Celebrating My Public and Personal Milestones
In last week’s column, I wrote about a gala banquet that I recently attended. As the event approached, I worried about what I would wear and how others would react to my mobility scooter. But my greatest concern was that I was one of the evening’s honorees.
The banquet was held in Las Vegas, and I was to be inducted into the World Acrobatics Society’s Hall of Fame alongside some famous Olympians, coaches, and a Hollywood stuntman. Mine was a service award, given in appreciation for helping the organization with promotional materials and creating its website.
I received a plaque, a commemorative medallion, a certificate, and a professional tribute video. And oh my! There’s nothing like having your life put to music and flashed onto a big screen to get your heart pumping.
Of course, I’ll let you see the video. But first, let me explain the significance of its final 95 seconds — the section that begins with the narrator saying, “Diagnosed with ALS in 2010.”
That’s when, in a blink of an eye, my life took a sharp turn. I was a wellness expert who suddenly found herself on the receiving end of all that expertise. Faced with the dismal prognosis of ALS, I cobbled together a simple formula for living.
First, I followed my doctor’s recommendations: attend the ALS Clinic, take my medications, be willing to use assistive devices, eat wholesome foods, sleep well, and keep my body moving through gentle exercise.
To build my resilience, I began practicing healthy coping strategies:
- I stopped asking, “Why me?” Instead, I looked for ways to accept and adapt to my changing ALS symptoms.
- I focused my attention away from the negative and toward the positive events of the day. I fell asleep thinking of three things to be grateful for.
- I tried to be open to new learning experiences and discovered ways to continue to be me.
- I avoided isolation by staying connected with my family, friends, clubs, and organizations — and all of my new ALS friends around the world.
So, those final 95 seconds of the video encompass the last nine years of my life with ALS. Those years sped by while, truthfully, I was having fun.
OK, here’s the video:
Does my future include more milestones? I hope so. And I hope yours does as well. Remember, I believe that we can live well while living with ALS.
Note: ALS News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of ALS News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to ALS.