Kristin Neva,  —

Kristin Neva is an author, mother of two, and caregiver for her husband, Todd, who was diagnosed with ALS in 2010 when he was 39 years old. Knowing they would need family support, they moved to Upper Michigan and built an accessible home on property next to Kristin’s childhood home. Kristin enjoys spending time outdoors, especially on the shore of Lake Superior in the summer. Todd no longer has use of his limbs, but he stays active working on projects on his computer using adaptive technology. They try to find joy in the midst of sorrow as Todd’s health declines.

Articles by Kristin Neva

Is It Too Much to Wish for Marital Bliss?

I felt twinges of grief as I shopped for a card for a young couple’s wedding. First card: “Wishes on this special day for happiness, joy, and love, along with a future that will bring everything you are dreaming of.” Sigh. I wish my husband and I had a future.

Breathing Easier With Support

Figuring out how to manage each stage of ALS for my husband, Todd, is a challenge. Each time Todd experiences another loss, I scramble to find answers and resources. Our latest challenge was trying to get proper support for Todd’s Astral noninvasive ventilator. It doesn’t help that we…

Preparing for a Respiratory Emergency

ALS has compromised the breathing of my husband, Todd, to the point where his positioning — unless he is using the Astral noninvasive ventilator — can mean the difference between being able to breathe or not. We only realized how bad it was a couple of weeks ago when we…

How Daily Nature Therapy Helps Relieve My Stress

I set my husband, Todd, up on his computer with his HeadMouse and sip-and-puff clicker. ALS has compromised his breathing, so I put on his noninvasive ventilator. I call my mom, who lives next door. She will keep her mobile phone in her pocket. If Todd needs anything, he…

Living as Though We Have a Future

Our daughter, Sara, is working on several pieces for an upcoming choir festival. One selection is the song “My New Philosophy” from the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” The other evening, as our family gathered for dinner, Sara sang the lyrics in which the character Sally tries…

Learning New Limits With Ongoing Decline

I’ve been worried about leaving my husband, Todd, who has ALS, alone after his close call with his breathing last week, but he said he would be fine while I ran to town. I needed to pick the kids up from school and take our daughter to a dentist…

Finding the Good in Being

In “12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos,” Jordan Peterson writes, “People can survive through much pain and loss. But to persevere they must see the good in Being. If they lose that, they are truly lost.” Now that my husband, Todd, has ALS, I am more attuned…

The Secret to Finding Balance as a Caregiver

“Kristin, I need my eyes wiped again,” my husband, Todd, calls from his office. I had just put drops in his eyes 20 minutes ago, hoping to address the incessant itchiness he was experiencing, and now we are back at it again. I get up from my desk, grab a…

Discovering the Benefits of Massage

My husband, Todd, and I realized that massage could be beneficial for him even before he was diagnosed with ALS. Before we knew why his left arm was weak, I would massage his bicep and forearm, which helped him to better use it. Sometime after the diagnosis, his legs began…

Finding the Words to Describe Our Relationship With ALS

I was struck by the wording in an advertisement in Quest magazine, a publication of the Muscular Dystrophy Association, that invited people “coping with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)” to participate in an observational study. I think of “coping” as not only dealing with something difficult, but doing so…