about the author:
Ricky Tsang was a pillar in our Duchenne community for years. From his website DearRicky.com to his Facebook group We Are Dystrophin, to his first book, Ridiculous: The Mindful Nonsense of Ricky’s Brain, Ricky’s priority was helping and advocating for our community – well, that and romancing women.
Shortly before passing in 2016, Ricky shared the manuscript of his second book with me. It was never published, but now we would like to share it with our Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy community.
The Moment of Truth
“Inspirational: My Big Mechanical Derriere”
—Chapter 2, Part 3—
As the symptoms became evident, I was taken to the family physician, who was also one of my Mom’s cousins. Dr. Wu suspected something was wrong and referred me to the hospital for sick children in Toronto.
It was a quiet, rainy day when I left school for the muscle biopsy. I saw Mrs. Hendren, who taught us how to make stone soup, sitting in her rocking chair. I asked what she was knitting, which turned out to be the scarf for the teddy that she bought for me. I had many stuffed animals, even a puppet squirrel that I loved, but never a bear so of course I named him Rocky Rambo.
Before leaving the building, there was a book fair being set up in the gymnasium. I had first dibs with permission from the school and got myself a few coloring books, mainly Dino Riders. I remember a mother with her little girl who got really upset because they couldn’t purchase anything. She was extremely angry with us.
I guess it could have possibly been a bit of racism since there were some prejudices toward the Chinese back then, particularly in supermarkets. It’s funny, how during the potluck, Mom’s fried chicken strips disappeared in a blink of an eye, while no one dared to touch one East Indian woman’s food. Now, everyone wants exotic green rice…
There were gray curtains, bright lights, and a giant window looking out to the evening darkness after they took a chunk of delicious meat out of my puny left arm. I stayed for a week and had many stress tests to determine my condition. It was then that I was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy.
In addition to the fact that we recently immigrated to Canada, the disheartening news came as a shock to my parents. I knew in my heart that something was going on, but only cared about the ice cream they promised while leaving the hospital. I had a tickle from getting the stitches taken out by Dr. Wu and was gifted a syringe that had the needle broken off.
I never concerned myself with technicalities throughout my childhood because DMD meant nothing to me. It was simply a challenge that I had to overcome. All I wanted was to continue being a kid. I wasn’t letting anything get in the way, even if I had to give everything to win the fight.
Perhaps I was a bit naive, but the will I had to fight was the determination sustaining my every hope, to get better. I had to keep going no matter what – because it was all that I knew as a seven-year-old boy.