‘An unfortunate inconvenience’

By Jeff Hansel

Perhaps the essay that researcher Dale Edberg wrote about the future of his life was prophetic.

Top priorities? Further his education, then do multiple-sclerosis research.

He couldn’t have known that he would soon deal with the illness himself, after developing numbness and vision trouble.


"It was two years before I ended up going to the doctor," he said. "I didn’t go to the doctor because I’m a guy and I blamed it on an old Marine Corps injury."

Edberg figures he was affected by MS for a reason — so that he could join a research team at Mayo Clinic that he now hopes will find not just a treatment, but a cure.

"When I was diagnosed, I was devastated," Edberg said. "One of the hardest calls to make was to call my mother to say that I was diagnosed with MS."

It was his mom who suggested he call the Minnesota chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. He took to the organization like a fish to water. Now, he serves on the MS Society’s board and keeps a positive attitude while living with the illness himself and searching for a cure as a scientist.

"I’ve always been really open with my MS," Edberg said.

When he first called an MS Society representative, he asked for information.

"She says, ‘Well, what would you like?,’" Edberg said. "I said everything that you have.

"I stayed home from school for a week and I sat at home and I read about MS," Edberg said. "At the end of it, I told my wife, ‘I’m going to fight this with everything that I’ve got.’ And I did. It’s been a fight, but it’s been well worth it," he said.


When Edberg has a flare-up, his wife Bobbi does a little extra around the house. They try to be open with the kids about new events.

"We just say Daddy doesn’t feel good," Bobbi said.

Flare-ups, common to MS, might be absent for months, then appear suddenly. Edberg will then sleep later in the morning and still drag by the time he gets home.

"Actually, it motivates me," he said. He has learned to be more accepting of other people and the things that might be happening in their lives.

His MS symptoms include problems with "cognition, fatigue. When I do have a flare-up, I drag my legs," Edberg said.

The family’s mantra? Everything happens for a reason.

"The fact that I got diagnosed with MS has changed our lives, but made us much more aware of things," Edberg said. "My wife was with me at the time. I actually turned around and said , ‘Leave me.’ I didn’t know any better — and she stuck with me."

Reporter Jeff Hansel covers health for the Post-Bulletin. Read his blog, Pulse on Health, at

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