Posts Tagged ‘ALS FINDING A CURE’

It’s been longer than I would like since my last post. I used to feel panic coming up on a week without blogging. This has been something helpful to me in dealing with ALS that I don’t want to lose. I try to not worry myself about it. If it’s stressing me, that’s no good. Having the desire to write, like now, is what helps me and makes it worth it. What has continued to make it worth it for me all this time is the support from followers. Thank you all!

I’ve been really frustrated because a month’s worth of pictures are gone for my past due, My Daily Pic, video. Just bear with me here – The first video is, I think, all pictures of my face since my face muscles were affected early on and honestly I really wasn’t thinking of much else when I started it. So my second was originally going to be random pictures, but then I realized Isolated areas are easier to follow the progression of subtle muscle atrophy. I bought a sheet to have as same background on the bed and show my legs in rotation at different angles daily. Seems like no big deal, but it actual took a lot of effort. Some days my husband was busy, or I didn’t feel like it. With the sheet and different angles there was more preparation than the first time-lapse video. I kept check on the camera and was really  happy with it. I’ve written about my whole right side being affected more and it was easy to see my right leg atrophy comparing it to my left leg. The pics were never saved on the computer and the SD card is gone. We kept it up until about mid August, then stem cell surgery became top priority. I had planned to pick it back up shortly after surgery to have more time pass. It was a while before I was prepared but it would have been up early this month. Now I have one pic from, I think the first day when we were trying different ways to see what worked best. Now I’m deciding if I want to just show a few random pictures between the last video and now for a short video, or just skip it and go back to legs or another area altogether.  I imagine a lot of you could care less but I do get requests and questions about when the next time-lapse video will be out. I’m frustrated about it, but that’s life, that’s living, right? I’ll figure something out because I do want to continue with this. I’m considering going with my arms, and hope to show continual improvement from my procedure. Don’t know yet, but I will get started on something.

I have been dealing with a mild virus that I’m over now but still dealing with a lot of fatigue. I see my husband in action all the time. I do what I can but my days have been filled with movies and documentaries lately. Mainly on Netflix. My energy will improve and I’ll be back to getting more accomplished, taking a little pressure off Tony. Also looking forward to getting out more since I have the van. We were finally hit with some snow that was just bypassing us every time. There are steep winding hills either way to get out of our neighborhood so we’ve been stranded a couple of days too.

I go back real soon to Emory for my first real outcome testing since surgery and I’m really excited and confident about that even though I still have the dream at least twice a week of going and everything being worse. It’s not going to happen. As everyone else, I’m also looking forward to the complete update on all participants. I really hope the best for everyone. For the benefit to them and in hopes it will speed up getting through phase III and having this available to all. I surely can’t be the only one feeling I’ve benefited. I’m not going to lie, I have primarily been focused on my procedure and testing myself often, but I am also trying to keep up with what else is looking hopeful for a real ALS treatment and I’ve read some that look promising and are in pre-clinical trial phase or about where my study is. What saddens me is people in later stages are most often excluded from these trials. Everyone alive and willing should be given an opportunity if they choose. The study is too small is no valid excuse to me. Expand it. So many trials have diagnosis time exclusions and I think of the people knowing this. This goes for everyone, but it really hits me hard thinking of the person who has always participated in research they know won’t benefit them. Then they miss out on something with the slightest chance of hope because they’ve had ALS too long. That’s one hell of a slap in the face. I do try to realize there are often valid reasons for this , but I know  that slap doesn’t sting any less!

A lot is being learned from these studies and I really believe we are closing in on ALS. I do have all my personal hope eggs in one basket, and it’s still full.

My biggest hope is that within three years or sooner,  the day a person is diagnosed, they won’t have to hear there is nothing that can be done except to keep them comfortable as they progress to their death. They will be told there are life extending treatment options, there is hope. That day isn’t here yet and I won’t stop fighting for it as long as I’m alive.

I will be back hopefully sooner than later.

