THE ODDS (Debbie Does ALS)


The newbie

I was contacted today by a man newly diagnosed with ALS. He reached out to me because my profile indicates I am a runner; he, too, was an athlete.

I've seen his posts on the PLM website. He's searching for answers -- how, why, when -- just like we all do those first hours, days, weeks, and months after we are diagnosed.

He asked me about my running, whether I had given it up, was I worried about my muscles. He asked me about my diet, about my medications, about any studies I might have participated in. He asked me how I clipped my nails. He asked if I could swallow, or if my tongue quivered.

I answered him as best as I could, occasionally injecting as many positive aphorisms as I thought he could handle. During these early days, though, one doesn't necessarily want to hear Pollyanna-isms -- there's too much fear, anger, more fear, and sadness. It takes a while to understand that worry won't help; each day must be lived as best as can be with the hope you'll get another chance tomorrow.

Bless his heart.

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