How Kent survived first year of MND while becoming an even better human being

Photo of author

Kent Lipman, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease on November 25, 2015.
Kent Lipman, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) on November 25, 2015. He is pictured in Ward 4C of Liverpool Hospital with boxing gloves signed by champion Danny Green during a recent visit.

One year ago today, November 25, Kent Lipman was diagnosed with motor neurone disease.

He was also told that around one third of people diagnosed with MND don’t make it past the first year.

“I’m going to beat that milestone,’’ he says during our interview in Ward 4C of Liverpool Hospital, where palliative care is provided to people close to death.

Kent is pretty happy about beating the little milestone, but all he wants to talk about is how wonderful the nurses are in 4C.

“The nurses here have to clean the rooms after someone’s passed away, they’re there for whatever you need done, they do everything for us,’’ he says.

“And they’ve got to go home every night and take it all with them and come back the next day and do it all again.

“I reckon it’s the hardest job in the world and the nurses here in 4C do it brilliantly and deserve recognition,’’  Kent says.

The 47 year old father of triplets, who now needs a motorised scooter to get around, says he is looking forward to leaving 4C and moving into a self contained flat in his brother’s Yerinbool property near the Southern Highlands.

But he looks so healthy I ask him what’s he doing in a palliative ward.

“I’m slowly dying and I meet the palliative care definition,’’ Kent says.

He would be out of hospital now but they have to build a ramp into the granny flat and widen the doors for his scooter to fit through.

And while he’s feeling positive about having his own place he still has to deal with constant reminders that the MND is attacking his body.

“I put my left hand in a pack of chips last night and my hand cramped up and I couldn’t get the chips out,’’ he says.

“It’s almost useless that hand, but my right hand is still pretty good.’’

Motor neurone disease is the name given to a group of diseases in which the nerve cells – neurones – controlling the muscles that enable us to move, speak, breathe and swallow undergo degeneration and die.

One year after his MND diagnosis, Kent Lipman says that looking back to the past 12 months he’s done pretty well.

“When I found out, you sort of like hate the world, then you go through an isolation process where you shut yourself away from everyone, because you know what’s going to happen in the end.

[social_quote duplicate=”no” align=”default”]“And if you’re lucky like me, you come through the other side after a year, so you start going: get your act together, this is life, live, get on with it.[/social_quote]

“You just can’t give up on it.

“I would say to anyone else diagnosed with it, if you feel you hate the world, hate the world, do what you’ve got to do to get over it and get on with it.

“If you don’t get over it you may as well lie in your bed and let it kill you.’’

And there’s one other thing: Kent believes he has become an even better person since the diagnosis.

“Before diagnosis I was an average guy who tried to help out where I could, but life has become so precious all of a sudden and now I want to make other people more happy than they are

“You realise it’s not just about you.’’

He certainly has been doing a lot of that since being admitted to Ward 4C.

“When I came into hospital it was going to be a month, then two and now three, but it doesn’t bother me because I get therapy here myself out of the stories of the other people in here,’’ he explains.

“There’s three families that I have become very close with and they’ve come back and taken me out for a beer to thank me because the last few weeks I was with their relative and made them laugh when they visited and said, it was really good you were here, Kent.

“And that’s what I do – I got very close to my last roommate, Albert, he was here for five weeks and he was supposed to go home on a Monday and he died on the Sunday from heart failure,’’ Kent says.

“I helped that family through – they asked me to stay in the room with Albert for a full day, which I did, and I was here when he passed away.

“And that was one of the hardest things I ever did.

“That took some guts to do what I did that day and I paid for it: the next day I cried so much my eyes were  swollen.

[social_quote duplicate=”no” align=”default”]“I’d like to think I’m generous and funny and I make people laugh, and if I can do that for other people in my journey I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.’’[/social_quote]

♦ If you’d like to know more about MND, visit their website here.

Kent Lipman with his children, Keira, Jordyn, and Brock.
Kent Lipman with his children, Keira, Jordyn, and Brock. This week he was ecstatic after being told his MND was not a hereditary type, “so it’s great that my kids will be OK”.

















Leave a Comment