Wednesday, 16 October 2013


It is possible to have a rich and full life even when faced with the terminality of something like ALS. It is possible to find meaning in days where there could be little but emptiness. It is possible to find focus when there is nothing on the horizon on which to focus. I know this is true.

Even armed with the knowledge the battle of keeping myself in reasonable spirits in the face of this pernicious illness is just plain hard. It is fought through toughness of spirit and toughness of mind. It is fought, again and again, in small battles with small victories, knowing full well that the ultimate battle will be lost to me. Nobody lives forever, this is the truth of life for me and for everyone else. I just have a different path to that last battle.

Along that path, through the days of living and dying, I get to choose. I can choose the way I see life, and death. I get to choose my approach to living that life. I get to choose to be happy, or miserable. I get to choose what path to take. That ability to choose, that ability to decide, this is the most empowering of all things. The ability to say "I will" or I won't" is the single greatest element in making me strong.

I did not choose this disease; it has chosen me.  I did not choose to lose my legs, I am not choosing to lose my diaphragm. When my arms and hands fail me, it will not be my choice. What I can choose is how I live with it, how I work with it, how I manage my limitations and challenges in the face of this impediment. I can, at least figuratively, climb this mountain in any way I choose.

My choice lies in how I respond, in how I approach these changes. Win, lose or draw, these changes will come. They are inevitable, unstoppable. But it is not my body that decides how I live, it is my mind. I will live as I choose, and choose how I live.

1 comment:

  1. You are strong Richard. Brave and adventuresome more than anyone I know..