|First Christmas Miracle|
|Written by Nancy Bowman|
|Tuesday, 24 December 2013 00:00|
Tara Fisher says a love of family, strong faith and commitment to searching for the light in dark situations have helped her make it through some difficult times the last few years.
With the holiday season here, Fisher was willing to talk about her family’s struggles and how her dedication to using her experiences to help others has become some of the best therapy available.
A young wife studying to be a veterinary tech, Fisher and husband, Mike, were thinking about starting a family when Tara’s mom, Ann Propst, was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in September 2006.
Always close with her mother, Fisher graduated from vet tech school and then cut back her work hours to devote time to caring for the woman she also considered a very close friend.
Other plans, in addition to starting the family, were put on hold as she helped care for her mother as the ALS progressed from her using a cane, to a walker and wheelchair. She died in September 2008, two years after the diagnosis.
“I took care of her, wouldn’t have it any other way,” Fisher recalled. “She was my everything. We talked multiple times a day (before and during the illness). I have been trying to learn to live without her.”
The entire Propst family was close, Fisher said. Other members are her father, Dave Propst of West Milton and sister, Nicole Douglas, a Tipp City resident, with two young daughters. The family, including Tara’s husband, share a love of drag racing. She and Mike are both drivers and enjoy working on cars together.
Ann Propst had breast cancer before the ALS diagnosis and Dave Propst has overcome prostate cancer.
“I was able to tell my mom everything I ever wanted to tell her. I spent a lot of time with her,” Fisher said. “I try to find those positive things in an awful situation. Even though she is not here, that is what I feel like you have to do because it will just take you down.”
To help others understand ALS and possibly prepare for what lies ahead for those with a recent diagnosis, Fisher volunteers with the ALS Society, helping with its annual fundraising walk.
Following her mother’s death, Fisher embarked on what would become a more than three-year battle to start her family. She was sick a lot and lost count of the number of doctors and specialists she visited before finally working with a Sidney gynecologist to address physical issues interfering with her ability to conceive a child.
Not long after undergoing a five-hour surgery for endometriosis, Fisher learned she was pregnant. The pregnancy was high risk as was the birth of son Camden. He now is 10 months old.
Fisher said after waiting for a child, dealing with her health issues and the stress of her mother’s loss and dad’s illness, she struggled with post-partum depression. She now has turned the experiences of successfully having a child and dealing with the depression into a learning experience, talking with other women with similar concerns.
“I am not taking any credit. I just talk with people to try to help where I can,” she said.
Part of Fisher’s continuing inspiration comes from a note she, her dad and sister found in Mrs. Propst’s belongings.
“I framed it. It says, ‘I will always be with you in your memories. Move forward and live.’ That is my motto that I live by,” Fisher said. “While she’s passed, she still wants me to move forward and live. It was amazingly powerful. It was just amazing when we found it.”
As she’s dealt with the birth of her son and health challenges he has faced, Fisher said she always wishes her mother could be here to help guide her. As the boy has grown, his heath has improved, she said.
“Every child is a miracle. We needed a miracle in our life. We are blessed,” Fisher said. “Even with all we have been through … every day he makes you smile, makes everything worth it.”
As she talks with others about the loss of a loved one, Fisher says people have to learn to live without that person. “I feel like in quiet moments, you can still hear them … it’s not something weird with voices, but they are in your heart,” she said.