|Artist proof attitude is everything
THE MID-COUNTY MEMO
Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis seven years ago, Lacaden (pronounced luh-KAY-den), like most people with MS, struggles with tasks that others find easy to perform.
MS is a devastating disease with no known cause, and there is no cure, only medication to help slow its progression.
I have my good days and my bad days, she calmly admitted.
But because of her stellar attitude towards life, Lacaden has developed into a talented artist.
Her lively and interesting art can be seen at Dixies Golden Girls Gifts in the Menlo Park Plaza at 12427 N.E. Glisan St.
Lacaden is a resident of the Hollywood District of Northeast Portland.
Born in Portland, she grew up near Southeast 117th Avenue and Ankeny Street, graduating from David Douglas High School. Except for a brief time living in Hawaii, shes a born and bred native Oregonian.
For years the insidious disease MS was misdiagnosed.
But the signs were there.
One whole side of my body was lopsided, she explained. And on one side of my face, the muscles werent right, my face limped down, it didnt look right. When I smile, my muscles dont hold it up well.
The 63-year-old Lacaden said that on the left side of her face and on the right side of her body the muscles were weak.
I would drop things, she said, and I fell a lot. The falling was frustrating.
One spill was so severe, surgery was needed to reassemble the bones in a broken ankle. She still has a pin in that ankle.
I went to five different doctors before I was diagnosed, she said. It was a nurse who listened to what I was saying, and then I was given an MRI. The magnetic resonance imaging squashed any question: it was definitely MS.
For MS patients, each new day can bring either the contentment of a seemingly healthy body or the misery of not being fully functional.
I never know (day to day), she said. I can say Im doing this or that, but thats today; I never know what tomorrow will bring.
Some days Im not able to drive, she continued, some days Im in the wheelchair, some days Im fine, some days Im walking with a cane. As the day progresses, I get weaker. My morning time is my best time, if I want to get anything done.
Lacadens attitude is pragmatic, indeed, but its also an attitude of optimism.
You cant pretend its not there, she said. If theres something I need to carry or do, I have to do it in the morning. Ive gotten better because Ive learned not to do those things in the late day or evening, because Id be setting myself up for failure.
Taking a mean spill is not only a blow to self-confidence, it can also mean having to depend on others.
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