“There, I said it, ALS. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. I’ll always have a hard time spelling it, but when spelled out, it is a neurodegenerative disease that affects the nerve and muscle slowly for some, and more rapidly for others, to the point, most voluntary functions are eventually lost.
I’m going down memory lane today regarding the doctor’s appointment that put a name on the symptoms I was having that ended the barrage of tests. My wife had insisted upon coming with me so she could ask questions. Overcome with emotions, understandably for her, she couldn’t talk. Tears are how the heart speaks when our lips cannot describe how much we’ve been hurt. So, I began asking the questions I knew she would ask if she could. My stoic response was typical for me. Each of us responds differently. There is no prescribed way to handle devastating news- coping mechanisms sometimes fall short. I heard the sad and serious tone of my Neurosurgeon doctor who assisted in my journey of getting a correct diagnosis. I laughed and said, “At least I don’t have to have surgery.” However, after the doctor said that there was no cure, I was at peace that with man it may be impossible, but with God, all things are possible. I told my wife on the drive home that I didn’t have any less time than before the diagnosis. I respect my doctor, but I have a Second Opinion. I choose to believe the one who is my resurrection and life. I’m convinced He is ALS- Always Loving Simon.”
“I can remember it like it was yesterday. We had just pulled into the garage after an averagely-interesting day of school. My dad said he had something to tell me, and I stifled my excitement. “Maybe we’re going back to Hawaii!” I thought. If only I knew we’d be going on a much different, though equally beautiful and rare, journey. ALS. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. My dad named his diagnosis with a smile that gave me hope. “So when do you start treatment?” I asked. I knew we would fight this, and win. How could my strong, stubborn father do anything else? The wind was knocked out of my lungs when he shared that there was no cure. I began thinking of all the things he would miss. It was too much for me. Through my tears, I looked over at my dad and asked “So what do we do?!”
“We keep doing what we’ve been doing, we make a difference with every day we have, and we continue to do all we can while we can.“
What a profound thought. My body is not sick with ALS, but there are other things in my life that I have found to be paralyzing. What have I done to get out of my comfort zone lately? Are you doing all you can while you can? My dad’s spirit has inspired me to make lemonade out of lemons. When life knocks him down, he’ll turn it into a slip-n-slide. It’s a gift that I hope to practice and perfect. In the meantime, I am thankful that I have gotten to witness one of the most genuine and meaningful examples of courage, in him. His outlook on life is the rose-colored glass that helps me see my challenges as nothing more than a collection of adventures and giants to conquer. The game is rigged, you win every time you play.”
-Christopher and Kayla Simon