Until next time, take care,

April

I’ve been dealing with quite a bit lately, a lot having to do with ALS and some issues totally separate. When you have ALS, it can consume your life with symptoms, adaptions, planning ahead, money issues. The list is endless. At the same time life is still happening outside of ALS and even a healthy person’s life is not all rainbows and butterflies all the time, tragedy can strike a person or family at any time. You have to face it ALS or not.

With that being said, I want to share great news with you and focus on something positive. For a while now walking has become progressively worse. I can still get around some with help of a walker and my AFO. In my opinion I’m still lucky because only one leg, my right, is very weak and has lost a lot of muscle. With my left leg being stronger it’s very helpful with transferring, I call it twirling. I get positioned and holding on to something or someone I twirl on my left foot to whatever I’m moving to. If both legs were as strong as the left, I would probably still be getting around with my rollator. It just doesn’t work out and is a hazard. I can’t go out and walk, it wouldn’t be long before I would be leaning on my walker and using upper body strength to make up for my right leg. It wears me out fast and It uses a lot of muscle strength in stronger muscles. As we with ALS know this results in those muscles atrophying and we want to keep all we have as long possible because we don’t get it back, and we certainly don’t need a fall injury. So getting out has been an ordeal for a while using a transfer chair, for who I’m with getting it in and out of the trunk and then I’m dependent on them pushing me.

The great news is we finally have been able to purchase a wheelchair accessible van! It’s so wonderful to drive out of my home and into the van and leave. Then I can drive out and independently go the direction I choose. This is so important not only for convenience but also emotionally. I have some independence back. Leaving home isn’t the dreaded experience it was.

The donations received on the gofundme.com website that Tony set up was a huge help to us getting this van. Every donation, no matter how small or large meant so much. With the kindness of everyone who donated we were able to purchase a van that we are very happy with. No it’s not brand new, it has high miles and it’s a decade old but that doesn’t matter to me. It’s in great condition and certainly able to make long trips, The place we bought it from, our local Mobility Works dealership, made sure we had what we need and wanted in our van. They even had new shocks and struts put on and placed the EZ lock system in the van and the locking pin underneath my power wheelchair at no additional cost. The entrance/exit ramp is side entry and fully automatic. That’s a feature we wanted, especially for times when my Mother is driving me, she wont have to deal with pulling a ramp out and risking her back. I also get to ride shotgun. I was willing to sacrifice that but that’s my spot and I’m happy it worked out. It rides smooth and when I look at it I don’t see an older model van, but I don’t keep up body styles of vans, I certainly thought my mini-van days were long over with the kids grown.

I’m very happy with it and I want everyone to know how much Tony and I appreciate everyone who donated and shared the page. It all helped make the purchase possible. Thank you all so much!

A couple of pictures so you know where your help went:

My New Van!

My New Van!

 

My New Van

My New Van

 

This of course makes our trips to Emory less stressful as well not having to use the transfer chair. The smallest things add up. At valet parking we don’t have to hold up the line by taking time to get the chair from the trunk and me twirl on it. On days we go to several different areas for tests, Tony is free from pushing me and I have the freedom to be on either side, front, behind him or to stop for a second to look at a pretty sitting area outdoors. I’ll admit to liking the thought that if I’m ever really frustrated with him, I can roll on over to the other side of a waiting room if I so choose, although I don’t think that will happen, I have the ability. It may not seem like much, but it is a lot to me.

We will be going to Emory next month for some much awaited tests and it’s always nice to see the people we’ve come to know because of my participation in the stem cell study and other’s I’ve participated in. I’m not sure exactly when the results will be published or first mentioned but I do know this study is moving faster than phase I with less waiting for results. Something exciting for all of us to look forward to!

I mainly wanted to express my gratitude and excitement over the van. Thank you all again for the support in any way, money or share, even the private thought of hope for me get one.  I will pay it forward in any way I can for others.

Thanks for reading. Until next time, take care.

April