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Laurie Trlak

Never Give In

November 29, 2010 at 4:51 PM

I am happy to say that my right hand is back to normal! The effects of the last Botox injection have worn off to the extent that I am able to use my bow-hand again with no sign of tremor and only some residual weakness. At this point I have no plans for further Botox injections. The upside is that I am playing better than ever.

The Handel A Major Sonata is coming along quite well, even the double-stops, which I dreaded if the truth be told. I realize that this is a period of growth which will undoubtedly be followed by a "flat" period where I seem to be just treading water; I think those times come when you are digesting new skills and letting things sink in. Of course I could be wrong, but for now I'm enjoying the progress I'm making.

One of the best parts of making progress is gaining confidence when playing for an audience. Knowing I sound good to others, not just to me, makes performing that much easier, even if I come across a difficult passage or if I make a mistake that half the audience probably won't notice anyway.

Another good thing about making progress is the sense of accomplishment it brings. When you've really learned a new or difficult technique or mastered a tough piece, it brings a sense of being able to do almost anything - at least it does for me. I think that it's one thing that keeps me going in spite of the daily challenges of living with a chronic illness. Knowing that I've had enough control over my body to be able to learn to play reasonably well has kept me from wallowing in self-pity. 

The temptation to give up has been strong at times. Sometimes I have felt as though I was merely spinning my wheels, getting absolutely nowhere, wondering if I lacked ability, or if I was just too old, or if MS had robbed me of the opportunity I had so craved. When the tremor took over in my right hand and made playing impossible I came close to despair, and I thought I had the perfect excuse to give up playing: after all, I hadn't asked to have this awful disease. No harm, no foul; no one could blame me, no one could accuse me of being a quitter.  No one, that is, except me. But I didn't want to quit. I'm just too stubborn, or maybe I just don't know when to quit, but I wasn't ready to pack it in.

Researchers are developing new therapies for MS all the time. Maybe they will find a cure in my lifetime. Regardless, I know that the more I yield to the MonSter, the more it will take from me. I am determined that music is one thing I will not yield willingly.

From Tom Holzman
Posted on November 29, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Laurie - your news is excellent.  You continue to be an inspiration to all of us in your determination to fight your MS and continue to do the activities that bring you so much pleasure.  Keep updating us on your progress.

From Anne-Marie Proulx
Posted on November 30, 2010 at 2:28 AM

You are an example of courage for all!!!


ps: good luck!

From Michelle Ippolito
Posted on December 1, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Thanks, Laurie, for writing so openly about your battles with MS. You really are an inspiration. I read your blog and think "gee, what am I complaining about?"  And this is not limited to violin issues but goes well beyond that. 

From Terez Mertes
Posted on December 2, 2010 at 2:37 PM

What an inspirational post! And so glad to hear your right hand is doing so well.

Brava to/for everything you've accomplished!!!

From Laurie Trlak
Posted on December 3, 2010 at 12:41 PM

To everyone who responded: All your words of encouragement Keep me going too!

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on December 5, 2010 at 7:23 PM

 I want to add my voice to the others of encouragement.  I think of you often and you are an inspiration.  Keep up the good work!

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