sister gets the best treatment possible.
From battling New York traffic to get my sister to specialists in the city to arguing with school administrators who refuse to reschedule tests so my sister can go to the doctor, this disease has been just as tough on my mother as it has been on my sister.
But the light at the end of the tunnel may be in sight. The right mixtures of drugs may have finally been found and the worst could be over.
Some people say professional athletes are tough, but I know they have nothing on my mom or my sister.
All Inside Stories for Monday, January 24, 2000