August 5, 2009. A date that will stay in my memory forever. Exactly one week after Hal and I celebrated our 30th Wedding Anniversary. The day we found out. Hal has ALS.
ALS. Amyotophic Lateral Sclerosis. Better know in the United States as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Progressive, permanent breakdown of motor neurons – the nerve cells that control muscles – the one that allow you to walk, use your hands and arms, move your head, talk, swallow, and breath -resulting in increasing weakness, paralysis, and eventually death. There is no cure. There is no effective way to slow the progression down. People with ALS refer to themselves as “PALS”. They must learn to accept and deal with continuous, progressive losses. Handling the issues that come up. Enjoying what movement they have because they will lose it. Soon.
And their caregivers (in Hal’s case, that’s me) must learn to grow up. To see life differently. To appreciate every day, every minute they have with their PALS.
Since Hal’s diagnosis, my life has changed. Forever. I am going to try to record some my experiences as I continue my journey through life. A life irrevocably changed by ALS.