Lou Gehrig's Disease - Motor Neuron Disease - Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis
Thought it had been cured by now? Still no known cause. Still no cure. Still quickly fatal. Still outrageous.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

From the Herald Tribune in Sarasota

Another writer uses his talent to explain a few things to us about life...

By Rich Brooks

Let's allow ourselves a moment of optimism
Published: Saturday, January
10, 2009 at 1:00 a.m. Last Modified: Friday, January 9, 2009 at 11:50 p.m.

Get my soapbox because it's time for some encouragement from moi.

Most people don't read newspapers for encouragement. No. They read for the news,
which is defined as whatever the editor says it is. I get that. And I get that newspapers aren't the preferred reading of any Optimist club. Lately, though, the news is filled with even more gloom than usual. With the economy in a tailspin, and layoffs and cutbacks affecting just about everyone, it's time to search your soul and find some deeper meaning to all this chaos.'

Like many soul-searching probes, start with a question: Who are you?
A dedicated father or mother? Someone dedicated to your job? Someone who volunteers in the community? Now ask yourself this: What if something happened to you, or your job? Would you be the same person?

I have been through this and I've changed. Not all changes were for the better and I'd be a liar to say otherwise. Since getting an ALS diagnosis about 13 years ago, in man ways I am but a shadow of my former self.

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease, takes no prisoners and won't compromise. Roughly 80 percent of patients die within five years of diagnosis. The disease kills the neurons that connect the brain with muscles. Those with it become paralyzed and die of asphyxiation when their diaphragms don't work. There is no effective treatment and no known

I once enjoyed golf and tennis to the point of obsession. I played golf and even liked to daydream about the rare rounds of 80 or lower.

My epiphany came while driving home from working late one night at the Herald-Tribune. Something struck the rear window of the Plymouth Volare I was driving, shattering the glass. But all I could think of was the lousy round of golf I had played earlier that day. Imagine being more upset about golf than a shattered window. That's how obsessed I had become. And now, I'm haunted by those memories as I have dreams about tennis, but nightmares about golf.

Getting back to my original question, though: Who are you? Are you your stock portfolio? Are you your job? I don't think so. Human beings are so much more. We have souls and heart and minds that create and think and evaluate. Those of you who have lived through the Great Depression have weathered much worse in the way of financial catastrophes.
We've been through worse crises. And we'll survive this one, too.

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