To be told that you have only eight years left to live would be devastating for anybody.
Well, that was the kind of news that country music star Clay Walker received back in 1996 when he was diagnosed with MS, or Multiple Sclerosis.
Fast forward to today and Clay’s been living relapse-free for 18 years, despite his odds. But, there’s one person that’s been by his side all along helping him through his difficult battle. That person is his wife and caretaker, Jessica Criag-Walker. Jessica’s been a godsend to Clay, because she’s pushed him to continue to live with his disease, as if it was the married couple’s “new normal.”
“She’s been an awesome care partner,” Clay tells Fox News, “without her I don’t know where I’d be.”
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Jessica keeps Clay and their family, including son Elijah and Jessica’s two other kids, William and Mary, on a consistent routine of healthy living, which includes daily exercises, organic meals and the right medicine.
“She’s a great example,” Clay gushed about his bride, “She does 10 minutes of workout everyday right at home. She makes it happen, and then she challenges me and says, ‘Are you going to do your part?’”
When Clay’s out on the road, Jessica depends on her hubby’s band buddies to help her out with keeping up with his health, too.
“I hold [Clay] accountable,” she says, “He laughs that I even reach out to band members on the road and say, ‘Can you please make sure that he’s doing his part?’”
She adds, “Although there are over 90 million [caregivers] nationwide, it can be a lonely position at times. Knowing that you can reach out and create your own support team is really important.”
But, the most important part of the family’s tailored lifestyle is that they stay light-hearted and optimistic. They crack jokes, listen to music and most of all they dance.
“Disease can rob you of your joy inside the home — if the focus is always the disease,” said Clay, “[Jessica] brings a lot of joy to our family, and because we have that foundational structure, we have a lot of fun. It’s not a home of desperation or despair. It’s really a place where we all can grow and feel good.”