ALS is a complex disease, so complex that some experts in the field do not consider ALS to be an actual disease but rather a category of numerous neurological conditions that share common symptoms.
It is also very fickle, not allowing one with ALS to anticipate or predict what symptom will next emerge nor allow for guesswork as to when it will appear. And while the medical profession gives a 3-5 year lifetime for those afflicted with ALS, I know of one person who died recently after six months and another after a little more than one year.
I’ve already listed in previous posts the symptoms I have:
- inability to dress or bathe myself
- inability to eat or swallow food
- loss of leg strength and thus necessitating moving from walker to electric wheelchair
- loss of inteligable speech
- 24-hour use of two air ventilators to breathe
- increasing loss of arm and finger strength
Recently I have had difficulty with excessive amounts of saliva for 1-2 weeks at a time, offset by days of extreme dryness, so dry that it hurts to breathe air into my mouth. So I have had to learn another lesson in humility–to meet people with a Kleenex stuffed in my mouth!
But I am still mobile. As of today I have clocked 789 miles on my Quicky electric wheelchair.
I am still communicative, using an iPad with text-to-speech apps. I use my two index fingers to handle emails, produce news letters, work on genealogy research, and read an electronic Bible and numerous e-books.
I am still up-beat, positive (today I’m wearing my “I’m speechless” t-shirt) and grateful to God for the grace he has given me, I accept with peace and calmness his plan for allowing ALS to park itself in my garage. He has deemed it to be in my best interest spiritually.
The Apostle Paul’s words in Ephesians 1:11 clarify for me a profound, mindset transforming fact, when he speaks of his conversion. “I was,” he says, “predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will” (Ephesians 1:11).
Paul had everything going for him. He had the best education available as a student of the grandson of the great Gamaliel. He was so esteemed that he was given the authority by the high priest to seek out, capture, and imprison or even put to death Christians as far away as Dmascus. He was Jerussalem’s Special Counsel alla Robert Mueller. He was likely, per the information given in Acts 26:10-11, a member of the 7l-member Jewish Sanhedrin–the Supreme Court of Judaism.
But he turned his back on personal power, public prestige, and glowing dossier of accomplishments, and traded them in for true righteousness. His passion became identification with the God “who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”
Why am I at peace while subject to attacks of ALS on my motor neurons? I share Paul’s passion to be identified with the God “who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.”
(Photo above by Ben White #128604 from Unsplash.com)