What I have learned so far is that ALS can take away the use of your arms and legs and it can impair your speech, but it can’t take away who you are on the inside. Mike is still cheeky and funny and really smart. He is extremely determined and very positive and as we sat with the ALS team today at GF Strong and talked about feeding tubes, hospital beds and home care options, I was reminded of his amazing courage.Here is that first blog post called, The Journey of Courage Begins:
Courage is not a word I would have used to describe my husband Mike up until recently. Not that he has ever given me any reason to believe he isn’t courageous, but there are just so many other words I would have used first to describe him… funny, smart, handsome, silly, positive, hardworking, loving, generous, kind, trustworthy to name a few. Even though, “courage” isn’t in the top ten, he has displayed courage many times throughout our 23 years of marriage, like the time he decided to go back to school to become a nurse. He was one credit away from receiving his degree in Political Science with a minor in History and decided nursing was what he wanted to do. Actually, he felt he was being called into nursing. He didn’t necessarily want to go in that direction. But Mike obeyed the call and with two small children still in diapers, back to square one he went. He juggled the books in the day and a job at night and found time in between to help me raise the kids. Now that took some courage.Dictionary.com says: courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain etc. without fear; bravery. Word Reference.com says that courage is strength in the face of pain or grief. Yup, courage, that’s it! As of March 7, 2011, Mike became a poster boy for “courage”.
It sounds crazy, but at the time, we were hoping it was M.S. or Parkinson’s, but on that cool spring day, Mike was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Later that day Mike said, “Everyone in history has died…that’s a fact. It’s such a good thing to know where you are going.” In shock, he was finding comfort knowing that if the diagnosis is right, and ALS takes his life, he has a home in Heaven.We read from the book of James – “Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.” James 1:12. And so Mike began his journey of courage….and hope.