HOPE. This is what we have all felt with the news from the Ionic trial. Living with HD as a family member is always having that black cloud just over the horizon, looming angrily to remind us all that time’s winged chariot is zooming along. But now we have light…not a lot, but it’s there. How good is that?

It reminds me of the famous expedition by Apsley Cherry-Garrard (what lovely name, Cherry to his mates) who was on the Antarctic expedition with Scott at the beginning of the 20th century. Off he went with 3 colleagues in the depths of the Antarctic winter – which means total dark 24/7, plus -50 degrees and a howling wind, to go and find out how the Emperor penguins reproduced. Nobody then knew.

They travelled for several days and then disaster struck. Their tent blew away. The men faced the fact that without it…they were doomed. It was too cold to survive. They couldn’t cook without its shelter or sleep or get out of the devastating wind and cold. They were miles from help and no way of summoning any. When HOPE… they found it snagged on an overhang.

I feel HD is a bit like that journey. Because it’s dark and cold and you know disaster looms. And now we have found the metaphorical tent in front of us. We can travel forward.

Cherry’s team didn’t know if they would get the precious egg. They didn’t know if they would survive to get back to Scott’s hut. But they knew they had a chance.

We all now have that precious chance to conquer this disease with its cruel progression. We can get back to the hut. And so we enjoyed Christmas. We all played games, and drank and ate enough for several expeditions. We went to the alternative Cinderella at the Citizens Theatre and laughed. We walked along the beach and took photos, just discernible in hoods and jackets. The teenage two argued and emptied the dishwasher ( it’s YOUR turn, it’s not, I did it last time…) and the dogs had a go at each other, and 3 of the adults did the Turkey Trot with Euan coming in at a fast time, and we ate Boxing Day Buffet and drank some more.

It was fun. And if January is now a bit dank and dreary and dry…spring is on its way. And at least we are not shuffling round in a circle with an egg on our feet- the fathers that is. Mums are off in the oceans swimming and fishing. When Cherry came back to London he took the hard won egg to the Natural History Museum where he had to wait in the corridor for some time, and was treated with less than courtesy. Poor guy!

We have our egg, and it needs nourished, and money, clever clever people, and HD+ve people who are brave enough to go on the trial. We will get there I am sure of it…and it’s so good to have that hope.


Barbie Short, January 2018