GRAPPLING with a physically crippling disease, Brian Warren’s body shut down until he was paralysed with no voice.
But with his mind remaining untouched, he was left trapped in his own body.
That is how Cohl Warren-Howles described the effect of Motor Neurone Disease on her father, who was diagnosed in March and died just nine months later.
Having witnessed the 72-year-old’s suffering first-hand, the Stratford resident was determined to become a voice for him.
So she began writing and after stopping and starting on several occasions, has finally completed her first book – The Silent Scream: Living with the Beast.
The dramatised true story – told through her father’s eyes – recounts the savage journey of her family as they battle to fight a disease that seems determined to rip the former physical chemist’s dignity away.
But despite the emotional heartache she encountered while writing, Cohl insists the book was very much a labour of love.
She said: “I remember standing at the church reading my father’s eulogy and thinking it was something I had to do.
“In terms of diagnosis, Motor Neurone Disease is a process of elimination and doctors tend to discount things.
“When we found out, there was a terror, a blackness and it was horrible knowing we were completely powerless to help.
“But strangely, the majority of the grieving actually went on while he was still alive and when he died it was more of a relief as he was finally able to be released from this internal ‘cage’.
“My father was a colourful encyclopedia of a man who was very active and to see the fear and pain as he fought to come to terms with his reality was particularly difficult for us.”
And this rapid decline in her father’s health following on from his diagnosis was something, which Cohl was particularly keen to highlight in her book.
She added: “I deliberately divided the book into nine chapters with each one representing a month of his life to show people just how quickly Motor Neurone Disease can take hold.
“I wanted to make people aware of this nightmare disease and describe how it changes not only their lives but the lives of those around them – hopefully raising awareness to bring about a cure at the same time.
“Although is can completely devastate families and it was quite challenging to write, it has made me more aware of the need to not take life for granted now and I hope others will understand that too.”
The Silent Scream: Living with the Beast is available on Amazon.
Brian Warren, a physical chemist, died from Motor Neurone Disease. (s)