Tuckurimba widow writes book for MND victims and carers
TUCKURIMBA'S Katrina Jeffery has written a book about caring for her husband Chris after his diagnosis and rapid decline due to motor neurone disease (MND).
Mr Jeffery, who ran the New Italy Complex and was an owner of Lismore's Star Court Cafe, was diagnosed with the disease in May 2013 after having trouble swallowing.
He died 11 months later, aged just 54.
Mrs Jeffery, a MND volunteer, wrote the 470-page book titled Overcoming a Loss by 1000 Deaths, in the hope of helping those with the disease and their carers.
Now the 52-year-old has launched a crowdfunding campaign to cover the book's production costs.
The book's title alludes to the gradual loss of Mr Jeffery's motor functions, speech, movement and mental capabilities as the disease took hold.
"We didn't get anywhere near as much time together as we should have," Mrs Jeffery said. "Until the diagnosis, he'd never been sick in his life. He didn't even know his blood group - he'd never needed a test.
"You find yourself saying really weird things like 'If only it was a brain tumour'.
"You'd usually never say that, but really anything is better than motor neurone disease.
"Really, there's nothing you can do, except keep the person comfortable until they die.
"The way I look at it, it was 1000 little deaths until the ultimate loss. You grieved every time he couldn't do something - he'd never do that again."
Despite only meeting Mr Jeffery in 2009, and spending a sizeable portion of their time together caring for him, Mrs Jeffery wouldn't change a thing.
"He had the most horrific disease, but he died at home, with me, peacefully without any fear, without any pain," she said.
"I would do it all again because Chris deserved that."
MND Australia describes MND as a group of diseases with no known cause or cure in which nerve cells - neurones -controlling muscles enabling us to move, speak, breathe and swallow degenerate and die.
In Mr Jeffery's case, his form of MND caused degeneration of the frontotemporal region of the brain, which controls complex thinking and decision making.
About 60 people live with MND in northern New South Wales and, nationally, two people are diagnosed with the disease daily.
Visit the Indiegogo crowdfunding page at http://igg.me/at/Loss1000.