Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Adjusting to a new normal...

Happy times with my Dad!!


What is ALS

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as "Lou Gehrig's Disease," is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually leads to their death. When the motor neurons die, the ability of the brain to initiate and control muscle movement is lost. With voluntary muscle action progressively affected, patients in the later stages of the disease may become totally paralyzed.

A-myo-trophic comes from the Greek language. "A" means no or negative. "Myo" refers to muscle, and "Trophic" means nourishment–"No muscle nourishment." When a muscle has no nourishment, it "atrophies" or wastes away. "Lateral" identifies the areas in a person's spinal cord where portions of the nerve cells that signal and control the muscles are located. As this area degenerates it leads to scarring or hardening ("sclerosis") in the region.

As motor neurons degenerate, they can no longer send impulses to the muscle fibers that normally result in muscle movement. Early symptoms of ALS often include increasing muscle weakness, especially involving the arms and legs, speech, swallowing or breathing. When muscles no longer receive the messages from the motor neurons that they require to function, the muscles begin to atrophy (become smaller). Limbs begin to look "thinner" as muscle tissue atrophies.

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My father, my rock, the man I've always leaned on was diagnosed with ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease.

We've (my mother and me) been trying really hard the last couple of days to wrap our brains around this diagnosis. Fortunately my father does not understand the gravity of his diagnosis. I think that in and of itself is a blessing. He's telling everyone that there's a 95% chance he'll go into complete remission. We know that this is not true, but we will not tell him.

We all need hope, and my father has found that hope.

Who knows the mind is a very powerful thing and maybe he will go into remission. I will hope and pray for that.

Give your loved ones a hug and kiss, we never know whats ahead...all we really have is today and I appreciate every minute.

14 comments:

dandelionia said...

The mind is a very powerful thing! Just keep that in mind!

I love you!

Therese said...

I will keep your family in my prayers!

Rhonda said...

Thinking of you and your family!

*Hugs*

Hopesrising said...

Thinking of you and your family. The mind is very powerful as is hope Carey. PRaying for you and your family.

Ronda's Rants said...

I am sorry...I am praying!
Sending love!

Glenda, saved by grace said...

I feel your pain. My daddy who just turned 83 was diagnosed with dementia a couple of months ago. It doesent matter how old you are, our parents are our rocks. I keep going back to romans 8:28 and (try to) trust God.
You and your family will be in my prayers.
♥ Glenda

RBK's Realm said...

Oh my God Carey, I just saw this update. I have been out of touch with the blogging world.

My heart and prayers are with you and your mom and family.

Stay strong and know that we are all with you.

RBK

Minka said...

I wish you strength. And people usually do have more pf it in times when they need it.

amelia bedelia said...

I will be praying for your family. So sorry.

Fern Cohen said...

Hi...I have had ALS for more than 5 years. I pray that your dad has as slow a progression as I have been blessed with!

If you'd like, check out my blog.......http://fernals.blogspot.com.

Mama Kat said...

So devestating. But you're right, the mind IS a powerful thing...he can do it and he will do it. I believe that.

Erin Merryn said...

Carey so sorry to hear about your Dad. It is not fair. I am sending my prayers his way and yours!

How is Rickie doing these days?

Fragrant Liar said...

You are so right. We all need hope. We never know what's around the corner. My best to you and your family, and especially your dad.

The Rule Maker said...

I have been thinking of you and your family. It sounds like your Dad has a fighting attitude. Remember to take care of you!