Columns

Suffering Connects Us All

“So tell us your story,” we often ask people who come to help with Todd’s care. Those who show particularly deep compassion tend to have their own story of suffering, or they’ve loved and cared for someone who suffered. A stage IV cancer survivor. A disabled parent. A sibling who…

ALS and My Hardly Mobile Phone

Would it surprise you to learn that I check my cellphone zero times a day? All around me, people are texting, emailing, chatting, and checking social media. Me? Nada. My eyes are forward, watching the world. I’m embracing “the joy of missing out” — a state of mind caused by…

We Have No Guarantees with ALS, but We Do Have Choices

“What? But there’s a guarantee on your website,” I told the customer service representative for the herbal company. I had requested a refund of a digestive supplement because it didn’t work for me. He repeated his scripted line: “That product is nonreturnable because it’s consumable.” “Wow!” I couldn’t believe my…

ALS: The Musical

The spark of inspiration for column topics sometimes comes to me from surprising sources. Last Saturday, with my submission deadline looming, I had nothing … nada … bupkis. Fearing I would to have to forgo my weekly passion, I passed the time reading, with some music playing in…

Learning New Skills I Wish I Didn’t Need

I love learning some new skills, but not all of them. Thirteen years ago, I took a creative writing class that set me off on a journey that has included three novels, a children’s book, and now a weekly column. This week, I hope to take a…

Normal Déjà Vu: Life As We Used to Know It

Life with ALS is absurd when I think about it. It’s so different than it was before the disease, and with each setback, life gets even stranger. We tried to maintain a normal life, but nothing seems normal about feeding one’s husband in a restaurant. Just a year ago, Todd…

Wheels Within Wheels: Life and Consciousness Require Movement

Consider the wheel. Nothing comparable exists in nature. Its conception was not the byproduct of observation and imitation, but a 100 percent original human brainstorm. Evidence suggests that the first wheels were used for making pottery around 3500 B.C. in Mesopotamia. They weren’t employed for locomotion until 300 years…

Chasing Down My ‘Someday-itis’

My husband is one of those people who attacks projects from beginning to end with a laser-like focus. Me? Oh, I get things done — well, eventually. Distractions, the tendency to overcommit plus a curiosity to follow “the next big thing” all contribute to my meandering approach. Really,…