Thursday, May 31, 2012

Review: Lorenzo's Oil

I just watched Lorenzo's Oil on Netflix. If you haven't seen it, you definitely should! The film is the true story of a family whose son gets ALD, a rare, devastating disease that affects young boys, progressively destructive in every possible way and leading to death. The parents refuse to accept the directions of the medical community (basically that nothing can be done) and insist on learning everything possible about the disease themselves until they ultimately discover and invent a treatment that has been miraculous for many sufferers of the disease.


Reasons MS-ers Should Watch Lorenzo's Oil:

1. It's really good. Fabulous acting. Nick Nolte and Susan Sarandon are great. One scene in particular where Nolte's character sobs in utter anguish and despair in a stairwell is heart-wrenchingly powerful. 

2. ALD destroys Myelin, so this story is of interest to all of us with demyelinating diseases.

3. After discovering/developing/inventing the treatment, the next goal for the family was to find a way to reverse myelin damage, a goal that should be of MAJOR interest to all of us with such damage. The Myelin Project funds significant research in this area, so if you're looking for an organization to support, this would be a good one! The dream of repairing the damage that has been done is a huge one for me, as the chronic pain I live with would not at all be missed and there are so many people out there with disabilities far beyond mine that I so wish could be reversed.

4. The film contains some HUGE lessons on being an empowered patient (and/or empowered parent, caregiver, friend, etc.) on how to respond to illness, how to interact with your disease community, and how to interact with the medical/scientific community. The part of me who as a junior-high through high school age kid that was planning to be a doctor and who loves and is good at science is somewhat inspired to dive into research and find my own cure. (But then the part of me that is always fatigued and that likes the stuff I spend my time on now says, how exactly do you plan to fit the years of studying and intense thought into your life? And then we argue until we forget what we were arguing about.)

So watch this film, check out The Myelin Project and support them if you can, and be an empowered patient!

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