Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Trying to Find the Silver Lining

So I'm not going to lie - when I sat down to put together tonight's blog (which is the second entry from Julie, our OM Member in Sweden who is training for a half marathon while matched up with another OM Member in CO also training for a race) I had a hard time seeing the silver lining in the reality of Julie's latest post. After reading and re-reading her powerful words, I came to the realization that the 'positive, smiley face, encouraging' silver lining of her story (which I always try to find) is that she's doing something about the horrible disease of ALS by raising awareness. And while she supported her mother in her years of ALS, she also did all she could, by finding hope. 

The other thing going through my mind as I write this tonight is the importance of Outdoor Mindset in connecting people affected by neurological challenges like ALS - to connect people affected by these tough experiences so that they can gain even more hope, solace, and understanding in what they are going through, or what they have gone through, or what they are about to go through. And while the advice may not always be easy or sugar-coated, there is a power in numbers and in connections for both awareness and for hope. 

You can donate to Julie's project here

Is that a silver lining I see on that cloud?
Here's Julie's second post on her half-marathon training: 

I'm out there running and the first thing I do is swallow a team of bugs... then I trip. Honestly. And this was going to be my first big run outside. An hour long run. What a way to start. The woosie in me wanted to forget it this time, turn around and drink a glass of wine outside on our new picnic table with my husband who just sat down to a lovely meal. The motivated me with my Mom's voice said, "don't be a woosie". So, continue I did. Must. Raise. Awareness.

Can you imagine walking into a Doctor's office not knowing what is wrong with your legs and why they don't seem to be working exactly right? Knowing that something is just a little bit off and then walking out knowing you are on a downhill slide with no cure? No, I can't either. That's why I'm dedicated to raising awareness in order to help find a cure for ALS and put an end to this awful neurological disease.  

Mom was diagnosed with ALS early on but we didn't believe it. At all. We kept hope alive. My Mom and Dad saw multiple other doctors and finally found one that did have hope, which was rare. Looking back now it's clear to me that there seems to be two schools of thought when it comes to doctors and ALS. 

School of thought #1: This Dr will just diagnose it as they see it, it's matter of fact for them. They are Doctors and their purpose is to tell you what is ailing you. I guess there's nothing wrong with that. I'm sure there are ethical reasons behind a lot of it and sometimes those mega braniac Doctors just don't know how else to go about it. They just tell you the facts, tell you as it is, done. 

School of thought #2: This is the Doctor who is, as I like to call them, 'Humane Doctors', at least when it comes to ALS. They see the disease from a mile away but it doesn't benefit the patient if they know what it is and how their body will eventually start to go down a downward spiral - especially if it's early on. So this type of Doctor rules everything else out. They keep searching and testing for different treatment paths for the patient to take. They give you hope. 

So we found a nice, wicked smart, humane Doctor that likely knew it was ALS but did try and rule it out anyway. He was cutting edge, he knew his stuff, he had access to info, he was willing to spend time with us and just chat. He gave us hope and that we desperately needed and wanted. And when it's ALS you've got to want someone to convince you it's not. This was our guy. He's an MS specialist, but it's all in the head, right? Thank you Dr. Sadiq, for your hope, care and compassion.

We all knew deep down what it was. We finally resorted to admitting it and then the process began of letting that info sink in. Mom, you were superhuman. I remember she looked me in the eye as she was taking her electric wheelchair into the elevator and I was going towards the stairs and said, "Are you going to be ok with this?" My response was with as sturdy and strong a response as it could be and an utter lie so she didn't have to worry, "Yes". She entered the elevator and after the doors closed, I broke down in tears until I met her at the bottom of the elevator with a smile again. She was amazing. I put myself in her position now, at least I try mentally. I will forever learn from and admire her strength in all situations and especially her last test, ALS.

Thank you for reading again.

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