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      Dagmar Munn
      Keymaster

      Mental potholes. We all have them. Innocently created from some piece of information we’ve read or heard, we store that away and end up internalizing it. Internalizing positive information helps “get us on down” the road. Flawed or inaccurate information creates a mental pothole. For example, I’ve taught myself to not put much significance in my date of diagnosis.

      Now, the date of diagnosis is a common medical term used in the ALS community. It’s a valuable date to know when filling out health insurance forms and applying for Social Security disability. It’s also used by researchers to determine a patient’s qualification for enrollment in studies. Most researchers want only ALS patients within two years of their diagnoses.

      But for many ALS patients, the date of diagnosis carries emotional significance. It’s the day we sat in our doctor’s office hearing the words, “average life expectancy of two to five years,” and probably tuned out everything else that followed.

      But think about it, wasn’t your appointment just an arbitrary date selected by the office receptionist? …and yet, many patients celebrate it as if it is a milestone, a birthday of sorts… You can read more of my thoughts on this topic in the column: Avoiding Mental Potholes While Navigating Your Life.

      Is “date of diagnosis” significant for you? Or do you count back to when your symptoms first appeared? Do you have other ALS-related mental potholes? How are you working to avoid them?

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