Do you remember when people were doing the "Ice Bucket Challenge" a few years ago to raise awareness and donations for ALS? I do because I did it. I had never heard of ALS. In small-town Iowa, you really don't hear about those kinds of illnesses unless you know someone who has it.
ALS stands for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, a progressive muscle-wasting condition that has no cure. ALS can be challenging and living with it means changing and adapting to a new life—a different life. With the support of our ever-expanding medical science, it is possible to live out "your best life" as the kids say.
ALS is also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Lou Gehrig was a baseball player for the New York Yankees in the 1930s when ALS was brought to national and international attention. Lou was considered the "Iron Man" of baseball. In 1939, Lou pulled himself out of baseball saying it was best for the team as he wasn't playing the best because of his illness. Two years later, he passed away.
These days, with our medical advances, we now have two approved treatments that can slow the illness, Radicava and Rilutek. But even with treatments, things will still change. Eating and drinking are two of those things. ALS can affect your ability to swallow, and as it reduces mobility, it can take longer to eat meals. It is important to keep a healthy diet as weight loss can occur. For some patients, tube feeding may be applied.
ALS doesn't only affect your mobility – your breathing, speech and communication skills can be disrupted too. As the muscles weaken, breathing can become increasingly difficult. However, independence can be achieved through physiotherapy and ventilation. As the illness progresses, speaking can become more difficult as well, as muscles in the tongue, lips and the vocal cords weaken. Mobility becomes harder. Many people with ALS have railings installed in their homes and many eventually find themselves in wheelchairs.
I could only imagine the emotional tole ALS gives a person. I just couldn't fathom. Many people living with the illness don't allow it to slow them down though. Your ALS Guide has a whole article dedicated to helping people with ALS, or family or friends of people with ALS, maneuver traveling. From finding a travel buddy to a list of all your necessities, you can bet their post will make traveling easier. And that's what I would suggest.
Don't let ALS slow you down or keep you from going to the ocean or to an NFL game or just on a trip with friends or family.
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